Introduction to Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman has been an icon since her inception. Appearing in more comics than Superman or Batman during the Golden Age, DC continued to publish her through her darker selling days of the mid-1950s to mid-1970s when any other comic might have been canceled. Creator William Moulton Marston had cleverly crafted an agreement with Max C. Gaines that if they ever stopped publishing Wonder Woman, the rights would revert to the Marston family. DC could take a loss on the comic because she was making money through licensing as the best-known symbol of the American woman. Look at now! She’s never been more popular!
Brief History of Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was created as a response to the over-masculinization of the burgeoning comic industry. Dr. William Moulton Marston was asked to be on the advisory board of All-American Comics and took a more active interest in what shape these 4-color magazines would have on the minds of their young readers as a creator. Max Gaines had hired him after an interview in Family Circle Magazine titled “Don’t Laugh at the Comics”. As Marston himself said in a letter to early comics historian Coulton Waugh:
“The publishers insisted that woman leads in comics had always been flops. But Mr. Gaines, who discovered Superman, offered to publish the proposed (Wonder) Woman strip in comics magazine for six months if I would write it. This I agreed to do under the pen name, Charles Moulton”.
William Marston did write or oversaw every story until his death in 1947. Robert Kanigher became the principal writer through the early 1970s but not before a brief period in the late 1960s when Diana lost her powers in an attempt to modernize the strip. This period is reviled by some and loved by others. But simply giving Wonder Woman back her Amazonian powers and placing her back into the hand of Kanigher was not enough to reverse the continuing slumping sales. Enter editor Julius Schwartz. Up to this point, he had successfully modernized the Golden Age Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, Hawkman, and Justice Society and revitalized Batman and Superman. Now it was his turn to do so with Wonder Woman. Her sales may not have been chart-toppers but Wonder Woman has seen steady growth in her sales numbers ever since and more importantly, many of the industry’s top creators have added Amazonian’s mythos.
H. G. Peter drew nearly every Wonder Woman story until his death in 1957. Ross Andru and inker Mike Esposito filled in the next decade before Mike Sekowsky spent two years on the powerless Amazon and her male mentor I-Ching. It’s been a revolving door of artists wanting to take up the strip since then. The most notable being Jose Delbo, George Perez, John Byrne, J. G. Jones, and Cliff Chiang. Writers have included Gerry Conway, Len Wein, George Perez, John Byrne, William Messner-Loebs, Greg Rucka and Brian Azzarello.
The first major villain to face Wonder Woman is Doctor Poison (Princess Maru) in Sensation Comics #2. She was no princess in the 2017 Wonder Woman movie but was also among Diana’s first film nemeses. Baroness Paula Von Gunther makes her debut in Sensation Comics #4. It took some Amazonian effort, but after many adventures over a few years, the Nazi spy reformed and became a valued healer on Paradise Island. Mars, otherwise known by his Greek name Ares, pops up in Wonder Woman #2. He was all Diana talked about in the Wonder Woman movie. Dr. Psycho first appears in Wonder Woman #5. Marston’s psychology professor at Harvard, Dr. Hugo Munsterberg served as Dr. Psycho’s blueprint. It was there at Harvard with Munsterberg that Marston first began work on a lie detector. Cheetah (Pricilla Rich) springs forth in Wonder Woman #6. Wonder Woman has had limited success in reforming Cheetah over the nearly 80 years they’ve known each other either as Pricilla Rich or Barbara Minerva. Giganta storms onto the scene in Wonder Woman #9. Wonder Woman #37 gives us another godly villain with the first appearance of Circe.
Wonder Woman’s Love Interest
Steve Trevor has been Wonder Woman’s main squeeze. There have been efforts throughout Wonder Woman’s history to modernize or revamp the series and sometimes those efforts have led to Trevor’s disappearance or even death. Somehow, Trevor always makes a comeback.
Throughout the Golden Age and Silver Age, Wonder Woman stories were pretty self-contained. Here are some popular storylines from the Bronze Age to the present.
