Check out this trailer for a documentary focusing on the history of Wonder Woman and other female superheroes which is set to air on PBS April 15th at 10 PM EST. What are your thoughts on the popularity and comparative success of Wonder Woman, one of DC Comic's trickiest heroes?


Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation. The film goes behind the scenes with TV stars Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), comic writers and artists, and real-life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna, and others, who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre. A film by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Kelcey Edwards, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines premieres on the award-winning series Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 10 PM ET (check local listings).

Wonder Women explores our nation’s long-term love affair with comic book superheroes and raises questions about the possibilities and contradictions of heroines within the genre. Reflecting our culture’s deep-seated ambivalence toward powerful women — even in this so-called post-feminist era — women may be portrayed as good, or brave, or even featured as “action babes,” but rarely are they seen as heroes at the center of their own journey.

Tying the film together is the groundbreaking figure of Wonder Woman, the unlikely brainchild of a Harvard-trained pop psychologist named William Moulton Marston. From Wonder Woman’s original, radical World War II presence, to her uninspiring 1960s incarnation as a fashion boutique owner, to her dramatic resurrection by feminist Gloria Steinem and the women of Ms. Magazine, Wonder Woman’s legacy continues today—despite the fact that she has yet to make it to the big screen.

In our era of increased plastic surgeries and emphasis on “looking good” rather than acting powerfully, many psychologists, media and social critics have long decried the fact that women are bombarded with images of physical perfection and portrayals of their gender purely in terms of sexual attractiveness. Wonder Women counters this by reflecting on why our culture struggles with images of women triumphant beyond the domestic arena of relationships and family. Exploring how our highly visual culture places more emphasis on girls’ and women’s looks rather than on their deeds, Wonder Women urges women to claim the action genre — and media in general— as their own, if they want to change how they are represented. Says director Guevera-Flanagan, “I loved the idea of looking at something as populist as comics to reveal our cultural obsessions, and in particular, how women’s roles have changed over time. The narratives of our most iconic superheroes, told and re-told over decades, boldly outline our shifting values. For some it’s Lara Croft, for others it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we all need those iconic heroes that tell us we have the power to slay our dragons and don’t have to wait around to be rescued.”

To learn more about the film, visit the Wonder Women companion website (, which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.

About the Participants

Gloria Steinem, feminist and political activist

Lynda Carter, actress who portrayed Wonder Woman on the 1970s television series

Lindsay Wagner, actress who portrayed the Bionic Woman on the 1970s television series

Andy Mangels, Wonder Woman collector, scholar and enthusiast

Kathleen Hanna, Original Riot Grrl and musician

Jen Stuller, author of Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology

Katie Pineda, young Wonder Woman fan

Carmela Lane, Wonder Woman fan

Trina Robbins, author and comics herstorian who has been writing graphic novels and comics for over thirty years

About the Filmmakers

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (Director)
Kristy Guevera-Flanagan’s first feature-length film was an acclaimed documentary covering four years in the lives of four adolescent girls, Going On 13. The film was an official selection of Tribeca, Silverdocs, and many other international film festivals, and was broadcast on public television in 2009. Guevera-Flanagan has also produced and directed several short films, including El Corrido De Cecilia Rios, a chronicle of the violent death of 15-year-old Cecilia Rios. It was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. Now an assistant professor at Diablo Valley College, Kristy has a MFA in Film Production from San Francisco State University.

Kelcey Edwards (Producer)
Kelcey Edwards is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have screened at many of the top-ranking festivals around the country, including True/False, Silverdocs, and SXSW. After receiving her MFA in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University, Edwards moved to New York City, where she works as a filmmaker, producer and arts educator. She is the co-producer of Words Of Witness, a documentary feature by director Mai Iskander (Garbage Dreams) and an official selection of Berlinale 2012.

About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. You can find more information at Lens on Facebook at

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Mark Julian
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Filed Under "Wonder Woman" 2/12/2013
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lapress - 2/12/2013, 1:49 PM
Greengo - 2/12/2013, 1:53 PM
No Gusto that's not what he meant by "trickiest"
Coachella - 2/12/2013, 1:58 PM
WB just needs to watch Thor. That's a great way to handle Wonder Woman.
RSDhillon - 2/12/2013, 2:05 PM
What, no Helen Slater, who was Supergirl?
GoodGuy - 2/12/2013, 2:08 PM

I hope they actually tell the "untold story"

I'm just kidding. I don't want to turn this into a Spider-Man thread :P
Luminus - 2/12/2013, 2:42 PM
@Gusto: That picture is so wrong. Why would that woman even pose for that?
CavEl - 2/12/2013, 2:43 PM

Uncool, bro...but so funny!
CavEl - 2/12/2013, 2:46 PM
Want a Wonder Woman movie?

