The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore
$29.95 List Price
These days, comic-book enthusiasts are often portrayed as somber scholars, and feminists get caricatured as obsessive eccentrics—so it’s natural to wonder when, exactly, the world went topsy-turvy. A mere glance at photos of suffragettes marching proudly in the streets in 1917 can incite a feeling of liberation vertigo: Where did the last century go? Women’s rights entered a swirling comics-style time tunnel and emerged looking more like a fanatical hobby. Meanwhile, creating superheroes was transformed from a down-market, and definitely obsessive, side project into a handsomely rewarded higher calling.
The absurd degree to which gender typecasting can render a field either honorable or execrable, elevated or debased, turns out to be just one shade on the color wheel of disappointment that attends the history of
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