If, like us, after seeing Wonder Woman you’d pray to the entire pantheon on Olympus to be watching Wonder Woman 2: Wonder Harder right now, we’ve got the next best thing while you wait for the sequel: the most outstanding comics to dive into starring everyone’s favorite Amazon warrior princess.
We’re going to split our recommendations into two categories: origin stories, perfect jumping on points that will let you see the earliest days of Diana’s journey just like you saw on screen; and essential arcs, standalone collections and storylines that highlight a particular creative team or version of Diana that represents the very best of Wonder Woman as a hero. So without further ado, here are our picks—although, unfortunately for some, the 12 volumes of Cleo’s treatises on body and pleasure will not be found here.
The original Wonder Woman comics from her debut are strange, charming, and often incredibly weird. But if you want insight into what William Moulton Marston was doing when he first created Diana, then this collection of her earliest appearances in comics 75 years ago is worth a nostalgic look back at the birth of an icon. (William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter, cover by Darwyn Cooke)
This recent graphic novel offers a very different angle on Diana’s origins, re-imagining a young Diana as bursting with passion and energy... and not always in good ways. Charting her journey from a powerful and at times arrogant young woman into the hero the world beyond Paradise Island knows her as, Jill Thompson’s tale isn’t about a Diana born with the humility and compassion we love her for, but one who comes to learn those traits to become a true hero. (Jill Thompson and Jason Arthur)
An excellent digital series that was recently canceled, this slow-burning dive into Diana’s early years follows her from childhood to being a young woman thrust out into the world of Man, and then becoming Wonder Woman. It also takes the time to explore Themiscyra and Amazon culture as well as Diana’s relationship with her mother, so if you wanted to spend more time in the Wonder Woman movie’s first act, this is the series for you. (Renae de Liz and Ray Dillon)
If you liked the warrior side of Diana shown in the movie, the New 52 reboot of the character—several elements of which were used for the movie’s backstory, like Diana’s familial link to the gods—is a great place to start for some kick-ass action. However, this reboot also has a more controversial version of Amazon society and how it is built than many other interpretations of Wonder Woman’s past, which makes it a divisive recommendation—but it inarguably has some truly stunning artwork and a fascinatingly written version of Diana herself, even as her Amazon sisters get the short shrift. (Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang)
For many, the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths take on Wonder Woman is the definitive version of the character, one that builds upon the connections between the Greek pantheon of gods and Diana’s powers and gear to make her more powerful and more mythological than ever. This volume in particular contains the two iconic first stories in Perez, Wein, and Potter’s seminal run on the character, Gods and Mortals and Challenge of the Gods, arcs that cover not just Diana battling Ares, but also an interlude involving one of her most famous foes, Cheetah. This is the gold standard everyone holds great Wonder Woman stories by. (George Perez, Len Wein, and Greg Potter)
Another story for those enchanted by the Amazons in Wonder Woman’s first act, this story—written by Gail Simone, one of the most lauded writers of Diana around—doesn’t just deliver an excellent, nuanced, and powerfully diplomatic take on Wonder Woman, but a deep and engaging grasp on the roots of Amazon society. Simone is less interested in telling a story of how the Amazons came to be, and more on crafting one that focuses on the complex range of emotions that are at play in a society of powerful, loving women, and their response to Diana’s existence. It’s hard to come by on its own, but it is worth hunting down. (Gail Simone, Terry Dodson, Bernard Chang)
These two collections are actually the opening salvos of Greg Rucka’s soon-to-be-concluded second run on Diana, kicked off as part of DC’s Rebirth roster update. After a few years of Wonder Woman taking a back seat in comparison to her fellow heroes, the Rebirth run balances a wild, intriguing quest for Diana—a metatextual jaunt that takes into account the fact that her origins have been tweaked and reworked so many times over the years that she despairingly has no idea what the real truth is—with another exploration of Diana’s early years, focusing on her overwhelming belief in love, empathy, and compassion. Rucka writes a fascinatingly tragic version of Cheetah in this series too, one that further cements her as an essential character we’d love to see in the movie’s sequel. (Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott)