Wonder Woman #212 through #222
Similar to the 12 labors of Hercules, Wonder Woman asks the Justice League to monitor her before being restored to the League. She has been shaken by the recent loss of her powers and doesn’t want to endanger any of her fellow members should her powers fail her again.
Wonder Woman Volume 2 #1 through #6
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC revamped a number of series, and Wonder Woman was no exception. Walk with her as she experiences man’s world once again for the ‘first’ time. And who should give her trouble? None other than Ares.
Wonder Woman #1-35 (New 52)
In one of the most recent revamping’s, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang cast Wonder Woman’s world in a completely new light. Like a self-contained Elseworld series, when DC decided to re-boot again (sigh!), they largely ignored everything the Azzarello/Chiang storyline accomplished. You will not be disappointed.
How much are Wonder Woman comics worth?
All-Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman’s 1st appearance and origin, is valued at $325,000 in NM- (9.2) which places it in a tie for 10th place on the 2019 Overstreet Golden Age Comics list. Wonder Woman #1 is tied for 20th on the same list at $195,000. In 25th place, we have Sensation Comics #1 with a top value of $150,000. Wonder Woman’s debut in the 4th Golden Age comic title she regularly appeared in, Comic Cavalcade #1, is worth $19,000 in 9.2.
What are the most expensive Wonder Woman comics?
Falling just short of the million-dollar club, an All-Star #8 in CGC 9.4 sold in 2017 for $936,223. An astounding copy of Sensation Comics #1 in CGC 9.6 sold for $399,100 also in 2017. The most expensive Wonder Woman #1 would be a CGC 9.0 copy selling for $291,100 in 2016. Here are a few other top prices we found. We’ll leave Wonder Woman’s valuable exploits with the Justice Society in All-Star Comics to the history of that book published elsewhere on this site.
Wonder Woman #6
Cheetah proves to be top cat with her Rockford pedigree CGC 9.2 sale in 2016 for $19,199.
Wonder Woman #5
Wonder Woman’s arch-enemy Dr. Psycho saw a Mile High CGC 9.4 issue sell for $14,938 in 2015.
Wonder Woman #2
The Rockford pedigree copy of Mars’ first appearance in 9.0 sold for $13,145 in 2015.
Sensation Comics #3
The highest price paid outside of a key issue belongs to a CGC 9.0 copy of Sensation Comics #3 selling in 2015 for $7,170.
Sensation Comics #6, 68
It took a Mile High CGC 9.6 copy of Sensation Comics #68 to tie with a mere CGC 5.5 Sensation Comics #6, the first appearance of Wonder Woman’s magic lasso, at $6,572.50 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Comic Cavalcade #6
The highest price paid for a Comic Cavalcade outside the 1st issue belongs to the Mile High CGC 9.6 copy sold in 2012 for $4,780.
Wonder Woman #1 Cover Art
The cover art for Wonder Woman #1 is by co-creator H. G. Peter. It has never surfaced.
Original Wonder Woman Art
Not only did the 2017 Wonder Woman movie take the Amazon to new heights, but it also inspired contemporary artist Olivia to create the most expensive pieces of Wonder Woman art sold at Heritage Auctions with her painting of the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman selling for $65,725 in 2018. Olivia’s first effort in 2017 is no slouch either selling in 2017 for the $40,630 placing her #1 and tied for #2 with Irv Novick’s cover to Wonder Woman #174 sold in 2018. The long-time Wonder Woman art team of Ross Andru and Mike Espisito saw their cover to Wonder Woman #154 sell for $38,240. The top H. G. Peter art sold is some sketches and notes he made in 1941 about Wonder Woman’s creation that garnered $33,350 in 2002.
Characters from Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman’s support team in man’s world during the Golden Age consisted of Captain Steve Trevor, his boss Colonel Darnell, Etta Candy and the Holiday Girls. She also retained the support of her mother Queen Hipolyta of the Amazons, primarily of Mala, her nemesis-turned-ally Paula.
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