Get Kathryn Bigelow on the seat, a man directing Wonder Woman is just wrong.
CavEl - 2/12/2013, 2:47 PM
Do Brian Azzerello's New 52 run as inspiration.
aresww3 - 2/12/2013, 2:54 PM
Thats brilliant, I´ve been meaning to watch that. Can someone stateside please upload it on to youtube, I seriously want to watch that.
xRelentlessx - 2/12/2013, 3:10 PM
@PatriotSuperguy Agreed. It's [frick]ing time already.
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 2/12/2013, 3:11 PM
Not really. Just because she is a female character, doesn't mean she has to have a female director. After all, she was created by a man.
VIRILEMAN - 2/12/2013, 3:29 PM
I love how Wonder Woman is suppose to be the poster child for female empowerment, yet she's always running around in the most smimpy outfit possible. Mostly written by men, mostly drawn by men, and mostly read by men is how I explain that though.
VIRILEMAN - 2/12/2013, 3:30 PM
After all that talk of female empowerment, she's still just another bimbo in a skimpy outfit made to make money.
TheFox - 2/12/2013, 3:34 PM
It strikes me as funny how certain writers, such as Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, George Perez, and Phil Jimenez, have managed to completely "get" Wonder Woman and somehow advanced her mythology and character in wonderful ways... when DC Comics itself doesn't seem to have ANY F$#@ING CLUE what to do with Wonder Woman, as demonstrated by the fact that they constantly kick good writers off the book to make way for blowhard "name" writers like J. Michael Straczynski or (God help us) Brian Azzarello, the single most misguided pick to write Wonder Woman in the span of the character's history.

And worse still, they can't seem to bring one of the most iconic superheroines on Earth to the big screen at ALL. They hired Joss Whedon to do a Wonder Woman movie, which I'm sure would have been f%$#ing AWESOME, but then they dump him to develop a T.V. series with David E. Kelly-- whose credits include Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and The Practice, and who had absolutely NO experience with superheroes, action, or science fiction storytelling. And big surprise-- it was WRETCHED.

Wonder Woman is a character in desperate need of rescue-- not from a supervillain or from some horrible, ancient, monstrous threat, but from her caretakers. Until DC and Warner Bros can get their act together and start hiring GOOD (and APPROPRIATE) STORYTELLERS rather than just names that will sell, Wonder Woman is never going to get the treatment she deserves, on the page OR the screen.

JatevinM - 2/12/2013, 3:35 PM
I really want to see this.
Bam - 2/12/2013, 3:55 PM
Im a sucker for anything comicbook history related so count me in.
st1s - 2/12/2013, 5:47 PM
Watch this, I guarantee you'll enjoy it.
CoolantTech - 2/12/2013, 6:04 PM
Just got done watching John Carter on cable, Lynn Collins would be a perfect Wonder Woman, everything from the blue eyes to her physique and beautiful smile, WB when the time comes she's the one!

ComicFan1134 - 2/12/2013, 7:47 PM
Nice, I Can't Wait, It's About Time Some Light Was Shone On Her!
jaycr - 2/12/2013, 8:42 PM
@the fox. Azzarello is doing a great job with Wonder Woman. Finally I find her appealing and relatable, she has a family, she is fighting gods and above all, she dropped that stupid feminist agenda, so the writer can focus on the story and not on some preaching about women's rights and how awful men are. This comic book is brilliant and I am glad that finally someone is showing how great Diana really is.
CavEl - 2/12/2013, 9:35 PM
Brian Azzerello's run on Wonder Woman as been the best thing to happen to the character since...EVER! It's, most definitely, the best book in the new 52!

1.) The clay origin was stupid, I know Perez fans want to rant about how the clay origins explains how she doesn't need a man for anything...not including giving birth to her, but that origin makes her too hard for root for from both men and women. It paints her as a man hater, and that's not what feminism is about. I, a 21 year old male, am a feminist, myself. Feminism is about female equality, not female superoity. In saying that Wonder Woman doesn't need a man for even her conception, you've made her an extremist character. Neither men, and most importantly, or women can root for her because Women love men.

2.) You've given her a great cast of side characters that, if you can't relate to Wondy, you can surely relate to. Zola, is, without a doubt, one of the greatest sidekicks of all time. She's Jimmy Olsen meets Deadpool meets Peter Parker.

