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A Golden Thread - An Unofficial Critical History of Wonder Woman

A Golden Thread - An Unofficial Critical History of Wonder Woman [Kindle Edition]

Philip Sandifer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

For over seventy years Wonder Woman has been one of the most popular and recognized comic book characters in the world. Now, for the first time, A Golden Thread presents a detailed critical history of the character. From her origins as a World War II-era avatar of William Moulton Marston’s vision of a feminist bondage utopia to the present day, this book looks closely at seven decades of Wonder Woman comics alongside her appearances in television and film. Through her many highs and many lows, this book traces the unlikely story of the world’s most popular feminist character.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1625 KB
  • Print Length: 279 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1493566725
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Eruditorum Press (27 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G8U22UW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #251,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 22 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonder Woman - a feminist hero? I wondered about that, however when you dissect this wonderfully written tome you will come away with nothing but respect for (some) of the creators. Byrne and Deodato get a real grilling, which i a shame as I feel that although the Image like 90s artwork of Deodato virtually ruined poor ole Diana he has grown into an amazing artist - this was one of his first jobs after all!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Microhistory of a Comics Icon 21 Nov 2013
By Jed A Blue - Published on
I have been heavily influenced by Dr. Sandifer’s work; it would only be a slight overstatement to say that My Little Po-Mo is an outright ripoff of his TARDIS Eruditorum. So it should equally come as no surprise that I was quite excited by the prospect of a book by him at the intersection of two of my favorite topics, DC Comics and feminism. But A Golden Thread is not a feminist study of Wonder Woman per se; rather, much as TARDIS Eruditorum uses Doctor Who as a window through which to view British utopianism throughout its run, A Golden Thread uses Wonder Woman as a window onto the history of feminism in the U.S.

This is not, however, Themyscira Eruditorum; rather than in-depth analyses of individual Wonder Woman issues or story arcs, it takes a high-level look at different eras of the comic, studying how these eras respond to the issues of previous eras in ways that reflect or reject the feminist currents of the time. Of particular note are the early chapters on Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, which identify, and then explicitly avoid, the usual approach of identifying him as the sexually deviant inventor of the lie detector, as if that explains all that need be explained about Wonder Woman. Instead, the book explores his professional writings and other projects, building a case that Wonder Woman was simply the most successful of multiple attempts to express Marston’s peculiar brand of utopian, gender-essentialist feminism and his vision of a matriarchal society defined by willing, loving submission rather than coercive, forceful domination.

That this vision failed, while the comic based on it succeeded, is key to the book’s premise regarding feminism, that social progress is a matter of “making new mistakes.” For example, the chapter on the “I Ching” era of Wonder Woman, in which she was depowered, becomes a chronicle of the mistakes of second-wave feminism in general and Gloria Steinem in particular. The book never quite reaches for the claim, but the suggestion that the I Ching era was foreshadowing the third wave is an easy one for the reader to fill in.

Therein lies one of the major differences between this book and Dr. Sandifer’s other work: restraint. It is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, there is nothing in this book remotely as gloriously outré as the Blakean take on “The Three Doctors” in the third volume of TARDIS Eruditorum, let alone the Qabbalistic Tarot “Logopolis” Choose Your Own Adventure in the upcoming fourth volume. On the other, it is more accessible by far than TARDIS Eruditorum or especially The Last War in Albion, his ongoing study of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.

Which is not to say that the usual Sandifer flavor is absent! His distaste for organized fandom shows up strongly here, as he blames the emergence of such (probably deservedly) for the post-World War II decline of the comic. He also, as usual, does not shy away from mounting strong defenses of indefensible positions, in this case trying to argue that the animated Wonder Woman movie is inferior to the David Kelly-produced television pilot. His criticisms of the former are accurate and cutting—it is a far from perfect film—but he defends the latter against a strawman, ignoring the strongest criticism of the pilot, that it depicts Wonder Woman as a remorseless and unhesitating killer.

Nonetheless, the book stands as an excellent microhistory of Wonder Woman, accessible even to a reader who knows little of her comics (such as myself—I know her mostly through the DCAU, her appearances in crossovers, and the Gail Simone run), highly informative, and engaging. It is worth the price for the fresh take on Marston alone, but the rest of the book has much to offer as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! 27 Jan 2014
By Alphapenguin - Published on
A welcome addition to a woefully underserved field, and about a woefully underserved character to boot. I can't wait to see what he does next!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!! 17 Dec 2013
By Green Trilobite - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I completely enjoyed what was billed as "critical" take on my fav comics characters. The author gives a wonderful overview of WW covering all the ups and downs of her 70 year history!
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insights 7 April 2014
By Carissa Vezina - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I suspect few would agree with all of the criticism expressed within, Sandifer's willingness to criticize creators and plotlines that sometimes seem to border on "unimpeachable" is refreshing and worth the read. I especially enjoyed his views on the I Ching Era of Wonder Woman as I have often had my own issues with Gloria Steinem's specific criticisms.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get us out from under, Wonder Woman 14 Feb 2014
By Johnny Heering - Published on
Full disclosure: I was a Kickstarter supporter of this book. Anyway, this is a critical history of Wonder Woman, like the subtitle says. The author gives his opinions on the various eras of Wonder Woman comic books (and other media). I can't say whether or not I agree with his opinions or not, since I haven't read that many of the comics in question.
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