The Trouble With Wonder Woman is Complete Pants

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When it comes to Wonder Woman, the headlines suggest that we only seem to care about three things: what she’s wearing, what her latest TV attempt is wearing, and who she is banging. Basically, it’s all about her pants.

ww 19 01 The Trouble With Wonder Woman is Complete PantsThis week I sat down and caught up with Wonder Woman. She’s a character I’ve never quite got on with as well as I feel I should, her blankness never quite being filled despite tremendous efforts from Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, and more. Unlike Superman and Batman ,DC’s foremost female hero has no secret identity to ground her, no strong motivation to steer her path. And yet, just beyond tantalising reach is surely some of the greatest stories never told.

Issue #19, with it’s obligatory WTF cover, revealed Wonder Woman and Orion in a passionate clinch. The same Orion who has been a sexist jerk for the last few issues, smacked her on the ass, and calls her “Legs”. The same Wonder Woman who hit the comic headlines for getting passionate with Superman in another title, and who previously ventured into the mainstream news for daring to wear trousers. Briefly. Before it was changed.

Forgive me for being a tad frustrated with a Wonder Woman who is being reduced – in headlines at least – to ass slaps and snogs. The goddamn Batman doesn’t have to put up with this crap.

But what does Steve Trevor think?! Omg, omg, omg. I don’t care.

For comics that are mostly preoccupied with action and violence, fans are incredibly attached to certain romantic pairings – Lois and Clark, Peter and Mary Jane, Bruce and Dick… the New 52 separation of Lois and Clark in particular generated countless stories berating DC for their audacious move, and countless more when it transpired that Clark had moved his attentions to the otherworldly Wonder Woman. The cosmic kiss between Clark and Diana was shocking enough for many to choke on their cornflakes, and equally amusing for the readers of Wonder Woman’s own title, where no mention of Superman is to be found.

ww baby The Trouble With Wonder Woman is Complete Pants

j/k, lol!

Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman has been delighting many critics and providing solid sales figures throughout the run, as the title takes a more mythological take on the character rather than a traditional superhero angle. Many longtime fans have been disappointed with several story elements, in particular the change in Diana’s origin from a clay figure sculpted by Hippolyta and brought to life – an Amazon literally beholden to no man – to the natural daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus. In some ways this has dented Diana’s uniqueness, and certainly her removal from the influence of men on her life, and fans were further distressed by the revelation that Themyscira is populated only by women and girls due to the Amazons attacking ships of men, seducing the sailors before killing them, and finally by getting rid of the subsequent male babies (rescued by Hephaestus to work in his forge). All in all a far cry from an island on which Diana was a miracle baby.

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Hades, I am trusting you with these guns. Please do not be shooting me. Aww, FFS Hades!

The encroachment of men has been a common theme throughout the run, from Diana finding out her father is that mystical bearded wonder (Zeus, not Moore) to even her training as the best of the Amazons being now respun as thanks to a kindly man showing her the error of her womanly fighting ways. Said man is of course War himself, but still, the princess of the Amazons learning her skills from a male warrior rather than her sisters does take something away from Diana’s more powerful feminist origins. Look as well at the fate of Zola’s baby, a fate that both Zola and Diana try to control, yet ultimately the power is entirely in the hands of Hermes and War. All small things maybe, but together they do start to add up.

But what perhaps irked some fans the most, was that Diana was oblivious to all this. Wonder Woman had no clue that male babies were being spirited away, nor that she was in fact not made of clay on an island where girl babies were not uncommon. And the Amazons, often held up as feminist heroes by the fans, were in fact just man-murdering harpies. The lack of intelligence is not entirely unexpected; this is the same character that is duped several times, takes her eyes off the woman she is sworn to protect, and puts her trust in Hades. Alls well that ends well perhaps, but Zola’s trip to Hell was entirely avoidable.

ww amazons The Trouble With Wonder Woman is Complete Pants

Feminists, stealing and murdering men… we all knew it deep down.

The lack of character intelligence and development on Diana’s part is perhaps slightly understandable – Wonder Woman is now an ensemble book, built loosely around Diana but encompassing a large and varied cast. It’s notable that this is not something Bruce or Clark have to put up with, but it’s also worth noting that historically Wonder Woman has never been able to pull in the same kind of sales when focusing on her own superheroic exploits. Die hard fans may love the vintage Diana of old, but as the numerous failed plots to bring her to contemporary television or film show, she seemingly doesn’t have the same magnetism as her male counterparts.

Batman is an avatar of fear and the dark, his grim and gritty emo approach has a timeless appeal in our hyper-capitalist society. Superman struggles a little to be taken seriously, the all American boy scout suited better to the television soap opera, but is in line now to perhaps finally recapture his big screen glory. Wonder Woman remains most famous for her costume, as embodied (wonderfully) by Lynda Carter. Her efforts to appear in television more recently were judged on her costume before all else.

