All of us at DC were deeply saddened to learn that trailblazing writer Joye Hummel has passed away. As the first woman to write Wonder Woman, Hummel left a lasting imprint on the then-new character, helping to shape Diana into the hero she is today and inspiring hundreds of writers and artists who would follow in her footsteps.
Hummel’s time on Wonder Woman might not have been long, but it was formative. As a 19-year-old student at the Katharine Gibbs School in New York, Hummel’s answers on her psychology final so greatly impressed her professor—Wonder Woman creator William Marston—that he hired her as his assistant. Hummel wasn’t aware of Marston’s second career as a comic book creator at the time, but it wasn’t long before she was assisting her former professor with scripts and story ideas. When Marston contracted polio five months after Hummel started her work for him, she began taking on more scripting responsibilities on Wonder Woman, ultimately writing many published stories on her own.
None of the stories were published under her own name—all Wonder Woman comics of the time were attributed to Charles Moulton, a pseudonym Marston created for his comics work. Today, however, Hummel’s contributions are known and recognized. Her first solo story, “The Winged Maidens of Venus” in Wonder Woman #12, finds Diana seeking the help of some otherworldly winged warriors to prevent a third World War. Hummel would continue her work on Wonder Woman for three years, from 1944 through 1947, ultimately leaving the book after Marston’s death.
Joye Hummel would never work in comics again, instead marrying and raising three children before embarking on a later career as a stockbroker. Sadly, due to her lack of written credit, Hummel’s contributions were largely forgotten until around 2014 after she was interviewed by historian Jill Lepore for her book The Secret History of Wonder Woman. With her contributions gaining greater recognition, Hummel would go on to receive the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing at the 2018 Eisner Awards at the age of 94.
When Joye Hummel began her work on Wonder Woman in the Golden Age, the iconic character was extremely popular, appearing in four comic books and about to debut in a syndicated newspaper strip. In the decades since, Diana Prince has only become more beloved to generations of fans—a love that grew out of the pioneering early work on the character that Hummel was a crucial part of. We here at DC grieve the loss of this early trailblazer and send out our deepest condolences to her friends, family and anyone else her life may have touched.