2016 was an eventful year for Wonder Woman. Not only did she make her silver screen debut, but she recently celebrated her 75th anniversary. With all of these huge milestones it's only appropriate that we look back on the history of the character and remember all the things that make Wonder Woman so great.
The Creation of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by William Moulten Marston, and debuted in All Star Comics Issue #8. Wonder Woman's appearance in the Golden Age of comics made her the first prominent female superhero of her time. Her creator William Moulten was a psychologist and the inventor of the systolic blood pressure test which went on to be a component of the modern polygraph. It was William's experience with the polygraph test that convinced him that women were more reliable and honest than men, hence inspiring the creation of Wonder Woman.
At the time DC Comics was dominated by male heroes such as Superman and Batman. It's said that Wonder Woman was made to counteract that by bringing in a larger female audience. She would also act as a role model for young girls. The results of this can be seen in her first comic book series through complimentary articles which sought to provide guidance directed towards a young female readership.
The Origin Story
Wonder Woman, also known as Diana, was born an Amazon warrior princess who grew up on an island known as Paradise Island, later to be called Themyscira. The Amazons departed from Greece because of the cruelty of man. Guided by Aphrodite the Amazons sailed across the sea in search of a peaceful land. Once they made it to the island they constructed a city which no man was allowed to enter. Unlike the rest of her sisters, Diana wasn't born conventionally, instead she was constructed out of clay by her mother and was brought to life by the Olympian gods. Bestowed with the power of the gods she grew up to be swift and powerful.
One day a United States intelligence officer named Steve Trevor crash landed his plane in the middle of the Amazon's homeland. When Wonder Woman found him she nursed him back to health, but in doing so fell in love with him. After fighting in a tournament she won the right to return Steve back to the "Man's World", where she would stay and fight evil. After winning the tournament her mother rewarded her with her iconic costume as well as her lasso of truth. Wonder Woman then brings Steve Trevor back to the US in her invisible jet. Throughout the Golden Age of comics Steve would act as a love interest to Diana, and would even go on to be her love interest in the New 52 until she would later begin a relationship with Superman.
The New 52
The origins of Wonder Woman have gone through several revamps over the years, but to avoid any confusion we're only going to touch on her New 52 reboot. Wonder Woman's depiction in the New 52 is more or less the same as the rest of her modern appearances, only with a few minor changes here and there. In her New 52 origins written by Brian Azzarello, Wonder Woman is the daughter of Queen Hippolyta and the Greek god Zeus. Born through natural means, she is no longer a clay figure brought to life, but an actual demi-goddess who has taken on the role as the new god of war. Her original origin was used as a cover story to hide the real means of her birth from the goddess Hera, who was known for killing Zeus' illegitimate children. It wasn't until a confrontation with the goddess Strife did Wonder Woman learn the truth about her birth. Hippolyta would then reveal that Wonder Woman's earlier origin story to be a lie meant to protect her from the wrath of Hera.
Aside from her self-titled series Wonder Woman also made an appearance as one of the lead characters in the Justice League as a part of the New 52. The title would showcase the beginning of her relationship with Superman, the two of them being then on known as the "Power Couple". DC Comics then launched Superman/Wonder Woman, which told of the dangers the two faced as a couple as well as their romantic exploits.
Now that we've covered the creation and origin of the character, you might be wondering what would be some good books to start reading. The New 52 is definitely a good place to start with Wonder Woman Volumes one and two, and Justice League Volume one: Origins. Or if you want something older within the timeline might I suggest any of the Wonder Woman Archives books. Have fun and happy reading.