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She punched Green Lantern for way less than this…

Azzarello’s Wonder Woman has done little to actively try and grab sensationalist headlines… until now. The earlier controversy of the disappearing trousers long forgotten until next we attempt to put Diana in something other than a skirt – Orion cheerfully referring to her as “Legs” perhaps knowingly underscores this point. The hugely publicised kiss between Diana and Superman occurred over on the Justice League title, not Wonder Woman’s home ground where Clark is yet to step foot. (Her personality as written by Geoff Johns bears little relation to her Azzarello incarnation.) That kiss and the resulting hubbub did little to raise issue sales, but in keeping with DC’s now somewhat bizarre WTF exercise, Wonder Woman joins in the game by showing her in a lip lock with Orion, the same dude who has been referring to her by her lower appendages and slapping her ass in order to get her “DNA, Legs”. (Of course that may be another point in favour of Diana wearing trousers rather than panties…)

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So… is this after the punch?

So that kiss, wtf amirite? Huh? So yeah, it doesn’t happen. At least not like it shows on the cover. What the fake-out indeed. Turns out Diana just kisses him to distract him while she grabs his balls and threatens to pop them off unless he shows her some respect. Quite why the kiss is needed I’m not sure; we all know straight men are equally distracted by the sight of boobs in a bustier, and the goddamn Wonder Woman doesn’t even need that. But hey, it got us that attention grabbing cover, and afterwards Diana punches his lights out. Women, eh.

(Oh wait, there was also that weird cover on #12 that showed Wonder Woman and Apollo smooching… )

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Oh fine, we all know we’d tap that.

Unfortunately, it’s had a bit of a negative effect on fans already swithering over the book. A Diana who grabs attention by who she may or may not be banging is getting a bit old, and we can only assume that Lois Lane sympathises with her on that one (give me a Lois Lane comic written by Mindy Newell for the love of GOD people). At least the Wonder Woman title didn’t have that… until it did. Nevermind that we have no clue at all what this Diana is thinking about her situation and all the revelations – seriously, is she upset about finding out her father is Zeus and she has half a million siblings and also hasn’t spoken to anyone outside of this situation for nearly two years? Angry? Hysterical? Bit miffed?

Yet for all that I’m annoyed that Wonder Woman is now being defined by who she’s kissing/snogging/boning, a relationship between Kal and Diana is actually something I’m really interested to read about. From Diana’s perspective and from Kal’s, in their own comics. How it works when they’re busy in their own lives, handling their own very different adventures. But instead, Justice League is just, “yep they’re at it, no Lois Lane here!” which is hardly satisfying and makes the whole thing seem more about generating headlines about Superman and Wonder Woman for a mainstream press that are not sure why they’re interested.

Wonder Woman is a great comic. It’s a great horror comic, a great mythological comic, a great ensemble comic. There are gods and monsters, blood and guts, and one heck of a giant pokémon. But for many, it’s just not a great Wonder Woman comic. It’d pretty much work with any character in the central role, because the tension between her love of humanity and loyalty to her people is missing, as is any emotional fallout of her newly revised circumstances and history. It bears no relation to anything else going on in the DCU which is a) brilliant! but also b) isolating for Wonder Woman as a superhero as even her personality is distinct from her other appearances (see Diana giving Green Lantern a complete decking in contrast with this weeks light tap).

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Wonder Woman #12 – this also did not happen o_O

There have long been rumours that a second Wonder Woman monthly title is in the works, one which focuses more on her superhero persona and life among the muggles. Perhaps this will suit the longtime fans better, and would certainly allow people to enjoy Azzarello’s run regardless, though the cynical critic in me wonders if the sales will be sufficient to keep it going. A Wonder Woman comic that perhaps took the Morrison Action Comics approach but spread out longer might work well; introducing a Diana who is struggling to find her place on Earth and balancing her desire to bring truth and justice to the world with a dawning realisation that those closest to her are in danger. Certainly it will be interesting to see what Grant brings to the table with his Earth One version.

The real holy grail is still to be found – a Wonder Woman comic that really hits the high spots of character development, plot, superheroism, mythology and dramatic tension, in the same way that old pros Batman and Spider-Octopus (until recently) manage. Wonder Woman doesn’t have the same baggage as Superman, as despite also being invulnerable she doesn’t have to always be super good and she allows herself to make mistakes. She does share Bruce’s wealth, and would perhaps be intrigued by his methodology. Trying to live in a world she hasn’t grown up in is storyline gold, and making her an actual (pan?)sexual woman rather than mooning over the first man she meets would be terrific. (Would she even want to be monogamous?!) Her relationship with Kal could be wonderfully complex; two invincible people no longer having to worry about their lover getting hit by a bus, yet trying to work out a power balance that suits both of them (in the bedroom! Hurr hurr. Sorry).

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Coincidentally, also how a Batman/Wonder Woman comic would roll…

Personally, I am actually a fan of the very early Wonder Woman strips. Yes they were cheesy as hell, and yes the obsessive bondage was a bit much, but there was one thing she had that has never quite been recreated sufficiently: Etta Candy. For Diana to have Etta as her best friend was perfect. For Diana to be rescued by Etta and her Holliday girls was amazing. Etta Candy does not belong in Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, but she does belong with Diana. Diana is the impossible woman, breathtakingly beautiful and incredibly powerful. Etta is the real woman, her humanity and loyalty borne purely from love. Together they are complete, and neither are defined by what man (or woman) they may wish to boink.

 The Trouble With Wonder Woman is Complete Pants

Woo Woo!

In short then, give me an Etta Candy comic. Or, y’know, just a Wonder Woman comic where the focus is her actual character and personal progression, and she gets to wears all manner of pants, trousers and skirts, and bangs who she likes. Then I- I mean we, can read both!