3.) You've given her an onslaught of rouges that many people are already familiar with and are interested in. And, since Diana is now a demi-god, her powers are now explainable as that instead of turning her into female Captain Marvel with the reflexes of Hermes, endurance of Demeter..blah, blah, blah. You can now have her mix with the supernatural as well as the sci-fi elements of comics.

4.) As a New-God, she instantly has a connection to the New Gods. And her connection with Superman now makes them the both members of that continuity.

4.) Brain Azzarello is having fun writing the dialog and it's been amazing reading them. Easily the best written book in the 52, the only book close are Johns' GL and Snyder's Batman.
davidcub - 2/12/2013, 10:13 PM
Uh...YOU paint her as a man hater....YOU can't relate to whoever... So she needs to be a bastard child raised by a colony of rapists to be relatable? The story isn't bad but to people who have always liked the character, some things aren't being well received...
jaycr - 2/12/2013, 11:04 PM
@David she is relatable because she has a lousy father and a crazy family like many people I know. The amazons are not angels in greek mythology, they are cruel warriors.People liked Lynda Carter, not Wonder Woman, but Lynda is like Adam West, an icon for its time.
unknownfacts - 2/12/2013, 11:19 PM
Love how people say she dresses slutty,every comic book female dresses that way.Ms.Marvel,She-Hulk,Storm,Vixen,Black Canary,....well the list can go on.I guess what I'm getting at is all female characters are drawn that way it all depends on the artist and how desperate they need the sells.
mgeoff88 - 2/12/2013, 11:41 PM
I'll be checking this out! This sounds really interesting!

@PatriotsSuperguy I think it was more of the idea that women could be strong without needing a man around. I thought that was the whole idea of Wonder Woman being born from clay instead of conception. I didn't take it as her being a "man hater."

I get what you're saying though. And not all women love men. There's some women out there that do actually hate men. With the way some men treat women, is that really a surprise?
CavEl - 2/13/2013, 12:55 AM
@ davidcub - She knows nothing of Amazonian practices, she was told that she was made of clay and she never questioned that. Hence the reason why she ventured off into Man's World to see what what else her mother lied to her about.

Here's why Diana being born from the accurate portrayal of Amazons is different from her being born of Zeus.

1.) Zeus was a slut, he bore many children and Diana is now one of them.
2.) As was mentioned by jaycr, she now has a deadbeat dad and now, by extenuation, an entire family.
3.) Her stories have been made darker and more interesting without her having to change. She's still a good woman with a good heart, but the story is dark and extreme.

I dare you Perez fans to just read Wonder Woman 1-16 and tell me if it's not amazing. 1-12 are already available in GN form.

@ unknownfacts - Wonder Woman is an icon though, you treat her differently than the rest. She needs an update, badly, why DC thinks people will buy female books if they're dressed in little to nothing is a mystery to me.

@ mgeoff - It's not them trying to paint her as a man hater, but it does paint her as such. What do you mean you don't need a man for your conception? So why do you need men for your comicbook to stay a float. It's like if you were a manager interviewing a young lady and she said "I don't need a man to hire me for a job, pig!", would you give her a shot? No, you wouldn't. You'd be threatened by her(Rightfully). And that sort of attitude paints a bad light on Feminists. A real feminist shouldn't hate men or want to be isolated from them, a real feminist should want to find a way to live peacefully amongst them.
TheFox - 2/13/2013, 1:21 AM
@jaycr: No, Azzarello is NOT showing us how great Diana is. He's using her as window dressing for his tale of familial intrigue among Greek gods and goddesses. Hell, Wonder Woman is barely IN the Wonder Woman comics these days, and even when she is, she's surrounded by so many useless supporting characters that she barely has anything to actually DO (other than listen to the other characters prattle on about the power dynamics on Olympus, or decapitate the occasional mythical beast).

And furthermore, his run is filled with some of the most viciously misogynistic bullsh*t I've read in... well, ANYTHING. Have you noticed that every single female supporting character in the book is either a rampaging bitch or a vicious killer, or both? (Well, except for Zola, a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold archetype who contributes nothing to the story save a convenient target for Diana to save and a uterus.)

Yes, I know that some people were put off by Wonder Woman's so-called "feminist agenda", but counteracting that by going in the extreme opposite direction-- turning the Amazons into a pack of bloodthirsty murderers who sell children into slavery-- IS NOT A GOOD SOLUTION TO THAT PROBLEM.

(Which, I can't understand why anyone would be bothered by a perceived "feminist agenda" in Wonder Woman comics. It's not like Diana went around espousing an "all men are evil, all women are good" philosophy-- in fact, most of her villains ARE women. So what's so wrong with a character who specifically promotes the idea that women can be just as strong and capable as men?)

