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March 27, 2013

Wonder Woman: Time for the Amazon warrior to get her own movie?

Posted in: Comics,Movies

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Wonder Woman graces the cover of Ms. magazine's first issue in 1972. (Ms. magazine)

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Ms. magazine brought Wonder Woman back for its 40th anniversary issue. (Ms. magazine)

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Soon after her All Star Comics debut, Wonder Woman was featured in Sensation Comics No. 1 in 1942. (DC Comics)

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Wonder Woman in Sensation Comics No. 46. In this 1945 storyline, the baddies give Wonder Woman's boyfriend Steve Trevor special powers to be stronger than her, hoping he'll force her to marry and become a meek housewife. In the end, Wonder Woman sticks to her guns and Steve happily submits to being the weaker of the two. (DC Comics)

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In this 1957 Wonder Woman No. 90, the Amazon princess has to babysit an elephant, a whale and a dinosaur in order to raise $1 million for charity. (DC Comics)

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In 1959, Wonder Woman's origin story was revamped. Issue No. 105 reveals that the Queen of the Amazons formed Diana from clay, and that her superpowers are gifts from the gods. (DC Comics)

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In the late 1960s, Wonder Woman gave up her powers, started a mod boutique and worked with her mentor I Ching to learn martial arts. Here, she is shown in the August 1970 issue Wonder Woman No. 189. Her powers weren't restored until 1973, partly at the urging of Gloria Steinem. (DC Comics)

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Cathy Lee Crosby played Wonder Woman in a 1974 TV movie "Wonder Woman." In the film, the heroine has no superpowers, but rather is a world-traveling spy, inspired by the I Ching era of the comics. (Warner Bros.)

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Wonder Woman teamed up with other DC superheroes in "Super Friends," a television series that ran from 1973 to 1977. (Warner Bros.)

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Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in "The New Adventures of Wonder Woman," which ran from 1975 to 1979. (CBS / Los Angeles Times archives)

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Wonder Woman was rebooted once more in 1987. Above is George Perez's Wonder Woman No. 1. cover. (DC Comics)

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Wonder Woman was a key player in the animated TV series "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited," which ran from 2001 to 2006. (Warner Bros.)

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Wonder Woman was again rebooted in 2006. Gail Simone took over writing duties for the comic beginning with issue No. 14, and was applauded for her portrayal of the heroine. (DC Comics)

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Wonder Woman got her own animated movie in 2009. Keri Russell voiced Wonder Woman, and Nathan Fillion voiced Steve Trevor. (Warner Bros.)

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In the 2010 animated series "Young Justice," about younger heroes trying to prove themselves worthy of joining the Justice League, Wonder Woman takes on Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl) as her sidekick. (Warner Bros.)

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Adrianne Palicki played the title character in the never-aired TV pilot "Wonder Woman" in 2011. The show, from David E. Kelley, was never picked up -- effectively canceled before it even began. (Justin Lubin / NBC / Warner Bros.)

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Wonder Woman got a makeover when DC relaunched 52 of its most popular titles in 2011. (DC Comics)

With “The Dark Knight Rises,” “The Avengers” and this summer’s “Man of Steel” dominating the big screen, isn’t it time Wonder Woman got her own feature film?

That’s one of many questions asked by “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines,” a documentary exploring the Amazon goddess’ history in comics and status as an empowering symbol for girls and women.

The documentary, which premieres April 15 on the PBS “Independent Lens” series, will be screened Thursday evening at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena, followed by a panel discussion co-hosted by Community Cinema.

Panelists at the event include Madeline Di Nonno, executive director at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Mike Madrid, author of “The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines“; Zoe Chevat, comic artist and contributing writer to the Mary Sue; and this mild-mannered reporter, representing Hero Complex and the Los Angeles Times.

“Wonder Women! The Untold Story” traces Wonder Woman’s evolution from her World War II beginnings to her de-fanged years as a groovy spy and fashion boutique owner in the ’60s to her resurrection on the cover of Ms. Magazine at the urging of Gloria Steinem. In the documentary, Steinem, “Wonder Woman” actress Lynda Carter, Bikini Kill musician and feminist Kathleen Hanna, comics historian Trina Robbins, pop culture scholar Jennifer Stuller and more talk about the legacy of comics’ most famous superheroine.

The documentary was directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, an assistant professor at Diablo Valley College whose previous films include “Going on 13” and “El Corrido Del Cecilia Rios.”

“I loved the idea of looking at something as populist as comics to reveal our cultural obsessions, and in particular, how women’s roles have changed over time,” Guevara-Flanagan said in a statement. “The narratives of our most iconic superheroes, told and re-told over decades, boldly outline our shifting values. For some it’s Lara Croft, for others it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we all need those iconic heroes that tell us we have the power to slay our dragons and don’t have to wait around to be rescued.”

Though male superheroes have taken Hollywood by force over the last decade, smashing box-office records, female superheroes are scarce on screen, appearing mainly as side characters or love interests. Adrianne Palicki lassoed the starring role in a Wonder Woman television pilot, but the series never made it to air.

Wonder Woman fans have been clamoring for the Amazon warrior to get her own movie and join the ranks currently occupied by the likes of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. A fan-made trailer pitting Wonder Woman against the Nazis — her enemies of yore — received more than 250,000 views on Vimeo (check it out below).

What do you think? Is it time for Wonder Woman to get her own movie? Let us know in the comments.

— Noelene Clark | @NoeleneClark

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