From the first, the most vivid parent/child connection in super hero comics has been Queen Hippolyta to Wonder Woman. The mythological scholarship which William Moulton Marston poured into Wonder Woman's creation in 1941 all hinges on Hippolyta. If we take Hippolyta out of the mythology mash-up then Wonder Woman simply would not exist!However, most similar gimmicks in comics have a severely limited purpose:
The ancient wizard Shazam leads callow paperboy Billy Batson to the Rock of Eternity so that he can say one magic word; "Shazam!"; and become Captain Marvel, the world's mightiest mortal.
The Flying Graysons; John and Mary; include their young son, RIchard, in their death-defying trapeze act with Haly's Circus and are then killed by "Boss" Zucco over an extortion scheme.
Uncle Ben is murdered by the petty thief whom gangly Peter Parker had selfishly let escape from a robbery while he was trying to make money as a wrestler in his Spider-Man outfit.
Let's face it: comics are an Orphan's Paradise where parents and other authority figures routinely exist to spur on, to inspire, or to jumpstart greatness, but who are rarely around to help guide their children through the rough & tumble of being a hero day in, day out.
There are exceptions to this rule, but Hippolyta completely breaks the mold, so let's give girlfriend the hug that she deserves!
Hippolyta has actually BEEN Wonder Woman several times over the course of her daughter's career, which is kind of weird, but it speaks to her undeniable importance of all things Amazon.
Of course, Hippolyta oversaw the Amazon tournament which Diana won to become Wonder Woman in the first place. Hippolyta founded the Amazon people whom Diana is princess of. Wonder Woman's magic lasso was melted down from Hippolyta's legendary magic girdle, which was notoriously lent to Hercules for the 9th of his 12 labors.
It is with Hercules that Hippolyta is permanently tied to ancient mythology and upon which Marston extrapolated his interpretation of the Amazon race. Marston predicated the rise of the Amazons on Hippolyta having been assaulted by Hercules, blessed by Athena and then rewarded sanctuary for her kingdom with Paradise Island.
Marston then modified the ancient Pandora myth by having Hippolyta sculpt Diana out of clay, which was blessed with life and gifts from the gods, whom she raised as her daughter on Thymescira.
Marston basically took the attributes of Hercules and wedded them to the wisdom of Athena, along with the speed of Hermes and the charms of Aphrodite.
Marston originally intended for her to be called Suprema and to make her the female answer to Superman. By obscuring his original intent due to editorial input, Marston made a far more specific creation in Wonder Woman, which for a brief moment made her the best-selling super hero comic book in the world during WWII.
Hippolyta was central to Wonder Woman's wild success in those early days. The Amazons exist outside of time, and Marston always used them and Thymescira as a perfected society which Wonder Woman could return to whenever Man's World proved inadequate to her Utopian Ideals, sort of like a women-centric Mount Olympus.
Just consider how potent this Amazonian Utopia was to a nascent feminist by the name of Gloria Steinem, who went so far as to put Wonder Woman on the first cover of her Ms. Magazine in 1972, a remarkable 31 years after Wonder Woman's first appearance!
The more time and attention spent with the Amazons; and even with Hippolyta herself; the less benign they become, and the frankly psychotic implications of a closed-off warrior society such as theirs manifests itself in remarkable, widespread brutality.
However, these stories (most notably the AMAZONS ATTACK crossover in 2006) work completely against what Marston had clearly intended and to whom Wonder Woman obviously is as a person.
Wonder Woman is not a nut job and Hippolyta is not an insane mother. Hippolyta is One Bad Mother, however, that nobody can deny!
Hippolyta is not a perfect parent by any means, but she has had practically perfect moments as a super hero parent and that is what I am here to celebrate!
RETURN TO PARADISE ISLAND in issues 183-184 (Wonder Woman, 1st series, 1969) by Mike Sekowsky & Dick Giordano shows Diana returning home when Hippolyta is captured by Ares. Diana picks up her mother's sword and takes out evil Olympian gods: it's a great story!
This is the Hippolyta whose every breath is measured and ragged, who has been silenced by the dark desires of a merciless god, whose regal hand is tenderly held by her only child and who can hardly indicate what she would have her daughter do in this most tortured of circumstances.
Wonder Woman helplessly takes her mother's hand, not knowing if she should relent to the dangerous demands of Ares.
With the only strength left to her, Hippolyta squeezes, and Diana knows that she must not submit to the angry passions of Ares. Hippolyta wants Wonder Woman to rage, rage, RAGE against the darkness!
At her best, that is what Hippolyta means to me! Hola!