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William Moulton Marston

Psychologist, Feminist theorist, inventor and comic-strip writer, William Moulton Marston was born in Cliftondale, Massachusetts May 9, 1893. He obtained a law degree in 1918 and graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. in Psychology in 1921. After teaching at American University in Washington, D.C., Marston traveled to Universal Studios in California in 1929, where he spent a year as Director of Public Services.

Inventor of the systolic blood-pressure test (the basis of the polygraph, or 'lie detector'), Marston was also a writer of essays in popular psychology. His best known theory was that there is a male notion of freedom that is inherently anarchic and violent, and an opposing female notion based on 'Love Allure' which leads to an ideal state of submission to loving authority. His concerns about the effects of gender-stereotyping in popular culture were expressed in a 1943 article:

'Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power... The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.'

In 1940 Marston had become an educational consultant for Detective Comics (now DC Comics), the publisher of the "Batman", and "Superman" comics series. Max Gaines, then head of Detective Comics, encouraged Marston to create a female comic book hero, which Marston did under the pseudonym 'Charles Moulton'.

In December 1941, "Wonder Woman" made her debut in "All Star Comics" #8. The character's next appearance was in "Sensation Comics" #1 (January 1942), and six months later the character’s eponymous comic book began publication. Wonder Woman has been in print ever since. The stories were initially written by Marston and illustrated by artist Harry Peter.

During his life Marston had written many of articles and books on psychological topics, but his last 6 years of writing were devoted to his comics creation.

William Moulton Marston died of cancer May 2, 1947 in Rye, New York.

written by Andy Etris

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