Azzarello's handling of the Amazons is the sort of cynical dramatic inversion that the man has hung his hat on throughout his career, and it's exactly the reason why he's so ill-suited to writing Wonder Woman-- or ANY DC character, for that matter. DC heroes are hopeful and uplifting by nature; they're SUPPOSED to be idyllic, optimistic fantasies. When you take a writer whose specialty is writing bleak, noir-ish crime fiction like 100 Bullets and you ask him to write a character like Superman or Wonder Woman, he's either going to fumble at trying to live up to the optimistic core of the character (Superman: For Tomorrow), or he's going to bring it down to the gritty, pessimistic level he's used to by completely undermining the character's basic themes and messages. And that's exactly what he's doing to Wonder Woman.

Bottom line, Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman is cynical, misogynistic rubbish that is more about the guy's reinterpretation of the Greek gods than it is about Diana. If you want to read a GOOD run on Wonder Woman-- one that doesn't wallow in a "feminist agenda" but maintains the character's ideals and integrity-- try reading Greg Rucka's run from the early 2000s. Now THAT was a great run on Wonder Woman.

TheFox - 2/13/2013, 1:36 AM
@JaketheSuperguy: I've read Wonder Woman 1 through 12. In my opinion, it's tedious, repetitive, often infuriating, and occasionally entertaining-- you know, when the plot goes away and Diana's just killing things. But Diana killing things should NOT be the draw for a Wonder Woman comic.

The main plot of the books-- which ultimately turns out to be the power struggle in the wake of Zeus' disappearance-- is BORING. I don't CARE who rules Olympus, because all of the gods are self-absorbed ASSHOLES. Worse still, the books is overburdened with supporting characters, which means Diana gets next to no character development-- she's a cipher, there to facilitate the plot and little else.

I'm sorry, but I hate this interpretation of Wonder Woman to my very core. It's everything the character and her story SHOULDN'T be.

unknownfacts - 2/13/2013, 8:32 AM
I think people call her outfit slutty becuase at one her unitard became a uni-thong.I was getting at the fact that most female characters dress in a simular fashine but don't get the same amount of grief Wonder Woman gets for it.

PS I don't find her outfit slutty at all.It makes sense if you think about it.Ancient greek warriors wore simular attire in combat.
Nomis1800 - 2/13/2013, 8:51 AM
@reverendjonnynemo: nice!!!!!!
Nomis1800 - 2/13/2013, 8:54 AM
I think, after the success of MOS, they should try a Wonder Woman film. But in the same context, the same approach of reality so to speak. I know that might be hard to buy, and an even trickier nut to crack than MOS but still, there are enough incarnations of WW that could work on the silver screen.

Thing they need the most: a bloody good script. Then a director with a vision, a talented cast & crew, budget between 100 and 150 million dollars, shooting on 35mm and maybe even with IMAX and there you have your Wonder Woman blockbuster!
DukeAcureds - 2/13/2013, 10:41 AM
JaketheSuperguy@ What do you mean a man directing Wonder Woman is wrong? That's just as stupid as saying that a woman directing Batman is wrong. And to be honest, I've been wanting to see Kathryn Bigelow direct Batman for a long, long time, now. She's much better suited to Batman than Wonder Woman.
jaycr - 2/13/2013, 5:45 PM
@The Fox: You still live in the Silver age. Diana needs this update.

I picked her old books, they are boring and lame... sorry but I don't like my mom wearing hot pants preaching me about how awful is to be a woman in men's world when I read a comic book, not even women buy that BS... I don't know a single girl that is Wonder Woman fan, all the people I know that care about this character are male, and most of them are very happy about the changes that Azzarello brought. Girls care about stuff like Hello Kitty and read Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, and those books are the most misogynistic BS that you can find.

A paradise island full of women, only a man can think of such a thing!!! Do you really know 2 women that can live happy together forever and ever? Ask any girl and they will tell you how hard is for them to be good friends with another girl. Unless the girl is a man hater nympho lesbian this looks more like a punishment than paradise.

Azzarrello gives a well needed humanity to Diana by removing the clay doll origin and give her a father, blood brothers and sisters. She is no longer the perfect daughter, the all peaceful nice lady, she has flaws, she has conflicts but above all, she remains likable.

The amazons, I never liked them... weird man haters that locked themselves from the world. The can be great villains if you ask me and I would like to see one of them to rise a major threat to Diana... jealousy and envy have a great place to breed in a place like Themyscira. Diana is a rupture to this sick amazon ideas, she is the bridge between men and women.

