Little-known sci-fi fact: A fan poll helped get Wonder Woman in the JSA

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Sep 16, 2014, 6:26 PM EDT (Updated)

These days, when we talk about Wonder Woman, it's very often to lament the fact that, despite being the most famous female superhero ever and an American icon in her own right, she's received a fraction of the big-screen attention that her DC Trinity mates Batman and Superman have. In 2016, Wonder Woman will appear in a major motion picture for the very first time, but she'll have to do so in a film that doesn't feature her name in the title, and though we've now seen her in costume, we still don't know just how prominent her role will be. Actress Gal Gadot's contract with Warner Bros. Pictures does reportedly include a Wonder Woman solo film somewhere down the line, but for now fans are still just waiting for their favorite Amazon to get her due.

Look all over the Internet and you'll find plenty of very loud voices pushing for more Wonder Woman, but this groundswell of support for Diana isn't just a product of the web. It turns out the character wasn't even a year old when she got her first big show of popular support from fans.

After debuting in the pages of All Star Comics #8 in December 1941, Wonder Woman had enough popular support from readers that she was given the lead feature in Sensation Comics beginning in 1942, but publisher M.C. Gaines (who ran All-American Publications, the partner company to National Allied Publications, which would later become DC Comics) was also interested in getting the character to join the first superhero team ever, the Justice Society of America, which was then having its adventures in the pages of All Star Comics

According to a lengthy (and fascinating) Wonder Woman history just published in The New Yorker, Gaines put a questionnaire in the spring 1942 issue of All Star, asking fans whether Wonder Woman should join the team, which was then all-male.

“Should WONDER WOMAN be allowed, even though a woman, to become a member of the Justice Society?”

All-American received hundreds of responses from young readers, and the results were overwhelmingly in Wonder Woman's favor, as "twelve hundred and sixty-five boys and three hundred and thirty-three girls said yes; a hundred and ninety-seven boys, and just six girls, said no." So Wonder Woman became the first female JSA member, but as we've previously noted, when she first joined she was specifically designated by writer Gardner Fox as the group's secretary, and was left to mind the office while the rest of the team went off to fight evil. Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was reportedly not happy with the "secretary" designation, though he did get to carry on telling his own Wonder Woman stories in the pages of Sensation Comics

So the next time you hear someone ranting on about how Wonder Woman's really just a token hero for girls, or how she's never really caught on as a character, remind them that Diana's always had an army of fans -- including the boys -- at her back.

(Via The New Yorker)

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