A definitive A-to-Z guide to the action-packed history of Wonder Woman, high-flying feminist icon and twenty-first-century movie star
She’s as wise as Athena and as beautiful as Aphrodite, stronger then Hercules and swifter than Hermes. Blessed at birth by the gods themselves, Princess Diana left an idyllic island paradise ruled by wise and brave women to bring the peace, love, and nobility of the Amazons to the tumultuous world of humankind. In January 1942, Wonder Woman took the world of comics—and its pantheon of superpowered males—by storm.
Wielding her impervious silver bracelets and golden Lasso of Truth, she’s battled forces of evil from the Axis powers to a slew of super-villains worldwide, teamed up with the likes of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash, and transcended comics and film to become a pop-culture superstar. It’s all here in more than 400 fact-filled pages:
• Wonder Woman’s origins, as imagined and reinterpreted by generations of comics writers—including her groundbreaking creator, William Moulton Marston
• biographies of every major character in Wonder Woman’s universe, including her mother, Hippolyta; sister, Donna Troy; and mortal ally Steve Trevor—as well as such classic foes as Ares, Cheetah, Hades, and the members of Villainy Inc.
• classic black-and-white comic book artwork throughout
• two sixteen-page full-color artwork inserts—plus a dazzling original cover illustration by fan-favorite artist Adam Hughes
Written by veteran Wonder Woman artist and writer Phil Jimenez and comics historian John Wells, The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia is the ultimate archive, proving that her die-hard devotees don’t have to visit Paradise Island for a taste of heaven on earth.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||10.82(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.23(d)|
About the Author
Phil Jimenez was born and raised in Los Angeles, and later Orange County, California. He moved to New York City to attend college at the School of Visual Arts, where he now teaches a life-drawing course as part of the undergraduate cartooning program. He is well known for his run as writer/artist on Wonder Woman from 2000 to 2003.
John Wells is a comics historian best known for his research into the history of DC Comics and its characters. He maintains a massive privately-held database documenting the appearances of DC's heroes, villains, and a multitude of other categories that has served as a resource for writers and editors such as Kurt Busiek, Bob Greenberger, Phil Jimenez, and Mark Waid. John has explored comics history both online, as part of Bob Rozakis' cyberspace "Answer Man" column, and in print, for publications such as Alter Ego, Amazing Heroes, Back Issue, The Comic Buyer's Guide, and DC Comics' Batman in the Eighties.
Read an Excerpt
ABERNATHY, SENATOR RUSSELL
In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-1, a retired US senator and chair of the Foreign Relations Committee who rented an apartment in his Georgetown brownstone to DIANA PRINCE II, the civilian identity of WONDER WOMAN II, and her roommate ETTA CANDY II.
Soon after, Abernathy was blackmailed by crippled industrialist OSCAR POUND, who once provided the former senator with classified documents he leaked to the press for political gain. Abernathy let Pound kidnap Etta Candy without knowing that the industrialist planned to sacrifice her to the demon BAAL-SATYR in exchange for the use of his legs. Wonder Woman destroyed Baal-Satyr, freed Etta, and captured Oscar Pound, releasing the repentant Abernathy from his deadly pact.
Later, after Abernathy suffered a debilitating heart attack, Wonder Woman and STEVE TREVOR II uncovered a plot to undermine peace talks between the United States and Russia masterminded by the senator's former aide Howard Kohler.
Abernathy's daughter Lisa was a reporter for GBS News and the mother of his granddaughter Eloise.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #273, November 1980
An ape queen from Gorilla City and a member of the Inner Circle of the Simian Scarlet, a terrorist faction of warmongering gorillas. In the post-CRISIS universe, Abu-Gita and her ape army once tried to invade the island home of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA and WONDER WOMAN III. Abu-Gita intended to breach the so-called TARTARUS Gate beneath Themyscira and use the RIVER STYX to access the tributary to MOUNT RAVANA, the home of their gods, the RAKSHASAS. During a great battle in the Temple of the Rakshasas, Wonder Woman used her LASSO OF TRUTH to capture Abu-Gita, who subsequently discovered that her intense faith in her gods and her culture had been manipulated by her people and based on dozens of lies. Unable to reconcile her existence with the truth, Abu-Gita was mystically transported off the Holy Mount and back to Gorilla City, while her aide-de-camp Luk-Nutt, who first deduced the reality of Gorilla City's doctored history, remained with CHARON THE FERRYMAN in the underworld.
