In the world of comics, arguably only four characters can claim the title of mythic, thus true, heroes (Superman, Batman, and the original Captain Marvel being the other three), and the Amazon Princess is the only woman among them. Sadly, Wonder Woman is only a fictional character owned by DC Comics. As such, since Marston’s death she has been a slave to whoever writes and draws her. Many of those have not really liked her, have perhaps felt threatened by the strongest woman in comics.
Thus they have diminished her through the years, by turning her into a family show composed of woman, girl, tot, and mom; by taking away her costume and powers and dressing her in Emma Peel jumpsuits; or by drawing her to look like a pole dancer.
I am happy to see that the many contributors to Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth have avoided the above versions, but instead have concentrated on analyzing Marston’s original version or those of the few creators who got it right, like George Perez, Gail Simone, and Greg Rucka.
Pendulums swing, as we learned from our 2016 presidential election. Wonder Woman’s pendulum has swung from Marston writing about the kind of heroine he felt should become president, to writers who characterized her and her sister Amazons as violent and warlike, and artists who couldn’t keep their hands off her costume and kept redesigning it, to creators who see her as more woman-friendly. I only hope that her pendulum will continue to swing in the direction she’s been going recently, and we will continue to enjoy the Amazon princess we love: beautiful, strong, brave, compassionate—and feminist.
Retired underground cartoonist and current comics historian Trina Robbins has been writing graphic novels, comics, and books for almost half a century. Her subjects have ranged from Wonder Woman and The Powerpuff Girls to her own teenage superheroine, Go Girl!, and from women cartoonists and super-heroines to women who kill. She’s won an Inkpot Award and was inducted in the Will Eisner Hall of Fame at the San Diego Comic-Con. She lives in a molder-ing, 100+year-old house in San Francisco with her cats, shoes, and dust bunnies. She illustrated and co-authored the comic book series The Legend of Wonder Woman.
Acknowledgments: Our Sensations | Travis Langley and Mara Wood
Foreword: The Lasso and the Pendulum | Trina Robbins
Introduction: Truth | Travis Langley
PART I: CREATOR’S WORLD
l. Psychology on Trial: The Other Legacy of William Moulton Marston | Martin Lloyd
2. Dominance, Inducement, Submission, Compliance: Throwing the DISC in Fact and Fiction | Mara Wood
3. Marston, Wertham, and the Psychological Potential of Comic Books | Tim Hanley and Travis Langley
4. The Tale of a Manx Cat (A Memoir from the Woman Who Gave Us Wonder) | Elizabeth Holloway Marston
PART II: OLD WORLD
5. A Perfect Place: Paradise Island and Utopian Communities | Mara Wood
6. Individuation and the Psychology of Rebirth | Chris Yogerst and Caitlin Yogerst
7. The Heroine and the Hero’s Journey | Laura Vecchiolla
PART III: WOMAN’S WORLD
8. A Mother’s Magic: Parenting Issues in Paradise | Mike Madrid and Rebecca M. Langley
9. Multiple Identities, Multiple Selves? Diana’s Actual, Ideal, and Ought Selves | Wind Goodfriend and Annamaria Formichella-Elsden
10. Growing a Goddess: Child Development and Wonder Woman | Mara Wood
11. Compassion is My Superpower | Jenna Busch and Janina Scarlet
12. Feminist Psychology: Teaching How to Be Wonderful | Mara Wood
PART IV: MAN’S WORLD
13. An Amazon in a World of Men | Lara Taylor Kester and Nina Taylor Kester
14. It’s a Man’s World: Wonder Woman and Attitudes Toward Gender Roles | Erin Currie
15. From Wing Chun to Wonder Woman: Empowerment through Martial Skill | E. Paul Zehr and Jeff Pisciotta
PART V. MODERN WORLD
16: Snapping Necks and Wearing Pants: Symbols, Schemas, and Stress Over Change | Travis Langley
17. First of Her Name: Wonder Woman, the Role Model | Mara Wood
18. Balancing the Warrior and the Peace Ambassador: Self- Concepts and Moral Complexity | Eric D. Wesselman, Emilio J.C. Lobato, and J. Scott Jordan
19. Coffee with Your Hero: The Benefits of Parasocial Relationships | Janina Scarlet and Alan Kistler
20. Truth in Treatment: Who Wields the Magic? | Travis Langley and Mara Wood