“Paradise Dungeons” — A Critical History of Wonder Woman

Won­der Woman may be the absolute strangest fic­tion­al char­ac­ter ever to become pop­u­lar. Cre­at­ed by William Moul­ton Marston, she is explic­it­ly a char­ac­ter cre­at­ed to pro­mote his vision of a sex­u­al utopia in which men sub­mit to women, which he believed was the only pos­si­ble way for human­i­ty to sur­vive. Despite the fact that she is explic­it­ly an icon of kinky sex, rad­i­cal fem­i­nism, and lib­er­al utopi­an pol­i­tics — three things that are not exact­ly clear win­ners in Amer­i­can main­stream cul­ture — she’s endured as a major comics char­ac­ter and pop cul­ture icon for decades.

Par­adise Dun­geon will be the sto­ry of that bizarre and amaz­ing idea. From her first appear­ance in 1941’s All Star Comics #8 to her brand new relaunch as part of DC’s New 52 in 2011, the book will look at the com­plete his­to­ry of Won­der Woman and how her utopi­an pol­i­tics have risen and been sup­pressed over the decades, and how Won­der Woman fit into a myr­i­ad of eras of his­to­ry, from World War II through to the tur­bu­lence of the 50s and 60s, the rekin­dled con­ser­vatism of the 70s and 80s, the rise of the dig­i­tal gen­er­a­tion in the 90s and 00s, and the present. And of how, in all of those eras, no mat­ter who was work­ing on Won­der Woman, the strange and rad­i­cal utopi­anism of the con­cept survives.

Author and blog­ger Phil Sandi­er (TARDIS Eru­di­to­rum http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com) is using Kick­starter to raise mon­ey to get his book pub­lished. Since it deals with a sub­ject and char­ac­ter high­ly rel­e­vant to the sub­ject of this blog, I want to pass along this infor­ma­tion and help him reach his goal. He has post­ed the first chap­ter of the book, excerpt­ed above, and he’s def­i­nite­ly got some good ideas here.

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