A Brief History of the Wondie Suit


And Wonder Woman has (in the words of DC Message Boarder Martin Gray) a costume that is "a telephone doodler's delight." It's got to be the busiest costume in comics. It's certainly changed through the years, reflecting society and culture like few other costumes have been able to do.

Start now on the tour of the Wondie Suit. The things to look for are length of shorts (once she gets around to shorts), type of footwear, body coverage, and of course all the frou-frou that came after Crisis. Keep in mind that Wondie has that magic lasso, which can compel people to tell the truth as well as perform amazing feats of stretching and strength. Her tiara can be used as a boomerang. During parts of the Silver Age her earrings were a repository of compressed air so she could travel underwater for long amounts of time. And of course her amazing bracelets can deflect bullets when wielded quickly enough.
January 1942

Here's how Wondie burst onto the scene back in All-Star #8 and Sensation Comics #1. Please note that these are CULOTTES. Supposedly Mrs. Marston vetoed a skirt for Our Girl, since the skirt would obviously be up around her shoulders if she got into any action at all. (No skirts for action heroes!) (Hear me roar!)
January 1942
Feb. 1942

Princess Diana originally bought the identity of an Army nurse, Diana Prince.

April 1942

I think the culottes looked cuul since they could appear a skirt at times and yet function as shorts, but they started to be drawn as loose shorts.



Summer, 1942

Great shot of the eagle. His little toesies are really clutching the top of the white belt. Note the yellow stripe at the top of the boots. We'd be getting a few variations on the boots for a while. You've got the loose tops, the tight tops (like here), and the duck bill tops during this early period, with front stripe an option and color of top stripe also optional. Also of interest in this picture is the way the lasso is drawn: like rope. Cowboys (and girls) played an important part in the Golden Age WW run, and this depiction shows us that her lasso is right out of a good Western.
July 1942

Hey, you should have seen this before I sharpened it. Anyway, Diana Prince joined the "regular" Army, if I may call it that to differentiate it from the medical corps. Now, I wonder why she's wearing Air Force blue, especially since the Air Force wasn't around at that time...


Fall 1942Fall 1942

By September 1941 WW was wearing tight walking shorts that she'd stay with for over a decade. The only question now was: what the heck was she wearing on her feet? On the left we see loose-topped boots with front white stripe...

...while here we get a seam and no white stripe...

December 1947

...and then we get those awful (but distinctive) duck-billed boots! Say hi to Etta and the Holliday Girls as they fly by. Woo woo!
Feb. 1950

Collection is spotty or I'd give you a definite date, but somewhere in here someone decided that a good Amazon wore sandals. The only question was: what would they look like? For the most part, there was a straight-across loop at top and bottom with one crossover between, and then slippers on the feet. Here's an interesting turn: a cute little bow top and front, and the sandal is open enough to see Diana's toes.
Feb. 1950

This is weird. Yellow sandals. (This is a cover shot; the shoes weren't like this on the interior.) I've been told that Comics Cavalcade went in for the yellow sandals a lot, but I have no issues of that title. But those nice guys down at "Books Do Furnish a Room" in Durham (just around the corner from Dook's East Campus; go buy something from them) let me peruse a book set that contains all covers for WW, CC and A-S. This seems to be the only cover to show the yellow sandals (we're not talking interiors here), and the first WW cover anywhere to show her in sandals. Anyone want to double-check me on that?
Feb. 1951

A nice back shot. Note the open-toed design.

Feb. 1951 Another way to tie the sandals. They're slippers here.

The Comics Code

Okay, along about 1956 the Comics Code came into being. Among other things, the code stated:
1) Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
2) Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
3) All characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.
4) Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

A funny thing happened with Wondie's costume: the bodice changed. Oh, not on the covers for some odd reason (the code specified that all these rules were supposed to apply to covers as well), but on the interior of the stories the bodice started to run straight across. Was this due to the Code? If so, why not on the covers?
August 1956

At the left is a cover. Note the shaped bodices, but also note the complicated lacing of the sandals. See how the shorts are getting shorter?
August 1957

This is how the interiors showed the costume with the straight-across bodice.

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