First appearance: JLA Annual #3, 1999
ACADEMY OF ARCH-VILLAINS, THE
In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-1, a trio of villains who once joined forces to defeat WONDER WOMAN III. ANGLE MAN II, MOUSE MAN, and the HUMAN FIREWORKS, each vying for the Golden WW award offered by the criminal underworld for capturing Wonder Woman, attempted to catch the AMAZON PRINCESS and take the gleaming statuette. Wonder Woman handily defeated the gangsters, incarcerating each and ending the more than brief crime wave of the Academy of Arch-Villains.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #141, October 1963
In the post-CRISIS universe, a senator of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA. Acantha was a member of a committee formed to discuss the impact that artifacts brought from PATRIARCH'S WORLD to Themyscira by WONDER WOMAN III might have on their fellow Amazons.
Acantha expressed concern that the Amazons' destiny would forever be tied to Patriarch's World through the symbols and colors of Wonder Woman's BATTLE ARMOR, which mirror the American flag.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [second series] #10, November 1987
A great hero in Greek mythology, part mortal, part god. Achilles acquired his famous invulnerability when his mother, the sea nymph THETIS, dipped him by his heel into the RIVER STYX. All parts of Achilles's body became virtually indestructible except that heel, his only vulnerable spot.
In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-2, the Golden Age WONDER WOMAN first encountered Achilles in the ancient Mediterranean after being transported through time by GIGANTA's ELECTRONIC EVOLUTIONIZER. Achilles planned to invade AMAZONIA to avenge himself on the AMAZONS OF PARADISE ISLAND for siding with the Trojans against the Greeks in the great Trojan War. But Wonder Woman humiliated Achilles, defeating him in personal combat. With the help of STEVE TREVOR, also lost in time, the Amazons fought back the rest of Achilles's army, maintaining the sanctity of their sanctuary.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #9, Summer 1944
One of the greatest heroes of Greek legend. In the post-CRISIS universe, Achilles was gifted with near invulnerability by his mother, the sea nymph THETIS, when she dipped her son's entire body, save his heel, into the RIVER STYX.
During the Trojan War, Achilles killed PENTHISELEA, a captain of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA, before he was in turn slain by Paris, who shot Achilles's vulnerable heel with a poisoned arrow. Soon after, the wizard SHAZAM extracted the essence of Achilles from the Styx to give his power of invulnerability to a mighty warrior, who, empowered by several gods and heroes, would become a champion for humankind. After the EGYPTIAN GOD Set corrupted this spell to create BLACK ADAM, the wizard was left to wander the Earth for millennia, seeking a new host for the collected power until he found a suitable candidate in young Billy Batson. Once again, Achilles's spirit lent his imperviousness to CAPTAIN MARVEL, the corporeal manifestation of the boy's concept of a champion, making him more than a physical match for WONDER WOMAN III, another avatar of the gods.
Achilles and his fellow immortals fell under CIRCE III's influence during the WAR OF THE GODS, and the Shazam spell was neutralized. To end the war, the wizard re-created the original Shazam spell, calling on Achilles and the others to once more grant him their power, infusing in Billy Batson the powers of Earth's Mightiest Hero.
In the post-INFINITE CRISIS universe, it was revealed that the ancient hero Achilles, and the Achilles who grants his power to Shazam, are two of potentially thousands of different avatars of Achilles, each with experiences and adventures vastly different from each other.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [second series] #33, August 1989
In the post-INFINITE CRISIS universe, one of the OLYMPIANS, a cadre of all-male warriors formed by ZEUS, the king of the OLYMPIAN GODS, to bring peace to Earth. Zeus created Achilles as a figure of everlasting hope to the warrior Olympians and brought him forth in a mystical bonfire on THALARION, the island home of his tribe.
Achilles, whose heart is powered by Zeus's own lighting, is a warrior above all else, eschewing politics and social graces for the thrill of combat. Honorable and uncompromising, Achilles's great weapon was a spear forged by HEPHAESTUS II, which would return to Achilles after each throw. Like ACHILLES II, from which his essence may have sprung, he was invulnerable to harm everywhere except his heel.