But wait, I thought this was going to be about Wonder Woman’s pants or lack thereof? Possibly with jokes about silly UK people getting mixed up because pants mean panties and trousers mean pants. You can take Wonder Woman’s pants out of my cold dead hands! Wait… why do you have her pants? Because Wonder Woman’s pants = the most important thing about Wonder Woman? Sigh.

Comments

  1. traci says:

    Well done.

  2. This piece made me sad because it’s true. It also showed me a lot of narrative weaknesses in Azzarello’s version that I’d been brushing past, getting tired of the cutesy wordplay and the “who’s that?” game with characters (still not exactly sure who punked Poseidon). So, yeah, overall sad at the state of Themiscira’s Finest (or not so finest, as the cast may be).

  3. Steve Chaput says:

    I have to admit that I, like a lot of males it seems, have never been a big WW fan. Of course, watching Linda Carter in that outfit was a whole other story and at the just the right time for my teens.

    Except for an issue or two that tied into some ‘event’ I can’t recall reading WW on a regular basis since George Perez did his initial take on the character. His bringing in the Olympians was done brilliantly and you certainly can’t complain about his art on those issues. Good luck to those still reading the title and it really would be nice to see her respectfully done on either television or on the Big Screen.

  4. Great piece, Laura. I agree with some of your points but I am really enjoying Azzarello’s work on WW. I think the mythology take made more sense in regards to her origin. Obviously, it’s not a perfect story, I admit it’s meandered during it’s run, but the ensemble kept me engaged. I’m glad Diana’s world was expanded with these gods and changed added to her mythos. Eventually, the story will have to focus on just Diana and i think the foundation is set.

  5. Haha! “Briefly!” Good one!

  6. Andrea says:

    Oh Laura….there are so many good points in this but you lose it completely when you seem to endorse the Superman/Wonder Woman thing and negate almost every other good point you made in the article by missing the point on that front.

    The Superman/Wonder Woman relationship is built upon misogyny and in complete and utter derailment from the concept of who Wonder Woman is. It’s a horrible concept that has been executed horribly.

    It’s horrible for what it does to Superman, yes. It takes a man with god-like power who could fly among us but chose to walk among us and share his life with a flawed but incredibly heartfelt and emotionally strong human woman and puts him above us…the kind of man to which the “ordinary” used to be extraordinary (as Lois was) and instead caters to the lowest common denominator that insists that a god-like man like Superman would be just as shallow about women and their worth as they would be. (The fact that the relationship uprooted, destroyed and replaced a very healthy, beautiful marriage between Lois and Clark is just icing on the cake.)

    But it’s actually even worse in terms of the message it sends about Wonder Woman.

    You make fun of Steve Trevor but he actually DID have a point. The point was supposed to be that a man didn’t have to be able to physically overpower a woman to be her equal and that it was OK for a man to stand back and allow a woman to be the alpha. The very idea that the only man that Wonder Woman would be interested in would be a literal Superman is just as insulting to the character as it is insulting to him. It represents her as the kind of woman that would seek obvious glory in her romantic interest as opposed to representing Wonder Woman as the kind of woman that looks beneath the surface and shows love and affection in less obvious places.

    I see nothing complex and interesting about a Kal/Diana pairing. It’s cowardly. Life is hard and can be full of pain so avoid the pain all together and just go for the easy way out? Are we really valuing being invulerable and all powerful over love now? CAuse that’s not the kind of Wonder Woman or Superman I want to believe in. I have no interest in a Wonder Woman who places value on such superficial means of happiness nor do I have an interest in a Superman who would rahter be with a perfect Amazon than a flawed human being.

    Kal and Diana together is the epitome of sexist male wish fulfillment and patriarchy in action. It caters to the very idea that Superman needs to have the “hottest” girlfriend around and encourages men to view Diana like a sex object and as a male trophy. Not to mention, it continues to encourage DC Comics to keep treating Lois Lane like shit.

    What would REALLY send the message that Diana was powerful would be to continue to build her OWN worldview and her own supporting cast so that she has her own cast of characters much like Batman and Superman do to draw from, to interact with and to learn from. Now, I think Azzarello has gone about this in a pretty horrible way thus far. I don’t like the choices he has made. But the idea itself of building Diana’s own worldview away from the rest of the DCU and giving her her OWN story is not in and of itself wrong. I just wish that Azzarello had not made so many missteps in the process with this book.

  7. Have you ever read the Georger Perez Wonder Woman stuff? I really think you’d like it as it addresses some of the problems you have with the current run. It’s the last great run of Wonder Woman stories in my opinion and other than the Wonder Woman TV show is the one thing that got me interested in the character. Trades are hard to find but worth seeking out if you’re a Wonder Woman fan and the first arc should be the blueprint for any film treatment of the character. Just this male’s two cents.

  8. Everything was going so well until I read this, “Her relationship with Kal could be wonderfully complex; two invincible people no longer having to worry about their lover getting hit by a bus, yet trying to work out a power balance that suits both of them (in the bedroom! Hurr hurr. Sorry).” First, if you know you’re going to apologize for something, then don’t do the thing you’re apologizing for. Doing it and including the “sorry” negates the apology. Second, surely you understand that describing something as complex, then noting an aspect of the Kal/Diana relationship that lacks complexity (no worries) is contradictory. I have yet to read one person write anything supportive of the Superman and Wonder Woman relationship that doesn’t rely on superficial statements and crass jokes about sex. What a disappointing read.

