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A 1980s comic book reboot saved Wonder Woman from obscurity

Gal Gadot stars in the new
Gal Gadot stars in the new "Wonder Woman" film.
Clay Enos

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Wonder Woman makes her big screen debut this weekend. The DC Comics superhero was created in 1941 by writer William Moulton Marston and artist Harry Peter.

Apart from Wonder Woman’s adventures on comic book pages, she’s probably best known from the late 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter.

But the character’s real renaissance came in the mid-1980s when DC Comics rebooted several of their characters, including the two other members of the company's trinity — Superman and Batman.

The writer and artist tasked with revamping Wonder Woman was George Pérez:

Abraham Riesman, a staff culture writer for New York Magazine and, recently wrote about how Pérez transformed the Wonder Woman character and how some of his ideas ended up in the new movie.

Before Pérez got his hands on the character, Riesman says, Wonder Woman was at risk of fading into obscurity.

She had been "kind of like a female Superman at times — just sort of this embodiment of good who did superhero things and didn't have any particular interesting contours to her character." Or sometimes she was depicted as a Batman-type character who "would lose her powers and just sort of be a super spy."

But at Pérez's direction, Riesman says, Wonder Woman "became this larger-than-life, fascinating kind of ambassador from this paradise called Themyscira. And his stories remain as thrilling today as they were back then."

To hear the full interview with Abraham Riesman, click the blue player above.

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