Wn – Wz

Woden

See Odin.

 

Wonder Woman

A feminist icon since her star-spangled introduction in All-Star Comics #8 in 1941, Wonder Woman’s appearance in the early Golden Age of Comics made her the first prominent superheroine.  She was created by psychologist William Moulton Marston, somewhat as a reaction to the presence of prominent male superheroes, with the hope that the character could serve as an inspiration for young children, specifically female readers.  She became the lead character in Sensation Comics in 1941, and got her first solo book in 1942.

Wonder Woman’s true identity was Princess Diana of the immortal Amazons from Greek mythology, a race of women who lived free of men on Paradise Island (later dubbed Themyscira).  Her mother Hippolyta created Diana out of clay, and the Greek gods bestowed her with life, making her the only Amazon who was not conceived by a man.  After DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths, the character’s origin was slightly retold.  In this version, the Amazons were reincarnations of the souls of abused and murdered women from ancient days.  Wonder Woman had superhuman strength and speed, as well as her trademark bulletproof bracelets and Golden Lasso of Truth, which could force anyone captured by it to tell the truth.

When army pilot Steve Trevor crash-landed on the Amazons’ secluded island, Diana won the right to escort him back to America, and to make her people known to the world.  Diana’s infatuation with Steve persisted throughout the Golden Age and Silver Age of Comics versions of the character.  Her alter-ego Diana Prince was originally an army nurse (initially to be close to Steve), but quickly attained the rank of lieutenant in Army Intelligence.

In November 1960, Wonder Woman appeared in Justice League of America #1 as a founding member of the JLA.  This superhero era led by writer/editor Robert Kanigher didn’t last long, though. The character was mired in the storylines from the Golden Age and her attachment to Steve Trevor.  At the same time, characters across the DC lineup were being revitalized with a new focus on science fiction.  The Silver Age led to a number of DC characters being reinvented, but Wonder Woman’s character did not get a science fiction retelling in the 1950s and ‘60s.  This left the character somewhat mired in the past, and eventually it was decided that something would be done to break her free of it.  The decision was made that she would not have a science fiction background, as that would have been too much of a departure from her background as an Amazon, but that she would be slightly re-imagined as a martial arts-based character, more along the lines of Batman.  This would allow her to keep her somewhat unique background story, while also being more contemporary and popular.

The introduction of the DC multiverse made it possible for there to be two Wonder Women, the modern version on Earth 1 (our universe’s Earth), and the Golden Age version, alive and well on Earth 2.  With the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, to provide closure to the character which was destined for a reboot, Steve Trevor returned and, following the defense of Paradise Island from Shadow Demons, the two were finally married, though this continuity lasted less than an issue.  One development with the character in “The New 52” universe is that some of the developments which occurred during Flashpoint are occasionally referenced, such as her using London as her base of operations.  Another is that she is now depicted as the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus; no longer is she a golem of clay and earth, but an actual demigoddess.  Due to the character reboot following Crisis on Infinite Earths, numerous things no longer made sense in terms of continuity as it related to the remainder of the DC Universe.  As her first overall appearance was now in continuity around the Legends miniseries, it no longer made sense that she was a founding member of the Justice League of America.  This founding position was instead given retroactively to Black Canary.

The first animated version of Wonder Woman was seen in 1972 in an episode of the Brady Kids Saturday morning cartoon, but starting in 1973, she appeared as one of the main characters in Super Friends for a total of eight seasons.  In 1988, she appeared in one story in the Superman animated series.  She later became a major character in the DC Animated Universe in Justice League and its sequel series Justice League Unlimited.  In 1975, Wonder Woman appeared in a live-action TV series starring Lynda Carter. The series was a hit and ran until 1979, becoming a pop culture sensation in the process.  Today, the show is largely responsible for the public perception of the character.  In 2016, Gal Gadot portrayed Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was the character’s first appearance in a live-action feature film.  Gadot will reprise her role in the planned Justice League movie and in Wonder Woman (2017).

Wonder Woman’s assets include superhuman strength and speed, invulnerability/durability, healing factor, enhanced senses, martial combat.

 

Woodsball

The original form of paintball, which is played in a natural outdoor area, typically a forested or wooded area, where players can take advantage of the natural terrain for cover or strategic positioning.  There are a number of different rules and strategies in woodsball than in indoor paintball.

 

Woodstock

Debuting in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip on April 4, 1967, the little yellow sidekick of Snoopy wasn’t given a name until 1970, after the 1969 summer music festival near Woodstock, NY made such an impact on the culture of the day.  While his breed was never identified, Snoopy did wonder on several occasions what kind of bird Woodstock was, and had his friend attempt to imitate various bird types.  Readers did know that the bird was male, due simply to the pronouns used when referencing Woodstock.  Chirping in a language only Snoopy could understand, Woodstock and his feathered friends are never far from Snoopy’s doghouse.

 

Worf, Col.

The grandfather of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Lieutenant Worf (1987), Colonel Worf appeared in the motion picture Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country as Admiral James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy’s Klingon defense attorney.  Michael Dorn, who portrayed Lt. Worf, also portrayed his character’s grandfather.