  9. Would love to see Jaime Hernandez do a WW one-shot, maybe a Ti-Girls crossover.

  10. Another vote here for the George Perez run. See if you can dig it up, Laura. Anybody know if they collected that? It was a terrific superhero comic.

  11. Charles Knight says:

    I’ve never ‘got’ Wonder Woman, as a character she does nothing for me.

  12. I’m not really interested in the whole ship wars thing to be honest, which is why I opened with the weirdness of the resistance to change in a constantly recycling and neverending story.

    I do think calling Superman/Wonder Woman a product of the patriarchy is really disingenuous however, and diminishes the very real problems that superhero comics (in particular) are still riddled with: the secondary roles of women; the prevalence of the male gaze; the fridging and slut shaming of women characters; the shortage of women creators. And so forth.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with any pairing you can think of within the DC universe, whether that be Clark/Lois, Clark/Diana, Diana/Bruce, Clark/Bruce, whatever (with the exceptions of course for things like the popular fanfiction pairing of Damian/Dick o_O). Problems only lie within the execution which will often fall short due to the other problems facing women characters within the genre. However, no character, whether male or female, should have their personality defined by any relationship or friendship they are portrayed in. Diana and Clark together does not make either of them shallow, nor is it “vile”. It is arguably lazy and predictable, but that falls to the execution.

    People might prefer Clark/Lois but using that to bend arguments of sexism and the effects of the patriarchy is pretty depressing, and again, detrimental to the awareness of the very real issues of misogyny within the entire genre.

    There is no endgame romance when it comes to superhero comics, because there is no endgame. These stories will go on forever, and there are plenty of stories with Clark and Lois out there to read. Their relationship was not destroyed, it still exists in it’s fictional realm. Now there is an opportunity for Lois to be defined outside of Clark and vice versa. Sales figures and headlines will always be more interested in “new relationship, omg” than “Superman and Lois Lane still together”. Just the way it works.

    What I don’t want is Diana defined solely by who she is banging, which is why while the relationship with Clark COULD prove to be complex and interesting, so far I see little evidence of that. And it’s telling that the most passionate comments are again focusing on the relationships rather than the characters, which is in essence my point exactly.

  13. I really am enjoying the current Wonder Woman run, it just feels a tad like it could have any character in the central role and still work just as well – say Zola, or Hermes or even Strife. Or a whole new person. It’s a great mythological read.

    I have read bits and pieces of Perez’s run but not a solid arc – I shall investigate that now :D

  14. Wonder Woman, like all Superhero books, is better when the character is grounded in a real world of normal people. Like Etta Candy and Steve Trevor. Perez included both characters in his run- and introduced additional normal characters for Wonder Woman to bounce off of, and compare and contrast with. This actually continued up until John Byrne’s run, where he replaced all those characters with other superheros who tended to crowd WW out of her own title. Other writers after Byrne tried to restore the balance, but mostly failed.

    Then again, I could say that about most DC titles of the same era.

  15. Joe S. Walker says:

    It should be pointed out that the Orion in this series is an utter travesty of Jack Kirby’s character.

  16. I’m just wondering if we can ever get through a whole comment thread without some dudes loudly declaring that they don’t get Wonder Woman. Whaddya want, a cookie? Personally I’ve enjoyed everything from Perez to Rucka to Simone to, more recently, Marston/Peter and even the recently collected Twelve Labors (post Diana Prince/Kanaigher stuff from the 70s). Reading the last two in succession was particularly illuminating. And for what it’s worth, I’m straight, because it seems we’ve gotten to the point where one has to mention that in this context… (seems like Wonder Woman was actually more popular with boys at least in the beginning, but whatevs right?)

  17. Audrey says:

    Laura, while I think you make some good points, I actually am going to have to disagree with your commentary here. I do that with the utmost respect because I do respect your intentions and your background here. I have a similar background and education to you. I think there is a different way to approach this. I also think you have to be really careful with calling some of these comments “disingenuous.” Though you may not personally agree or have a different viewpoint, there are some valid points being made here and from what I’ve seen and experienced in the comics fandom…..the points are the definition of genuine and rooted in a real concern and awareness of the way in which these issues are treated in the genre.

    In general, I would agree with you that there is nothing inherantly wrong with any pairing and that it ultimately comes down to personal preference. and execution. That said, there are some troubling gender components that seem to follow this Superman/Wonder Woman thing wherever it goes and unfortunately, I do think it has resulted in and encouraged some really poor behavior in the comics genre.

    I understand your point about the cyclical nature of narratives. I don’t agree with every point per se but I see what you are saying. The problem though is that the Supermarriage was ended, in part, due to patriarchal reasoning. The belief that women “hold men back” ‘that marriage is “boring” that wives are “boring” that men have to “sow their wild oats” that a hot man like Superman needed to be out banging more chicks. All of these belief systems about Superman and the fact that he was married to a woman who was and is very difficult to exploit in the male gaze influenced DC’s decision to destroy the marriage. In addition, the decision to then pair Superman with Wonder Woman and the way the “hotness” of Wonder Woman was played up did send a poor message about marrriage, women and sex. As a woman myself, I was offended by it.

