Introducing: Wonder Woman
While much — if not all — of what we know of Diana of Themyscira’s personality and background came from Marston, the professor was unusually loose with his instructions to Peter on how their superhero should look. The only guide Peter was given was “to draw a woman as powerful as Superman, as sexy as Miss Fury, as scantily clad as Sheena the Jungle Queen, and as patriotic as Captain America” and aside from a small change here or there, Peter knocked it out of the park in his first try. The very earliest known design of Wonder Woman is instantly iconic and instantly recognizable, and that was all down to Peter.
Following the success of Wonder Woman, Marston opened the Marston Art Studio in Manhattan, with HG Peter working just one floor above his collaborator. The Marston Art Studio provided opportunities for women in the industry to work on superhero comics, and Peter employed a number of assistants to help with background art and inking, while colors were provided by watercolor artist Helen Schepens-Kraus and Marston’s daughter-in-law Louise assisted with lettering.
William Moulton Marston passed away in 1947, but HG Peter continued to draw Wonder Woman for just over a decade until his own death in 1958. During his time with the character, HG Peter co-created Wonder Woman herself, Hippolyta, Etta Candy and the Holiday Girls, Steve Trevor, The Cheetah, Ares, Doctor Pycho, Baroness Paula Von Gunther and many more. Without his contributions to the character and franchise, both with and without his collaborations with Marston, Wonder Woman simply would not be the character we know her to be today and the shape of modern comics would be vastly different.
Credit Where Credit is Due
It wasn’t that long ago that Bill Finger’s name was absent from all forms of Batman-related media, and the idea that the writer’s contributions would ever be acknowledged officially by DC Comics was inconceivable. But thanks to a fan campaign led by writer Marc Tyler Nobleman — alongside his biography Bill The Boy Wonder — DC eventually acknowledged Finger’s contributions to Batman, although he’s listed as “Bob Kane with Bill Finger” rather than “Bob Kane and Bill Finger” (Bill Finger with Bob Kane would be more accurate, but sometimes in comics you have to take the victories where you can.
DC generally do a stellar job of crediting creators these days. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are credited as creating Superman, but even those comics come with a note that says “by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family” which is the result of a number of lawsuits. Even newer creations such as Bane and Deathstroke now carry creator credit when they appear in a comic and DC reportedly has an excellent system put into place by Paul Levitz during his time as president and publisher of DC Comics.
HG Peter is a name that people deserve to know, but it isn’t on any modern Wonder Woman comics and he isn’t even represented as a character in the upcoming Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. The recent Wonder Woman feature offers "Special Thanks" to George Perez, Robert Kanigher, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang among others, even James Bonny and Tony S. Daniel who created the Godkiller sword in Deathstroke, but no mention of Harry George Peter. It’s past time that the comic book industry paid respect to one of the creators of the most iconic female character of the twentieth century and add Peter’s name to the credits of any Wonder Woman media that also credits Marston. It’s literally the least DC could do.