Happy 80th birthday, Wonder Woman!

Yes, unbelievably, Wonder Woman is 80 today! Handy being immortal eh?

Strangely, nobody ever asked me why I wanted to write a play about a stunningly attractive Amazon Warrior Princess. I’m guessing they thought it was all to do with auditions. It wasn’t – honest. It was a newspaper article about a university lecturer who took up striptease that set me off! Things like that are always happening to me.

Yes, I had read Wonder Woman as a comic-loving boy, but not obsessively. And no, bondage subtexts never entered my pre-pubescent brain – never did Boy Scouts, never got the ‘Knots Badge’.

So what was my play: ‘Life and Times of a Wonder Woman’ all about? Well, I will let this rather lovely review from the New York Times explain:

August 26, 2004
She’s Oh So Wonderful and Proud of It

‘The Life and Times of a Wonder Woman’
Puffin Room
She’s superstrong, superquick, superbeautiful and supersmart with masses of jet-black hair, bright blue eyes and a body that would make a Trappist monk swear, as Wonder Woman herself tells us in this highly entertaining monologue by the English writer Terry Newman, a hit at last year’s Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. In cherry red boots, and killer bustier/hot pants outfit, the British performer Tara Hendry does the vixen superheroine justice as she relates in bawdy braggadocio Wonder Woman’s mighty Amazonian heritage, her Mount Olympus romps and more earthly pursuits, including bedding Superman (though Batman was better, she assures us). With her famous bracelets “that make short work of bullets” and her transformative twirl, Wonder Woman attempts to seduce members of the audience with her lusty tales and a magic lariat that makes it impossible for man or woman to resist the truth.
This multilayered, one-hour, one-woman show is an ingenious conceit, a way of talking about feminism, sexuality and society’s view of women, told through the history of a cultural icon who went from comic book character in 1941 to hit TV star in the 1970’s played by Lynda Carter. We learn about Wonder Woman’s creator Charles Moulton, a k a William Moulton Marston. We learn that he modeled Wonder Woman on his mistress, who had masses of jet black hair, wore large sterling silver cuff bracelets and was along with himself, quietly into bondage. Part history lesson, part feminist tract, all funny, this show begins and ends with a fictitious northerner from England, Susan, who becomes captivated by the TV Wonder Woman during Saturday teatime. At the end of the show, when the audience realizes what Susan has grown up to be, they just may rue the day that they, like Susan, ever stopped believing.

So, thank you ‘Wonder Woman’ and thank you Tara Hendry nee Paulsson and director Michael Eriera and all wonderful producers Emma Douglas and Damien Scully for making one writer/fan’s dreams a reality.

Published by


Author and scriptwriter, Terry Newman

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