 

Worf, Lt.

Born a son of Mogh on Earth date Dec. 9, 2340 on Qo’noS, homeworld of the Klingon Empire in the Star Trek universe, Worf was raised by foster parents Sergey and Helena Rozhenko.  He was the first Klingon accepted into Starfleet Academy, attending there 2357-61.  In 2364, as a lieutenant j.g. in Command division, Worf was assigned to the U.S.S. Enterprise as relief and tactical officer under Capt. Jean-Luc Picard; he was later made acting security chief.  The following year, he was promoted to lieutenant and named permanent security chief on the Starfleet flagship.  Only two years later, in 2367, Worf resigned his Starfleet commission to fight in the Klingon civil war, returning to serve the following year, when his commission was reactivated with no change in rank.  He was promoted in 2371 to lieutenant commander, then took a detached leave after the loss of Enterprise.  Worf transferred to command division for assignment on Deep Space Nine under Capt. Benjamin Sisko.  Worf took another detached leave in command from the U.S.S. Defiant in 2373 to assist the Enterprise crew repel a Borg temporal invasion.

During a mission to Gamma Quadrant, Worf was captured by the Dominion and held captive on Jem’Hadar internment camp, from which he mounted a successful escape.  He was assigned to serve aboard the I.K.S. Rotarran under the command of General Martok during the Dominion’s occupation of DS9.  Worf remained on DS9 under Capt. Sisko.  When he was dispatched on a mission to rendezvous with Cardassian operative/defector Glinn Lasaran, Worf abandoned this mission to save his wife, for which he received a serious reprimand in his otherwise exemplory service record.  He again served aboard the Defiant during the Chin’toka offensive.  In 2375, Worf commanded the U.S.S. Defiant for three months during Capt. Sisko’s absence, and served as first officer during a successful Klingon mission to destroy a Dominion shipyard at Monac.  Worf commanded the I.K.S. Koraga when it was ambushed by a Dominion patrol near Badlands, forcing evacuation; ultimately he was rescued by Ezri Dax, but then held for execution by the Dominion.  He was rescued by the Cardassian resistance.  In a challenge to the death, Worf defeated Klingon Chancellor Gowron, but rather than succeed him, Worf handed the chancellorship over to General Martok.  He next served as tactical officer back aboard the U.S.S. Defiant during the final battle of the Dominion war, after which he accepted the position of Federation Ambassador to Qo’noS, retiring from Starfleet a Lieutenant Commander.

Worf was widowed in 2374 after the death of Jadzia Dax, with whom he has one son: Alexander, born 2366.  On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the Next Generation theatrical films, Worf was portrayed by Michael Dorn.

 

“World of Warcrack”

Colloquial term for the online game World of Warcraft, in reference to the tendency of players to become obsessed with playing.

 

World of Warcraft

Dungeons, paladins, orcs, shamans, guilds, undead, warriors, elves, and goblins, among other races, creatures, settings and adventures, fill this online game’s world.  In this popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), which debuted on November 23, 2004 and boasts current subscribers of up to 12 million, new players create a character by choosing a race and a class.  In the persona of this new character, the player seeks out quests to undertake, which will lead them around the world of the game, where they will interact with other players’ characters, join alliances of players to undertake even bigger and bolder quests, and amass treasures.  Known among faithful players as “World of Warcrack,” in reference to an addictive drug, WoW has released six expansion packs since the game’s debut.  These expansion packs have since been folded into the original game, and the game inspired a major motion picture (2016’s Warcraft, also known as Warcraft: The Beginning).

 

World’s Finest

After the release of World’s Best Comics #1 in 1941, the title of the magazine became World’s Finest Comics beginning with issue #2, and featured superhero favorites Batman and Superman in every issue, although they did not have their first adventure together in the series until issue #71 in 1954.  In addition to Superman and Batman, the early issues of World’s Finest featured many other heroes from the Golden Age of Comics, including Sandman, Hop Harrigan, Dan the Dyna-mite, Crimson Avenger, Star Spangled Kid, Aquaman, Zatara, Tomahawk, Boy Commandos and Green Arrow.  From issue #71 onwards, the lead story would always feature a team-up between Superman and Batman, and this format was in place until issue #198, which saw the Man of Steel in a super-speed race against The Flash to try and establish just who was “The Fastest Man Alive.”

During their long unbroken stint of team-ups, the World’s Finest heroes (as they became known to regular readers of the magazine) would often be joined by Robin, Jimmy Olsen, Batwoman, Supergirl, and both versions of the Silver Age Batgirl, as they faced a rogues’ gallery of supervillains, including Lex Luthor, The Joker, Brainiac and The Penguin.  Carrying the byline “Your two favorite heroes in one magazine,” the popularity of World’s Finest, as well as other DC titles, spiked during the run of the 1960s TV show Batman.  With issue #198, DC began the experiment of teaming Superman with heroes other than Batman.  Despite the novelty and freedom this allowed the creators, and the fact that this meant the likes of Robin, Diana Prince, The Teen Titans and The Atom got extra exposure, the experiment was not well received by the readership, and after team-ups with the Caped Crusader in #207 and #211, the World’s Finest duo resumed their regular team-ups from #215 onwards.  The series introduced readers to “The Super Sons” of Superman and Batman in issue #221, an imaginary future, where the offspring of the heroes (Bruce Wayne Jr. and Clark Kent Jr.), presented as bored playboys, worked together in outfits identical to their fathers’ to fight crime.  This feature proved popular with the readership as the Super Sons made fairly frequent appearances for a while.

