Wonder Woman’s 10 Gayest Comic Book Moments

Many citizens of the United States are off of work today, which means many citizens of the United States will be flocking to movie theaters around the country to enjoy popcorn and air conditioning and a reprieve from the news. Some of those citizens might even be seeing Wonder Woman, a movie that just keeps on making money. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman, you should do that. If you have seen it, you should probably see it again.

In the meantime, on this day when people are waving around stars and stripes, perhaps you are interested in the queerest stars and stripes, the ones worn by Wonder Woman while she’s engaging in canonical bisexuality! Well, you’re in luck, my friends! Here are Our Lady of Perpetual Misandry’s 10 gayest comic book moments.

Wonder Woman Volume 3 #18, May 2008

In the lead up to the Proposition 8 vote in California, which ultimately stripped marriage equality from a state that had already signed it into law, Gail Simone was sneaking gay stuff into every comic book she was writing. Here Wonder Woman tells her boyfriend, Tom, she’s going to begin courting him in the traditional Amazon manner, which throws him for such a loop. Even more of a loop, in fact, than Wonder Woman later admitting she doesn’t love him while he’s being held hostage. “Does all this stuff count,” Tom whines, “with a guy involved?” It’s a common theme with all Wonder Woman’s boyfriends, their shock and dismay when they find out men are necessary for reproduction but not for pleasure.

Batwoman #17, February 2013

Batwoman #17 ends Batwoman and Wonder Woman’s tag-team adventure into Hades, and also it’s the beginning of Kate Kane’s engagement to Maggie Sawyer. (It also features the greatest splash page of modern comics, when Wonder Woman and Batwoman charge into battle together for the first time in history.) But the panel that shook my breath from my body was when Wonder Woman caressed Batwoman’s hair as she was saying goodbye to her. They bonded so much during their arc that Wonder Woman had a hard leaving. Touching someone’s hair like that is so intimate! You don’t just lovingly stroke your buddy’s hair! Diana knew it and so did Kate.

Sensation Comics #35, November 1944

Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, hardcore believed in the matriarchy, and he had a polyamorous relationship with several women (who were also in relationships with each other) throughout most of his life. They were all very into bondage. In the years when Marston was writing the comic, women on Themyscira were constantly tying each other up and spanking each other. “Bind me as tight as you can, girls, with the biggest ropes and chains you can find!” Wonder Woman exclaims in the early days of Sensation Comics. In this panel from 1944, Wonder Woman expresses a sentiment she returns to again and again: Tying up other women isn’t meant to cause pain or shame; it’s all about safety and careful control. She calls this one “the kitten hold.”

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1, April 2016

If Wonder Woman’s feminism irked conservatives, Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls’ brash and unapologetic sexuality drove them absolutely bonkers. At least Wonder Woman usually had a chaste man chasing after her. In 1954, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent, in which he tried to prove that reading comics led to juvenile delinquency. Wertham was hysterical over the Holliday Girls. “The homosexual connotation of the Wonder Woman type of story is psychologically unmistakable!” he screeched. “Her followers are the ‘Holliday Girls’ i.e. the holiday girls, the gay party girls, the gay girls. Wonder Woman refers to them as ‘my girls.'” She sure does! Etta Candy is always a delight. In Earth One she follows up this revelation by saying, “Count me in!”

Sensation Comics #19, July 1942

When Wonder Woman’s bracelets were ripped off in Sensation Comics #19, the bloodlust of men and the man’s world got her and she went a little berserk. Luckily her gal pal Paula from Themyscira was on hand to call her back to herself and bind her with love and compassion. “Easy darling, it’s your Paula,” she says. “Stop this mad orgy of strength. Relax! I command you!” Wonder Woman immediately calms down and cries out thanks to Aphrodite.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, Chapter 48, August 2015

This issue of Sensation Comics landed just two weeks after SCOTUS made marriage equality the law of the land in the United States. Writer and illustrator Jason Badower explained to critics that Wonder Woman was the best candidate in the DCU to officiate lesbian weddings because hello she learned it from her own mother. How many marriages between two women do you think Hippolyta officiated in her lifetime? Probably a million.

“I saw this Wonder Woman story as an incredible opportunity to have one of the most recognizable, iconic characters in the world to be among the first to step forward and officially endorse this new law,” he said. “But I thought, let’s not just have Wonder Woman embrace this new law, let’s have her celebrate it.”

Wonder Woman Vol 2 #197, December 2003

Before Greg Rucka pulled Batwoman out of the closet and wrote one of the greatest queer arcs in comic books history by making Rene Montoya gay, he let the world know Wonder Woman was tired of everyone’s damn heteronormativity.

Wonder Woman #2, September 2016

Rucka’s return! In the lead up to Steve Trevor and Diana Prince meeting each other in the The New 52, we see their lives interspersed. Steve is a soldier who’s happy to be his best friend’s best man at his wedding because Steve Trevor loves love. Diana is training with all women all the time on Paradise Island and sleeping with too many for her friends to keep count. Sofia, Meghara, Evrayle. “I get lucky a lot,” is a thing she says before skinny dipping in a pond and driving all the other sunbathing women mad with lust.

