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Welcome to the four hundred and seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and six. This week, did William Marston’s boss really have to order him to reduce the amount of times Wonder Woman was tied up with chains by 50%? Did DC Comics really try to stop a cricket company from trademarking the term “Batsman”? And who was the Peanuts character who was followed around by a cloud?
NOTE: Starting this week, the column will be on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: William Marston was specifically told in a memo to cut down on Wonder Woman being chained up by 50-75%.
As we all know by now, William Marston loved to put bondage in Wonder Woman comic books, specifically Wonder Woman being chained. This certainly had something to do with his personal life (read here for the tale of how his lover, Olive, led to the creation of Wonder Woman’s bracelets).
Looking just at the first few issues of Wonder Woman’s own title (as opposed to Sensation Comics), we have, as examples…
Two stories in the first issue…
Two in the second…
Shockingly, NONE in the third!
Luckily, to make up for that, THREE in the fourth…
and one in the fifth…
But it was almost certainly this one in Wonder Woman #6, along with the mask…
that led to a concerned reader writing in.
This, in turn, led to Max Gaines, head of All-American Comics (this was during the time when Wonder Woman was technically separate from DC Comics), had to write Marston a letter…
How awesome is that?
What’s especially hilarious is that they were fine with the BONDAGE, it was just the CHAINS that were at issue! I bet Dorothy Woolfolk (then Roubicek) almost preferred being killed off in a Wonder Woman story to having to research different “fun” ways for Wonder Woman to be tied up!
I wonder if she also had the thankless task of checking the percentages? “You’re one chained story over the limit! Dammit, Marston! Someone get H.G. Peter on the line to tell him to draw a rope, instead, dammit!”
Thanks to Dr. K for the scan (Dr. K has a great bit on what the dialogue must have been between Gaines and Roubicek when he asked her to come up with ways to tie women up) and thanks to Martin Pasko and the DC Vault for bringing this letter to the public!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to the William Marston and Wonder Woman!
Did William Moulton Marston begin having Wonder Woman exclaim “Suffering Sappho!” as a form of protest to Fredric Wertham?
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