Diana is greater than ever in this book, she is no longer fighting spies and crooks, scaring wife beaters and crooks. She is fighting gods and cosmic forces... You still think of Linda Carter, Diana is more than that (I liked Linda Carter)... like Batman left Adam West behind, Diana must change to remain an important character in the XXI century.

TheFox - 2/14/2013, 1:34 AM
@jaycr: ...

... Wow.

"Sick Amazon ideas."


... Ooookaaaay...

If you can't stomach a Wonder Woman story that isn't full of needless violence and blatant misogyny, then... well, good for you. But not wanting to see the Amazons transformed into baby-enslaving murderers, or a Diana who is just another bastard offspring of Zeus, does NOT mean I'm stuck in the Silver Age-- anymore than you would say that to a Superman fan who objects to, say, turning Jor-El into Krypton's version of Josef Mengele, or having Superman turn out to be the product of genetic engineering.

Wonder Woman was fighting gods and monster LONG before Brian Azzarello got his greasy mitts on her. Read Greg Rucka's run. Or Gail Simone's. Hell, watch the 2009 animated movie. You don't HAVE to make a story grim, brutal, and unpleasant to make it cool, but no one seems to have told Azzarello that.

And for the record, I never watched the Linda Carter series-- I READ THE COMICS.

TheFox - 2/14/2013, 3:30 PM
@KnightofSteel: Yeah, it's not a terrible idea, but the way it was handled in the book left a LOT to be desired. Apparently Zeus was such an end-all, be-all hunk of pure beefy manliness that Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons and worshipper of Hera, Zeus' wife and the goddess of marriage and fidelity, just could not STOP herself from hopping in the sack with him. It reads more like a fetish fantasy Azzarello scraped out of the back of his brain than a legitimate thing that Hippolyta would do (and notice that Zeus is nowhere to be found, and thus has to bear no responsibility for his actions?).

And the idea that Hera would never figure out Diana's true parentage-- DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE'S THE ONE CREDITED WITH GIVING DIANA LIFE IN THE STORIES-- is patently absurd. It basically played out as a cheap reveal to give Hera a reason to eliminate the Amazons and force Diana to deal with her "new" family, the gods, instead of relying on her old one. Who, of course, Azzarello then turned into a pack of hypocritical, bloodthirsty hags-- because GOD FORBID a race of women try to live a peaceful existence on their own; surely they have to be up to some sort of depraved horrors, because why else would they want to live without men?!?

... Sorry. This run just REALLY pisses me off.

But the thing is, Wonder Woman's weird origins made her unique. They were in perfect keeping with the kind of bizarre crap you read in mythology all the time (it's not any weirder than God making woman out of Adam's rib), yet it also made more than just another bastard demi-god. Her lack of conventional origins made her an outsider, even among the Amazons, and forced her to seek out a place in the world by travelling to Man's World and trying to reconcile the philosophies and beliefs of her people with the rest of the world.

But now? Shit... now Wonder Woman is f%$#ing SURROUNDED by brothers and sisters who share either her parentage or similar divine ancestry. She is one of many-- not special, not unique. Sure, she'd be unique compared to regular humans, but you know how many regular humans appear in Wonder Woman on a regular basis? ONE. And all those values she was taught by the Amazons-- you know, the values that she's built her life and entire philosophical system upon? Yeah, it's all bullshit, because the Amazons were lying to her from the start (which, seriously, WHY and HOW would the Amazons keep SO MUCH of their illicit activities secret over the course of Diana's lifetime-- and furthermore, if they were murdering men and selling babies for pretty much the entirety of their existence, then WHY WERE THEY PREACHING PEACE AND TOLERANCE IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND HOW DID DIANA SOMEHOW END UP EXEMPT FROM THEIR TWISTED, MONSTROUS VALUE SYSTEM?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

... Seriously, I'm sorry, but I just HATE this book so MUCH!!!

Anyway, my point is, changing Diana's origins also changes her motivations and, in effect, turns her into a different character. Before, she was an outsider trying to live up to her quasi-adopted mother's teachings and dedicated to bringing peace to Man's World. Now, she's a black sheep in a cosmicly dysfunctional "royal" family who's only real goal is to keep her asshole aunts and uncles from killing her infant half-sister, which basically makes her a pawn in a Shakespearean power struggle to see who gets the throne of Olympus. Other than that, she has no real motivation anymore-- everything she valued and all of the beliefs that drove her have been stripped away and defiled.

Great way to reboot your character, DC.

THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 2/17/2013, 9:44 AM
LMAO @ tying up WW. Yup, Suchhhh a pervert.

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