The series came to a close with issue #323, dated January 1986.  During their time in World’s Finest, Superman and Batman were always depicted as the best of friends, always seeing eye to eye and never having a disagreement.  In the world following Crisis on Infinite Earths, however, their relationship has sometimes been presented as strained (especially in the John Byrne time on Superman), and in other ways, it has clearly evolved.

 

Wormhole

A theoretical “shortcut” connection between widely separated regions of space-time (also known as the “folding” of space and time), as mathematically predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  What Einstein and Nathan Rosen referred to as “bridges” through space and time (which are also called “Einstein-Rosen bridges”) are made up of what are referred to as two “mouths” and one “throat.”  There are theories that some black holes are the mouths of such wormholes, though a black hole caused naturally by the collapse of a dying star would not necessarily create a wormhole.  Another theory is that wormholes were created naturally as part of the Big Bang, when the space-time of the entire universe was supposedly tangled up in a singularityPrimordial wormholes are predicted to exist on microscopic levels, but as the universe expands, it is possible that some may have been stretched to larger sizes.

According to Einstein-Rosen, if wormholes exist, they collapse quickly; however, more recent theories state that a wormhole containing “exotic” matter could stay open and unchanging for longer periods of time.  Exotic matter (not be confused with dark matter or antimatter), which has only been seen in the behavior of certain vacuum states as part of quantum field theory, contains negative energy density and strong negative pressure.  Whether occurring naturally or artificially, if a wormhole contained sufficient exotic matter, it could theoretically be used as a method of sending information or travelers through space.  The catch is that the addition of “regular” matter, such as a vessel or a human being, would be sufficient to destabilize the portal.

Also, even if they could be found, today’s technology is insufficient to enlarge or stabilize a wormhole.  Several problems emerge with the theoretic use of wormholes:

  1. Wormholes aren’t traversable (able to be crossed or traveled through), according to General Relativity, so the very theory that predicts the existence of wormholes prohibits them from being used as a method of transportation.
  2. Even if wormholes can be created, they would be completely unstable, collapsing instantly after their formation.
  3. Even if they were traversable and could be kept stable, the moment any material – even photons of light – tried to pass through, the effort would make them collapse.

Wormholes may not only connect two separate regions within the universe; some theorize that wormholes could also connect two different universes, although British cosmologist Stephen Hawking has argued that this is not possible.  Some scientists have conjectured that if one mouth of a wormhole is moved in a specific manner, it could allow for time travel – Go one direction and you move forward in time; go the other way and you move backward in time – but the reality of such travel is more complicated, and some physicists do not believe this would work.

Unfortunately, it seems wormholes will have to remain in the realm of science fiction for the foreseeable future.  In fact, all theories on wormholes will remain just that – theories – as long as one has yet to be spotted.

 

Wotan

See Odin.

 

Wow, What A Magazine!

Publishing only four issues between July and November 1936, the magazine printed works by Will Eisner and Bob Kane before the comic book format formally debuted.

 

Wozniak, Steve

The son of a Lockheed Martin engineer, Stephen Gary Wozniak, born on August 11, 1950, made electronics a big part of his life at an early age, with an aptitude for building working electronic components from scratch.  While attending the University of California – Berkeley, Wozniak met high school student Steve Jobs.  The two would later form Apple Computer on April 1, 1976, prompting Wozniak to quit his job at Hewlett-Packard.  Working out of a family garage, he and Jobs attempted to produce a user-friendly alternative to the International Business Machines (IBM) computers of that era.  Wozniak worked on the physical creation of their first computer, while Jobs concentrated on the marketing of the new product.  Wozniak soon put together the Apple I in Jobs’ bedroom and garage.  Wozniak went on to conceive the Apple II as part of the company’s personal computer series, and by 1983, Apple had a stock value of $985 million.

In February of 1981, Wozniak was injured when the private plane he was piloting crashed while taking off from the Santa Cruz Sky Park.  His recovery from various injuries and amnesia lasted two years, after which Wozniak went on to found numerous ventures, including CL 9, the company responsible for the first programmable universal remote control.  Wozniak ended his employment with Apple in 1985.  Called one of “Silicon Valley’s most creative engineers” in 1990, he joined Mitchell Kapor in establishing the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that provides legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution.  Wozniak also founded Wheels of Zeus (WoZ), a venture started with the aim of developing wireless global positioning system (GPS) technology, in 2002.  After WoZ closed in 2006, Wozniak published his autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It.  In 2008, he joined the Salt Lake City-based start-up Fusion-io as its chief scientist.

Wozniak is married to Apple education development executive Janet Hill.  He has made notable appearances on the reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.