This year has been a phenomenal year for Wonder Woman. The iconic Amazon has risen to new heights of popularity thanks to the instant-classic story told by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott and Bilquis Evely as part of DC Rebirth, a blockbuster feature film which blew the doors off even the wildest of expectations, and a new biopic chronicling the life and times of Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston, his wife Elizabeth and their lover Olive.
However, among all those works there’s one name that you won’t see: Harry George Peter, the artist who helped bring Wonder Woman to life along with Marston in the page of 1941’s All-Star Comics #8.
More often than not, comic books are a collaborative format, and everyone deserves credit for their role in that collaboration. The history of comics as an industry is riddled with horror stories of creators being mistreated by publishers when it comes to work-for-hire projects, but recent years has seen those same publishers attempt to make amends. HG Peter created Wonder Woman as much as William Moulton Marston did, and he deserves to be credited for that right alongside his collaborator.
Harry George Peter — or HG Peter as he was credited — was born in 1880 in San Rafael, California as the youngest of three children to French parents, Louis and Louisa. His career in comics started as the nineteenth century became the twentieth, as he produced comic strips for the local newspaper, the San Francisco Bulletin. It was there that he met fellow cartoonist Adonica Fulton and they became partners, both romantically and professionally. The couple moved to New York City in 1907 and married in 1912. Together, they collaborated on illustration work for a number of magazines such as The New York American, inspired by the work of Charles Dana Gibson.
While many know that Wonder Woman was influenced by William Moulton Marston’s strong views concerning women’s liberation and empowerment, HG Peter was just as dedicated to the cause. Over the course of five years, he provided many different illustrations for a regular editorial in Judge magazine called “The Modern Woman” which advocated for women’s suffrage and ran from 1912 to 1917, several years before the implementation of the 19th Amendment which allowed (white) women to vote.
By the comic book boom of the 1940s, HG Peter was already a veteran of illustration and began working on a number of different titles for different publishers, including the obscure superhero Man O'Metal in Reg'lar Fellers Heroic Comics and a comic book adaptation of the life of U.S. general George C. Marshall in the pages of True Comics. In 1941, HG Peter teamed up with psychologist William Moulton Marston to create Wonder Woman, one of the most iconic comic book characters of all-time.