    You mention what you describe as the “real” problems in comics. Women in the male gaze. Woman being fridged. Slut shaming. I agree. These are real problems. They are also real problems that have been sparked, in part, by the Superman/Wonder Woman pairing on several levels. There are those (and I’m one of them) who feel strongly that Diana exists as a product of the male gaze when she is in a relationship with Superman moreso than any other man. Lois Lane has been fridged 5 times in the last 18 month period in order to “get her out of the way” for this thing with Wonder Woman. Lois Lane, a character who was often the more sexually experienced in a rare role reversal, is constantly slut shamed in fandom. These things actually do go hand in hand with this issue. It’s not as simple as a ship war.

    I also don’t really subscribe to this idea that ending the marriage gave Lois “more an opportunity to be defined outside of Superman” because I really disagree that women need to be separated from their romantic partners to do that. Am I less of my own woman because i’m married to my husband? No. Again, this lies in execution. Lois should have been written as her own woman the entire time she was married to Clark and she often WAS when in the hands of great writers like Greg Rucka, Gail Simone etc. I don’t think it sends a helpful message to imply that women need to be released from their romantic relationships in order to truly find themselves and grow.

    In essence, most of the motivation for ending the Supermarriage and then creating this stunt in Justice League seemed very closely linked withi this idea that Superman needed to be “cooler” and that he wasn’t “cool” enough married to a more “normal” (though totally kickass and amazing) woman. Therefore, the idea seemed to be (and I’ve confirmed this with several writers behind the scenes who will tell you it’s true) that Superman would be “cooler’ and seen as “more manly” if he dumped his wife and hooked up with the hot girl in the bathing suit. Now, we can talk about this being a form of execution all you want. But this does have serious gender realities in terms of how women are perceived and is a very big deal when you are talking about arguably the two most famous women in the comics genre.

    As someone who was truly fond of Marston’s original work, I truly recoil at the idea of Wonder Woman being used this way and I recoil at the idea of her being paired with a man is supposed to be physically on par with her as I truly do feel that negates Marston’s truly unique vision for the character.

    As a female who truly LOVES both Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, I am offended by the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship and everything it represents. Both in concept and in execution. I’m not sure that’s your place to call my feelings disingenuous as I’m sharing how I feel as a feminist, as a woman and as a human being who purchases comics. I find it offensive at the root. It DOES represent partriarchy to me and to some others. While it may not represent that to YOU, surely as a fellow feminist, you can be sensitive and understanding to why others feel that way as opposed to dismissing their very valid emotions as being ‘ship wars.” Laura, this isn’t about “ship wars” to many people. These are genuine emotions.

    I have struggled with the Azzarello book from the start. I have long believed that it was essential for Diana to have a book that truly revolved around her story and her cast but I have not been pleased with the execution in this case. I’m very upset about the way the Amazons were portrayed. I long to see Diana interacting with Etta Candy and Steve Trevor. I would give anything to see a book that really focuses on a friendship between Diana and Etta. Wouldn’t that be so wonderful? So many possibilities there. I have been appalled by the situation with Diana being completely in the dark in her book.

    I respect you, Laura. But I do think we have to be careful as feminists to downplay that which is offending other people. We all know that derailment is a huge problem in the genre and we get it enough from men and women who really aren’t educated about these issues. I don’t want to offend you and I truly want to be civil in saying this. But I think as opposed to assuming that those who are frustrated are simply engaging in “ship wars” and being “disingenuous” perhaps it might be more beneficial to understand that there are those of us that truly do take offensve to some of this stuff for LEGITIMATE reasons involving gender and our feelings shouldn’t be brushed off so easily.

    As a feminist, are you really in a place to describe what the “real” problems in the genre are when other women are expressing what has hurt them? Here are women who are telling you why these things personally upset them from a gender component. The dismissal of those feelings is something I don’t expect from someone like you.

    Not trying to provoke a fight. But it’s food for thought.

  18. Audrey says:

    @BobHughes, Yes! I agree!

    I know that many people are deeply fond of the Perez run and I understand. The Perez run is beautifull in many respects. However, one of the biggest mistakes that I think Perez made was in the way he treated Diana’s supporting cast. I actually think you can look at alot of the problematic treatment of Wonder Woman today and link it back to some of the changes made in the Perez run.

    For example, take Steve Trevor. Now, I’m not going to pretend that this character has always been written well but the potential for the character to be written well is very much there. I really hated it that Perez took this character and made him an older, father figure. I always wondered if it was because there is this awful sexist idea that men can’t be physically weaker as women which is just stupid. By removing Diana’s own in-canon love interest, I feel that it encouraged more and more writers (and fans) to tryand pair her with other heroes in a way that has really undercut her own character mythos over the years. i would so much rather see Wonder Woman with her own canon love interests that benefit her story than being paired with othermale heroes who have their own narratives.

    Etta Candy is another one. I LOVE ETTA! She’s such a fascinatnig character. I have been longing to see a truly wonderful friendship between Diana and Etta on the page for a long time.