Upon their creation, Achilles and the Olympian immediately set out to stop war in PATRIARCH'S WORLD, downing armies with their might across Africa and Asia. After an initial confrontation with WONDER WOMAN III, Achilles and his warriors joined forces with the AMAZON PRINCESS and the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA to defeat the monstrous GENOCIDE and the SOCIETY during their invasion of WASHINGTON, DC.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [third series] #27
A cosmic being of immense physical and psychic power who once tried to destroy the pre-CRISIS multiverse. After the Adjudicator appeared over the WASHINGTON, DC, of EARTH-1 and began turning its citizens into crystallized corpses, WONDER WOMAN II confronted the alien and learned that he fancied himself judge, jury, and executioner of worlds he found unworthy. The Adjudicator was puzzled by the citizens of Earth, who, despite their often destructive behaviors, continued to survive and even flourish. The cosmic judge was particularly interested in the notion of self-sacrifice so often evident in Earth's greatest heroes, including Wonder Woman.
The Adjudicator unleashed his Four Horsemen of Apocalypse across multiple Earths, inflicting plague, famine, and death. Wonder Woman and several super heroines from Earth-1, EARTH-2, and Earth-X-including WONDER GIRL II and BLACK
CANARY-joined forces to defeat them. In their final battle, Wonder Woman learned that the Adjudicator was nothing more than an insane, childlike alien under the watch of a cosmic "Overseer." With the compelling powers of her MAGIC LASSO, she confronted the Adjudicator with the truth of his own existence. The alien nearly killed the AMAZON PRINCESS before the Overseers intervened and returned him to an intergalactic insane asylum.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #291, May 1982
In Greek mythology, the island refuge of CIRCE the sorceress, nestled in the Ionian Sea off the coast of western Greece. In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-2, Circe lived on Aeaea for thousands of years, luring men to their doom, until she was banished to the far side of the galaxy by QUEEN HIPPOLYTE, matriarch of the AMAZONS OF PARADISE ISLAND. On the parallel world of EARTH-1, CIRCE II lived not on Aeaea but on a small, uncharted island in the Caribbean Sea. In the post-Crisis universe, Aeaea was settled more than three millennia ago by CIRCE III. The sorceress used the hypnotic powers of the Sirens to lure wayward sailors to her island fortress. Once there, the men were often killed or turned into half-human, half-animal slaves called BESTIAMORPHS. Only the hero ODYSSEUS ever escaped Aeaea, and only with Circe's blessing.
During her first trip to Greece, WONDER WOMAN III was captured by Circe's bestiamorphs and imprisoned in the witch's fortress on Aeaea. JULIA KAPATELIS and the citizens of the nearby island of CEPHALONIA freed Wonder Woman from Circe's thrall, and the OLYMPIAN GOD HERMES destroyed the fortress and imprisoned the sorceress in LIMBO. A group of religious fanatics led by KATINA LEIKOS claimed Aeaea as theirs and renamed it DIANATA after Wonder Woman's alter ego, PRINCESS DIANA II. Leikos established a twisted cult of worship to Wonder Woman there and had a statue of the Amazon warrior standing over Circe's slain body erected in her honor. Disgusted by the discovery, Wonder Woman shattered the grim icon with a single punch.
Katina and her cultists were later murdered by Circe's bestiamorphs during the WAR OF THE GODS. After the bestiamorphs were transformed back into human beings by a spell that nullified Circe's enchantments, focused through the powers of ANIMAL-MAN, Aeaea became a stronghold for Earth's super heroes as they planned their attack on NEW OLYMPUS, home of the OLYMPIAN GODS. The twisted relics of Dianata were destroyed when New Olympus returned to its own universe, leaving Aeaea free of any record of the cult's occupation.
Years later, Circe reclaimed her island, re-created her bestiamorphs, and teamed with, and then against, HERACLES in yet another attempt to destroy Wonder Woman.
First appearance: (Earth-2) Wonder Woman [first series] #37, September/October 1949; (Earth-1) Wonder Woman [first series] #313, March 1984 (current) Wonder Woman [second series] #17, June 1988
In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-1, a terrorist and assassin named Nikos Aegeus who became a superpowered enemy of WONDER WOMAN II. Aegeus was a Greek nationalist who once discovered the secret lair of BELLEROPHON, the blind master of the winged steed PEGASUS. Bellerophon bequeathed the magical horse and several of ZEUS's thunderbolts to Aegeus, hoping the villain would use the weapons to destroy PARADISE ISLAND.