Justice League Task Force Vol 1 #8, January 1994

This page from Peter David’s Justice League run was scandalous at the time it was released. 1994 was the year the Moral Majority decided to go all in on scapegoating gay people in tandem with the Republican Party, two entire years before Ellen came out. Kerry Weaver from ER and Carol and Susan from Friends were the only gay women on TV. It was a big deal. Also a big deal: The way she sips her wine when she says, “We don’t call it ‘Paradise Island’ for nothing.”

Wonder Woman #32, June 1948

In the Golden Age, Wonder Woman was constantly telling women not to marry men or be beholden to them in any way. And she was constantly turning down Steve Trevor’s marriage proposals. It was (and remains!) revolutionary that Steve was a gender-flipped damsel in distress, constantly pining after Wonder Woman and begging her to be his wife. At one point she tells him she’ll marry him “when evil and injustice vanish from the earth.” So, you know, never.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. These are all FANTASTICALLY GAY.

    Also, since seeing Wonder Woman I’ve wanted to get into the comics (I’ve never read DC anything) but have no idea where to start. Anyone have any recommendations?

    • I’m by no means an expert, but I really enjoyed Wonder Woman: Earth One. Wonder Woman’s queerness and kinkiness are amplified, the artwork is beautiful and lush, and her sidekick Etta Candy was modelled on Beth Ditto for this book. There’s a rich tapestry to choose from above, though!

    • The Chris Claremont run of X-Men, or at least from the start of the “new team” (names you’d recognize like Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler) through to Days of Future Past. You can get many of those classic stories in bound volumes to save you from having to chase down individual issues. You might even be able to find them at your local library!

      • Awesome, thank you! I am very new to comics in general (aside from webcomics all I’ve read are the canon Buffy comics, The Walking Dead, and I just started WicDiv) but I loved Logan so I think it’s about time I got into X-Men comics!

    • DC just restarted WW (again) and it’s probably my favorite WW run and is a great starting point. It’s written by Greg Rucka (of Batwoman fame.) DC is releasing a WW comic every two weeks–Week 1 is the story arc happening now and week two jumps back in time to explain how Diana met Steve, left the Island, first started fighting evil, etc.

      I’d start with “Year One” arc which is the modern retelling of her origin story. If you like that, try Rucka’s older stand-alone story “The Hikatea”–WW takes on Batman and it’s beautiful and heartbreaking. Then move on to “Rebirth” which is the current WW series that runs in conjunction with Year One.

      “A League of One” is a nice Justice League story that is WW focused. And for non-WW comics, definitely pick up Rucka’s “Batwoman: Elegy.” It’s my all time favorite comic.

      • Bless this comment. I walk past a gigantic comic book shop every day on my way to work – I think I’ll treat myself on Friday and pick up Wonder Woman: Year One! Thank you for things to follow up with that as well, much appreciated <3

    • I can talk about this forever. But I should note that the Drawn to Comics column has a lot of recommendations too (and a lot of the same ones I would make personally). Also check out the awesome recs here! Rae focuses a lot on non-big two titles, and their taste is absolutely fantastic. https://www.genretastic.com/blog/author/Rae-Sterling

      I don’t read DC, but I know that the recent run of Batgirl and Marguerite Bennet’s Bombshells are really well regarded/ quite queer.

      On the Marvel side, check out Kelly Sue Deconnick’s run on Captain Marvel (starts in 2012). Ms. Marvel is one of the best things in any genre to come out in the last decade. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers is 5000% kinds of wonderful and literally full of queer characters. Roxane Gay’s World of Wakanda is about female, queer characters adjacent to Black Panther (so it’s all afrofuturism and awesomeness). If you don’t want to read single issues, keep an eye out in the next couple of months for the first volume of America. She’s a superpowered interdimensional queer Latina. It’s written by Gabby Rivera and it is hands down the best thing i have read all year.

      Also, in silly delightfulness, check out the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, written by Ryan North, drawn by Erika Henderson. Squirrel Girl is clever, witty, loves her (really awesome) friends (one of whom is trans) talks to squirrels, usually solves problems by talking to people and reaching compromises, has beaten literally all of the major villains in the universe, kicks butts and eats nuts. And the art is FANTASTIC, there’s endless meta jokes, and it’s pretty much the happiest thing ever.

      And pretty much any of the runs on Hawkeye from Matt Fraction’s on are various types of fantastic. I love Fraction’s (22 issue) arc – it’s got some amazing storytelling, from an issue done from the perspective of a dog, to another issue presented from the viewpoint of a Deaf character. There are two different Hawkeyes – Clint Barton, who you’d probably recognize from the Avengers, and Kate Bishop, who took on the name with the Young Avengers. They’re pals (no romantic stuff – that would be creepy. it’s more a sibling relationship. Kate’s also America’s best friend.) They’re BOTH the focus of Fraction’s run, and really get equal attention. Same in Lemire’s (All-New) Hawkeye arcs that are up next.