    Speaking of Diana and Lois Lane, that’s another friendship that I have been desperate to read about but DC is so consumed with treating these women like romantic rivals that I fear we will never get it. Think about it. How wouldn’t Wonder Woman respect Lois Lane? Lois Lane is a woman of power in man’s world without any of Diana’s privilege. Wonder Woman should love her and want to be her close friend. That’s a story I’d love to read but no one will write it.

    Marston’s stories have problems. But I really appreciated the way in which Wonder Woman had this truly full cast of characters around her. In many respects, I think this is what has kept Diana from having a media property since the Lynda Carter show. It’s so hard to sell her to a media property because she doesn’t have a supporting cast that people know and love which hurts her mythos a great deal.

    I keep waiting to get a truly great Wonder Woman book where I can see Diana and her mother and Steve and Etta fully fleshed out. Grant Morrison’s upcoming Wonder Woman book perhaps? Fingers crossed?

  19. Ah, the Perez series was great. I wish they’d collect his post-art run where he was only writing it. And Bill Messner-Loeb’s run, at least up to the point before Deodato came in, ugh. (That’s already been collected anyway.)

    I dropped Azzarello’s Wonder Woman because it’s poorly written from Diana’s standpoint. First and foremost Brian’s Diana is a complete and utter idiot. Blissfully unaware that every woman on the island (except perhaps her mother) and every god (except perhaps Hera, who was equally oblivious to matters everyone else was fully aware) was mocking her. “Clay baby.”

    If the Amazons are fully capable of giving birth, why was the clay baby origin even (sorry) conceived? Under those conditions, the story is pointless. If the Amazons hate men (you’d have to in order to mate and murder them, and get rid of any male offspring), why is Diana in the outside world? What is her mission and purpose? What the hell was she doing in London at the beginning of the series? Why would the Amazons try to convince Diana that they are anything other than what they are?

    Not only the Amazons, but all the gods (except dumb ol’ Hera!) were also in on Diana’s parentage in this version, so they also toy with and mock the demi-god.

    I’ve perused the occasional issue since I dropped WW from my pull list (after #9) and it really hasn’t gotten any better.

    Diana hasn’t fared any better in Justice League. Her character arc there is tied and in service to Superman’s story. Being a bit more ruthless, she seems a little closer to Azzarello’s blood-thirsty snakes, er, Amazons. Or Eric Cartman. “Whatevah, I do what I want!” Superman instructs her, Superman inspires her (that bit of bile is left over from Straczynski’s abysmal run), Superman is using her to rebound from Lois. She’s eager to be his rebound girl because she’s trying to dump Steve, too, but the story is framed from its importance to Superman. And to top it all off, it’s blatantly portrayed as a doomed relationship from the start, even as DC tries to prop it up as the status quo and excitingly relevant. Fans of the idea of the relationship don’t seem to see any of that (perhaps cackling “Niven was right!” under their blankets at night, one hand on a flashlight, the other…).

    So yeah, DC’s current problems with Wonder Woman are all about getting her in and out of her pants.

  20. Good write up. I enjoyed it. I like analysis like this from time-to-time.

    My wonderment with Wonder Woman is not with her, but with how the male parallels don’t have to jump through such hoops. Thor, and other supernatural / mythological entities, are well celebrated *as is* and nobody is trying to hammer their square pegs into a round holes. In a way I feel that Wonder Woman is like the redheaded step-child in the family. I wish I didn’t feel like that because I like the concept and ideal of the character — if she wears pants or not.

  21. Audrey, I apologise for any offence – it’s just frustrating to try and talk about Wonder Woman and how we always focus on who she is sleeping with, and then have the whole thing turned into who she is banging regardless. I really don’t think that pairing her with Superman is rooted in misogyny as opposed to sales figures, and I do think there’s a huge danger in confusing things that are the fault of sexism with things that we simply don’t like character wise.

    I’ll admit that the fan focus on relationships completely baffles me. I have no problem with Clark – and Lois – looking at different partners or even having multiple relationships. Clark/Diana can be painted as shallow or superficial but so can Clark/Lois or Diana/Steve. They are ancient constructs now that don’t make much sense, and change will always drive these comics. It’s inevitable. The fact that women have less importance in the genre is a greater problem, but not really reflective of this particular situation – Wonder Woman is a rather uniquely sexless woman within the actual comics, unlike her Lynda Carter portrayal or more modern television attempts. Which is something I’d like to see addressed either way.

    Lois can be built up as a character within a relationship, but equally she can as well outside of it. It doesn’t diminish who she is as a character.

    But anyway, I feel that stating that a relationship is troubling because of sexism… it’s a worrying precedent to set. It can be the problem behind characterisation sure, and the male gaze certainly dictates the behaviour and look of all women characters which is horrible…. but, well, we’d never describe someone in the real world as having their relationship or sex partner based in misogyny. Not a path I really want to go down!

  22. Keith Bowden – the lack of intelligence is the one thing that really pulls me out of the story. I’m used to overlooking the other stuff, it’s in pretty much all media, but having Diana as this rather stupid women is really weird!

  23. Audrey says:

    Hi Laura. No worries. I understand your point and I appreciate you engaging with civility! This is how we learn from each other. I do want to address this though.