Although this is a JLA story, it’s one that shines a spotlight on Diana, creating an interesting scenario where she receives a troubling vision from the Oracle of the Justice League’s death fighting a seemingly unstoppable foe. Not only do you get to see Diana face that foe alone in a humongous, amazing battle, but you also get to see her kick the snot out of her fellow League members... as a kindness, of course, incapacitating them so that only she can face the unkind fate predicted for them. It’s a mix of Diana’s deep caring for her friends and allies and the sheer joy of watching her kick all their butts, too. (Christopher Moeller)
This utterly fabulous anthology series embraces the fact that there have been so many versions of Diana over the past seven and a half decades of comic storytelling to tell a series of standalone stories offering wildly different versions of the hero, yet all managing to feel like quintessentially Wonder Woman stories. Some focus on the underlying elements of bondage and female strength from Marston’s original work, some on Diana’s power as a feminist icon, others her warrior strength—but in the end, every story comes around to proudly championing the love, hope, and compassion that make Wonder Woman one of the all time greats. (Various Writers and Artists, including Gail Simone, Amanda Deibert, Alex De Campi, Ivan Cohen, Sean E. Williams, Amy Chu, Marcus To, Jamal Igle, Marguerite Sauvage, Amy Mebberson, Gilbert Hernandez, Tom Lyle, Cat Staggs, and many more)
Written before Greg Rucka would take on the Wonder Woman series and become one of its most prolific writers, this standalone graphic novel strikes at the heart of Diana’s duality, pitting her in a moral dilemma that asks her to either stand fast to an Amazon oath of protection or side with justice and order alongside her heroic allies. That’s the intellectual response out of the way: it also features the most rad moment of Wonder Woman thoroughly and utterly destroying Batman that’s so cool it will either make you punch the air with glee or suddenly be very afraid of Diana’s mighty prowess. (Greg Rucka, J.G. Jones, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Dave Stewart)
The culmination of Gail Simone’s landmark run on Wonder Woman, this finale story might seem like an odd recommendation—and the rest of Simone’s run is definitely worth checking out if you want more—but in wrapping up her time on the series Simone deftly and defiantly solidified a run-long debate around resolving the warrior and diplomat sides of Diana as a character. By putting Wonder Woman up against enemies that exploited and reflected the darkest parts of Diana and the Amazons, this series was a celebration of the fact that Wonder Woman as a hero is always willing to fight to protect everything she holds dear—but is forever willing to turn the other cheek and offer a hand in aid, even to her most dangerous enemies. (Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Fernando Dagnino)
If you’ve got young children who loved the movie but maybe aren’t quite ready to read the sort of material recommended above (although out of those, something like Sensation Comics might be an ideal choice for younger readers), this wonderfully charming kids’ series—which follows a group of teenaged versions of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and other female DC heroes at a superhero high school—is a great entry point to the world of Wonder Woman comics. It might be an ensemble piece, but Diana is definitely the leader of the cast, and for adults who read it and have fun, series writer Shea Fontana is preparing to take over the current ongoing Wonder Woman: Rebirth comic, so that’s something to look forward to. (Shea Fontana, Yancey Labat)
If you found yourself subconsciously whistling the classic TV show theme while watching the movie, this series set in the world of Lynda Carter’s iconic take on Diana is right up your street. It’s a loving homage to the camp and joy of the beloved TV series, while also pushing the show’s world in new directions, introducing stylized takes on villains that never showed up in the series from Diana’s roster of rogues. Utterly charming and full of retro cheese. (Marc Andreyko, Drew Johnson, Matt Haley, Richard Ortiz, Jason Badower, and Cat Staggs)
There are a lot of comics I’ve recommended above, and even if you’re ravenous for more Wonder Woman, it might be more than a little intimidating to find something to start with. So, rather perfectly, there’s the ultimate starter kit for anyone who wants to get a flavor of Wonder Woman’s long history. Released late last year to mark Diana’s 75th birthday, this graphic novel collects some landmark stories from across Diana’s history—including some of the recommendations above. It’s got:
- Gods and Mortals from George Perez, Len Wein, and Greg Potter
- Down to Earth from Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson
- The Circle, from Gail Simone and Bernard Chang
- Blood, from Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
Although it doesn’t delve into Diana’s history from before Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s definitely the best way to get on board with Wonder Woman comics, before you expand into the larger list of recommendations here.