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Did the Creator of “Wonder Woman” Invent Anything Else?

Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics No. 8, published in October 1941. The female superhero was the brainchild of psychologist William Moulton Marston, writing under the pen name Charles Moulton. Illustrator Harry G. Peter gave her a golden tiara, a red bustier, blue shorts, and red knee-high boots. She’d go on to fight fascism with feminism in the pages of the era’s comic books, saving the world alongside Superman (who debuted in 1938) and Batman (1939). Marston led what he called “an experimental life” -- a life that included three degrees from Harvard, and work as a lawyer, scientist, professor, screenwriter, and novelist. A man with secrets of his own, Marston created the systolic blood pressure test, which became a key component in the modern polygraph test, sometimes used to determine if a person is telling the truth.

The truth about William Marston:

  • Marston’s alternative lifestyle included wife Elizabeth Holloway, and his live-in love interest, Olive Byrne. Both women had two children with Marston between 1928 and 1933.
  • Byrne was the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the early 20th century. Sanger and Olive’s mother, Ethel, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States.
  • In 1939, Marston wrote a magazine essay about “prejudices that hold you back,” including “prejudice against unconventional people and non-conformists.”
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