    I understand that the focus on relationships baffles you. All I can do is try to help you understand why it’s important to some and can, in many ways, be linked to the gender discussion. You and I have similar backgrounds. I’ve been a professor at various Universities over the years and taught Feminist Theory. So I truly respect your viewpoint. I just view it differently.

    For me, personally, (and I suspect for others) the Lois and Clark relationship had developed into a truly inspirational symbol of something very powerful. I was really moved by the idea that Lois was a career woman and that her “costume” was a business suit. I thought it sent a really powerful message that this “Super” man had chosen as his life partner, not a supermodel, but a woman who was attractive but really, better known for her personality and for her job than for what she looked like. I also found great inspiration in the idea that this was a rare example of a narrative where the woman was 1.) older 2.) more professionally experienced and 3.) had more sexual experience. These were all rare and precious things to me. I identiified with Lois Lane because she was a career woman like me. I really appreciated the DCU being built on the idea that equality between a man and a woman didn’t have to be built upon the physical. Not every write got it right but the ones who did (like Rucka, Simone Busiek, Kelly etc.) created something glorious that really meant a great deal to me and others.

    Also, in a world of revolving love interests and where women are often treated as replaceable (AKa our movie genre where there is always a new female love interest etc.) it was really important to me and to many others that the relationship between Lois and Clark was preserved as that rare relationship that they didn’t screw with. Yes, these things are ever changing but, in many respects, the Supermarriage in the Superman comics was a “change” that had beenin the works for a very, very long time and had alot to do with the changing attitudes towards women in our culture. The reason they weren’t allowed to be married decades ago was because people really ::did:: believe that women who had careers had to give up their careers if they got married. So, for many people, the Supermarriage was a true expression of female power because our culture had finally reached a point where we (supposedly) understood that women could work AND LOVE and you didn’t have to choose one or the other. In an increasingly dark entertainment media focused on the “gritty” and the “dark” the marriage between Lois and Clark was a rare spark of light and love that reminded many people (both straight and gay) that two people could come together and fight to make it work even against all odds and even if one of those people didn’t have the privilege of superpower. For many of us, it was that beautiful.

    I agree with you that Wonder Woman has been presented as a sexless character and I agree that’s a problem. But I disagree that involving Superman in her sex life is the way to correct that problem. And I do think there are valid arguments that that would be an absolutely terrible choice to make.

    For years on end, Wonder Woman’s sexuality has been this thing of mystery—of value. She’s been fetishized and turned into a sex object without ever truly being able to have agency in that respect. But the thought of this character losing her virginity in CANON to Superman really turns my stomach. It just makes my skin crawl. Diana is the epitome of the female superhero and to canonically have her lose her virginity on page to the only man in the DCU who can physically overpower her just really hurts my insides. I also know that it goes against the point of Wonder Woman when she was created which was to show that it was ok for a woman to be physically stronger than the man in question. Placing her in a sexual situation with Superman feels like a complete slap to the point of the character and sits very poorly with me as a fan. It also, in the process, takes what WAS a very feminist and unique facet of the Superman mythos (where Lois was always more sexually experienced) and kind of shits on it. Because now Clark Kent is not the man who had the humility to NEVER slut shame Lois Lane even though she had had more sexual partners. Now, Clark Kent is the guy who banged Wonder Woman. It just does terrible things for the point of the mythos.

    I understand that these are not things that have crossed your mind and may not be things that resonate with you. But these are things that absolutely have gender components and matter to people.

    It’s just not so easy to say that “things change” when it came to ending the marriage between Lois and Clark. Because, as I shared above, it just wasn’t that simple. Things changed, in this case, because the company was run by MEN and the men, in question, made decisions that were rooted in some truly sexist viewpoints about women and marriage. So it’s just so easy for some of us to separate that.

    This is why many fans look at the current situation with Superman and Wonder Woman with disgust. Because the sexism that has surrounded the situation and the abuse that women have taken in the fandoms as the result of it are STAGGERING.

    So, while I can agree that we have to be very careful about assigning “sexism” to relationships….in this unique context, I actually do think there has been some pretty sufficient evidence that partiarchy is at play. I think that’s where the anger stems from.

    It’s also remembering that just because something “baffles” you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a very deep, real, thoughtful and IMPORTANT meaning to others. You may not understand why people get upset about this situation but that doesn’t mean that the reasons people have for being upset aren’t legitimate reasons.

    I guess what I’m saying is….I know you are a really smart, thoughtful woman. I just ask that, if possible, you can try to put aside that which “baffles” you and try to see it from the perspective of those who are hurt. I really appreciate your response and wish you nothing but the best.

  24. Audrey says:

    @Keith and Laura,

    The lack of intelligence on Diana’s part has been very bothersome to me.

    Case in point: I keep hearing people argue that we shouldn’t get worked up over the history of the Amazons because it’s possible that Diana is being ‘lied” to about the history and the truth will be revealed.

    Ok, I don’t expect that that is the case. I think the history that has been set out is probably (unfortunately) true. But even so, are people really trying to tell me that Wonder Woman, of all people, wouldn’t be able to see through those kinds of lies and find the truth?

