Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2018

Department

Library & Information Services

Language

English

Publication Title

Popular Culture Review

Abstract

“Every successful show has a multitude of fights, and that the shows are successful sometimes are because of those fights. And sometimes shows aren’t successful because those fights aren’t carried on long or hard enough.”
-Douglas S. Cramer

“And any civilization that does not recognize the female is doomed to destruction. Women are the wave of the future—and sisterhood is…stronger than anything.”
-Wonder Woman, The New Original Wonder Woman (7 Nov. 1975)

Live-action superhero films currently play a significant role at the box office, which means they also play a significant role in culture’s understandings about justice. For the most part, however, superhero films are dominated by philosophies based in irrational fears and stereotypes, perpetuating an antiquated concept of justice that contributes detrimentally to societies around the world. Wonder Woman enriches the pantheon of superheroes by representing restorative justice, which is part of a more comprehensive approach to crime-fighting, in which mediators work with victims and offenders to try and overcome the roots of crimes and heal communities. This philosophy is merely one among many that could have a place in America’s considerations about justice, but it has not developed the same cultural awareness as the capture or murder of the majority of superheroes. This is partially because before 2017, the only time Wonder Woman was in the live-action spotlight was her 1975-1979 television series. Despite Wonder Woman’s publication in comic books since 1941, a commonly accepted sentiment is that her brand of justice is difficult for a superhero format. However, Wonder Woman’s perceived difficulty has largely been the result of society’s desire to suppress her over the course of her existence. From 1975-1979, the Wonder Woman live-action television series, also known as The New Original Wonder Woman and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, gave the character’s philosophy every reason to take off in the popular consciousness. An analysis of the series reveals a key stylistic link in the development of superhero adaptations between the Batman 1966-1968 television show and the 1978 Superman film that faithfully and clearly adapted Wonder Woman’s philosophy into a mainstream 1970’s television format. The series was suppressed, undone, and discredited, with the potential role of Wonder Woman as a figure of justice obscured by her sex, her gender, her feminism, and a perceived threat of sexuality, as part of Wonder Woman’s larger impeded legacy in America’s embedded culture of misogyny.

Comments

This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Popular Culture Review's Website.

Popular Culture Review is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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