      The latest comic to bear the Hawkeye title, though, is just about Kate, and it’s also all kinds of wonderful. I read it a couple of weeks ago having a bad day, and I spent the whole time giggling happily.

      In non-DC/non-Marvel: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet. So, so wonderful. I also like Fraction’s ODY-C and Gillen and McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine (you’ll notice i tend to follow my favorite authors around wherever I go). All of these focus on female characters, many or most of whom are queer. ODY-C is a gender bent version of the Odyssey, in space; WicDiv is about musician/gods who are reincarnated roughly every 90 years.

      Bitch Planet picks apart the visual language of exploitation films, telling the story of women, mostly of color, who are imprisoned for being “Non Compliant” in the ultra patriarchal society they live in. I literally have a tattoo related to this comic; it’s that important.

      • So many amazing recommendations! Thank you so much, I definitely have a lot of comics I need to be checking out!!

    • Greg Rucka “Wonder Woman, Vol. 1” is a good place to start – lots of quality story for a reasonable price.

    • I had no idea where to start either. So I recently started the new 52 of Batwoman.

  2. Ok, there needs to be some sort of Netflix six part series about the writer of Wonderwoman and his relationships. Juxtaposed with comic book scenes and I am sure it would be a hit.

  3. This article is a gift, and also a gateway drug to all the various iterations of Wonder Woman in the comics I haven’t read yet. Thank you!

  4. Wait, so um, you DON’T lovingly stroke your buddy’s hair? Uh oh…I got some splainin’ to do!

    I never much cared for Wonder Woman (or DC in general aside from Batman), but the recent movie was pretty cool and I might give her a chance. Then again, I’m mostly engrossed in X-Men Gold and trying not to let my monthly comics purchases proliferate (I’m up to getting All-New Wolverine, Walking Dead, World War Tank Girl, and the occasional Rick and Morty). I love that Kitty Pryde finally got her chance to lead a team, and I hold out hope that Kitty and Rachel get together now that they’re both on the Gold team, or at least that Kitty can date someone not named Peter for a change. Chris Claremont told me that in X-Men: The End, which he wrote, when Kitty is President and her children come in, the fact that one of them has red hair is supposed to indicate that her spouse is Rachel. Sometimes I wonder if every single female character CC wrote isn’t bisexual.

    I’m going to spend my Fourth missing the aforementioned buddy and not stroking her hair, I guess.

  5. Can we make “bisexual-est” a thing, please?
    (Side note: Yes, “gayest” will get you more searches, but do clicks count more than the search terms some of us need? For example, when I’m looking up queer travel guides outside Autostraddle for “what venues are friendly to queer folks, especially bisexuals and nonbinary folks” all I get is “gay guide to Touristville, don’t worry, if you’re a gay cis white man, the cis gay white locals will love you!” which tells me nothing. Let bi folks have our headlines, please.)

    Telling a new monosexual partner, especially cishet guy, that you’re going to court him in the manner of your people is the most A+ thing ever.

  6. There is a wonderful lecture by Boston Blake on the late/post WWII feminist origins of Wonder Woman and the specific message that women are strong, independent, capable, and powerful.

    The A/V isn’t the best, but it’s interesting nonetheless: https://youtu.be/lHyzXXiusfE

  7. So, can I just send my credit card bill to you Heather, because now I want to buy EVERY WONDER WOMAN COMIC EVER MADE! Great article! I must say, this site is making a pretty sickly week, pretty awesome! Thanks!

  8. My favorite thing about golden age Wonder Woman is that her arch nemesis (Paula) reformed because of Wonder Woman and became her girlfriend.

  9. Phew, that was complicated to get an account. Is it just me or can’t I post replies anymore without having an account on your website?

    Loved the article btw :)
    I remember reading some late 70s/early 80s WW comics and they were already pretty feminist with hints of lesbianism ^^

  10. In DC Bombshells (a wonderful and very queer series), Mera tells Steve that she was Diana’s first kiss.

  11. What a wonderful article! Make me want to go and get all the WW comic books now.

    Though I have read some obscure comic books growing up, I have not read one WW comic (the reason could be that it was not available where I lived then). The initial series is brilliant.

  12. What a wonderful article! Makes me want to go and get all the WW comic books now.

    Though I have read some obscure comic books growing up, I have not read one WW comic (the reason could be that it was not available where I lived then) thus far. The initial series does seem brilliant.

  13. Great article. Haven’t seen a movie in six months, but you’re convincing me!

    WW is cannon bisexual, tho. In my mind, calling her gay feels equally reductionistic as calling her straight.

  14. Someone needs to go back in time and tell my “straight” self that friends don’t lovingly stroke one another’s hair.

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