Comic creator ‘liberates’ self, others from sexual shackles

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman

Jill Lapore, 527 pages

I stumbled on Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, directed by Angela Robinson. while searching for a movie to watch with my wife on Valentine’s Day.

I am glad we checked it out, because it was through this film I became introduced to the interesting life and relationships of William Marston, creator of America’s favorite female superhero.

After mentioning the film on social media, a writer friend suggested I read The Secret History of Wonder Woman, written by Jill Lepore.

This non-fiction book traces the development of Marston’s career as a Harvard-trained psychologist and inventor of the lie detector test, and the confluence of his passionate feminist views and unusual domestic lifestyle, which eventually led to him creating, and his spouses supporting, his wildly popular and successful Wonder Woman comic at the outset of World War II.

While many critics, past and present, perceive Marston to be a womanizing crank and an affront to their conservative values, the fact that Marston was fervently loved by his spouses and children, and the dynamic way in which he managed to reinvent himself throughout his career, can not be denied, and in my opinion, is ultimately a testament to his unique creativity and vision.

Highly recommended reading for those who are interested in the study of the emancipation of the sexes from society’s sometimes narrow, and judgmental, cultural constraints.

Ryan Hyatt, May 5, 2021

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