Aegeus then kidnapped STEVE TREVOR II, believing the US Air Force officer could be tortured into divulging the secret location of Paradise Island and its PURPLE HEALING RAY. While Bellerophon battled Wonder Woman on the ground, Aegeus used his lightning bolts to summon chunks of volcanic rocks through mystic portals and hurl them at the island. With Steve's help, Wonder Woman defeated the terrorist, but Aegeus escaped to MOUNT OLYMPUS, where MARS II, the OLYMPIAN GOD of war, gave him new weapons to destroy the AMAZON PRINCESS.
Months later, the hotheaded Aegeus returned, working for a rogue US intelligence operative out to sabotage a nuclear peace accord between the United States and the Soviet Union. Vowing revenge on Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman, Aegeus shattered one of the Amazon warrior's BRACELETS OF SUBMISSION with one of Vulcan's Six Daggers before he was defeated. SOFIA CONSTANTINAS, a member of Aegeus's terrorist cell, later moved to Paradise Island to reform her evil ways.
After the cosmic event known as the First Crisis, Aegeus and Sofia and their entire histories were wiped out of existence. With the recent restoration of multiple Earths and multiple time lines after INFINITE CRISIS, the whereabouts of Aegeus and Sofia and the lives they might have lived remain to be seen.
Aegeus possessed superstrength, mystical lightning bolts that could teleport him across great distances or destroy buildings, and a magic bridle that allowed him to tame and control Pegasus. He also possessed Vulcan's Six Daggers, which could cleave through any known substance, including Wonder Woman's Bracelets of Submission and MAGIC LASSO.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #297, November 1982
In Greek mythology, the mighty shield of ZEUS, often shared with his daughter ATHENA. In the post-CRISIS universe, the Aegis was created from the hide of the primordial goat goddess Amaltheia, who wet-nursed Zeus and provided the energy that bound MOUNT OLYMPUS.
Thousands of years ago, during the first great war between the OLYMPIAN GODS and the TITANS OF MYTH, Zeus's father, CRONUS, splintered the Aegis into pieces before ARES, the god of war, utterly destroyed its remains. Unbeknownst to Zeus, Athena had HEPHAESTUS II reforge the shield's fragments into two SILVER BRACELETS to be worn by the champion of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA. That champion, WONDER WOMAN III, later used the bracelets to destroy the remains of a battle-ravaged Olympus so Zeus and his fellow gods could re-create it as NEW OLYMPUS.
First appearance: (as Wonder Woman's silver bracelets) Wonder Woman [second series] #1, February 1987
In the post-CRISIS universe, one of the AMAZONS OF THEMYSCIRA. Aella was an aggressive, passionate Amazon with an empathic affinity for birds, notably hawks. She joined ANTIOPE II and her tribe of Amazons as they chased HERACLES and THESEUS to Thebes after their vicious assault on THEMYSCIRA. Aella later died in battle in the great Trojan War.
Thousands of years later, a second Aella, a Themysciran separatist, was slain in the AMAZON CIVIL WAR instigated by the sorceress MAGALA.
First appearance: Wonder Woman [first series] #1, February 1987
In the pre-CRISIS universe of EARTH-2, a Japanese spy working undercover in the United States during WORLD WAR II. Agent X was Colonel Togo Ku, a saboteur and master of disguise with three distinct identities who once fought the Golden Age WONDER WOMAN.
Claiming to be a member of the World Peace Society, Ku, disguised as Agent X, kidnapped the first DIANA PRINCE, an army nurse and the wife of DAN WHITE, who invented anti-aircraft weaponry that the Axis Powers would have no defense against. Wonder Woman captured Agent X after the spy's plane was shot down by White's disintegrator weapon and revealed his true identity as Togo Ku.
First appearance: Sensation Comics #9, September 1942
In the post-CRISIS universe, a man once infected with the deadly PANDORA VIRUS. Richard Thomas Agoras, a man frustrated with his mundane, listless life in GATEWAY CITY, was kidnapped by the psychopath DOCTOR POISON II and subjected to a series of experiments engineered to free mythological beings from the subconscious minds of humanity.
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