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The Not-So-Secret BDSM History Of Wonder Woman


Comic book stores are pulling out the stops for next weekend, offering any number of events and special issues to coincide with the premier of the new Wonder Woman feature film.

The things we do for this job. April and Coral get tied up in William Moulton Marston's classic Wonder Woman imagery.

The things we do for this job. April and Coral get tied up in William Moulton Marston’s classic Wonder Woman imagery.

Julia Oppenheimer/OPB

One store in Portland will peel back the curtain on Wonder Woman’s secret history as a bondage queen. (Come on. What did you think those bracelets and lasso were really about?)

Multi-disciplinary artist, comic book fan, and kink enthusiast Coral Mallow will give a lecture May 31 at the Portland comic book retailer Books With Pictures, covering some lesser-known facts about Wonder Woman’s character origins and history.

If you caught Jill Lepore’s 2014 book “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,”you’ll know where this is going, but if not, brace yourself. With straps. And possibly ropes.

Turns out, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was a man of broad-minded politics and wide-ranging tastes. A psychologist and inventor and avowed female supremacist whose claims to fame include the creation of the lie-detector test, Marston was very interested in the dominant and submissive currents in human sexuality.

An example of an early Wonder Woman panel incorporating William Moulton Marston's ideas about dominance and submission.

An example of an early Wonder Woman panel incorporating William Moulton Marston’s ideas about dominance and submission.

As he created Wonder Woman — a hero just as capable of solving disputes with compassion as with strength — he farmed in imagery and scenes that betrayed some of his interests. (When you start looking at the art in the old comics, it’s like Marston can hardly get through an issue without ladies tying up ladies.)

Click play on the player at the top of the article to hear Mallow tell more.

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