  25. Re me being baffled – I don’t mean to imply that I don’t acknowledge or understand all the reasons that people are angry over this, simply that it’s not something I can really agree with from that perspective. Lois Lane may have been defined in part by her relationship with Superman in the past (often in truly horrible ways when it came to throwing herself out of buildings to see him), but as you say yourself, times do indeed change. It’s very possible for Lois to be part of Clark’s life in a way that still enriches both of them without needing a romantic relationship to do so. It’s equally possible for her to hold her own in a comic which has no personal interaction with Superman at all. I really dislike the idea that part of her appeal comes from Clark choosing to pursue a relationship with her – even if that’s not the reasoning, it is still part of it.

    And again, I don’t think that Diana being with Clark in any way “fixes” her lack of sexuality – as I said in the piece, I don’t believe the real potential of Diana as a character has been reached. My own personal tastes would rather see her hook up with Bruce or a woman, but I don’t think dating a superman makes her any less of herself – except by way of execution. I’m also not really comfortable with being troubled by who she loses her virginity to… sex is sex, and not every hook up or relationship leads to a happy ever after.

    Honestly I think many of these arguments would be better suited to a piece about Clark/Lois as it seems like that is where most of the anger is coming from. But I’m very resistant to the idea that any relationship or lack thereof can diminish a woman character. The anger that I’ve seen on either side is more reminiscent of ship wars in fandom in general than in feminist theory. Obviously certain relationships or characters can have deep personal meaning to any reader, but those stories and characters still exist on the shelves.

    It is frustrating that any mention of Wonder Woman and Superman together though overshadows any other thoughts on Wonder Woman. Especially just because I mentioned I don’t think it’s intrinsically bad. Bleh.

    Perhaps a hive not worth poking in future I guess.

  26. Synsidar says:

    I think Azzarello’s run is wonderful, one reason being that he’s writing WW as a character, not as an icon. If a reader has a fully-developed vision of who a character is and wants the writer to write her just so, that reader will be very hard to satisfy–perhaps impossible.

    I disagree with the opinion that WW would be easily replaced in the storyline. Her connections to the other Olympians are central to it. A disconnected hero wouldn’t have the motivation to take care of Zola, and would arguably be shredded by the other Olympians.

    Writing an icon as an icon and symbol in a story from start to finish arguably doesn’t serve any purpose, but if it might, WW might fare better in standalone stories, even a series of standalone stories, than in a serial. Writing a story with a hard ending would force a writer to decide what he or she wants to say about her.

    SRS

  27. Audrey says:

    Laura, I think it’s fine to poke the hive. As long as you can listen to the people who you stung.

    In real life, yes, sex is sex. Relationships between REAL PEOPLE can’t be inherantly sexist and send the wrong message. Relationships between cultural icons that were created for a specific purpose and with specific intents and messages and symbolism can be. I think that’s where I have to disagree. We can agree to disagree on that one.

    I also have to disagree that you are correct to keep labeling these arguments as “ship wars” and trying to remove it from feminist theory. Many of the women who feel extremely strongly about this feel this way due to reasons involving feminism. Again, this may not be what appeals to YOU but that does not make the arguments less vaild.

    In general, I’m uncomfortable with you dismissing the points made by calling them “ship wars” when I’m sure you know full well that women are shamed and degraded in the male dominant comics fandom for caring about relationships. That sounds like the kind of argument a guy would make in order to derail a convo. Gender conversations are often at the root of these kinds of discussions which is why they are so often dismissed by men.

    (And frankly, in terms of Lois and Superman, I take issue with them even being called a “ship” when the reality is that their relationship—in various capacties—is the central theme of a 75 year old narrative. It’s not a ship. It’s the backbone of a 75 year old story that means alot to a great number of people. Many of them are feminists. And that doesn’t mean that they think that women have to be defined by men or can’t be defined outside of them. It’s not an either/or. Feminists ::can:: believe that the most powerful way to tell the Superman story is to keep Lois and Superman together while also recognizing that this is not the ONLY way to tell stories and that women are not diminished or defined by relationships. I personally don’t think Lois needs to be in a book with Superman but I PREFER Superman stories where they are together for various reasons. It’s not that simple. But that’s a point for another time and another discussion.)

    Look, I respect what you are saying. My only point here is that you’ve got people who are going to vehemently disagree with some of your points (I’m one of them) and that doesn’t mean that we are 1.) not working from feminist theory 2.) disingenous or 3.) misappropriating sexism in a genre.

    I’m an advocate for women in the genre. I’m an advocate for women in my career. The fact that I hold a different opinion than you doesn’t mean I’m not understanding feminist theory nor that I’m not concerned about the “right” issues in terms of misogyny in the genre. I understand it VERY WELL.

    I respect where you are coming from and your frustrations and I’m happy to agree to disagree.

    @Synsider, I disagree there. Wonder Woman is both a character and an icon. Her status as an icon matters whether people want to accept that or not. That means that there are certain things with the character that you just shouldn’t do because those actions get in the way of what she stands for. Perhaps they would be better suited for another character but NOT for her.

    That’s not about not making her real. She should be real and layered and flawed. It’s about respecting her history and what she stands for.

  28. BrianMc says:

    As a longtime Wonder Woman fan who enjoyed much about Laura’s article (less so her followup comments), Audrey and Andrea are my heroes in this thread. I wish the character were written with their perspective and depth of thought/passion.

  29. JanArrah says:

    OK first.. I want to say, yes Perez’s run is very good, but if you haven’t read anything BEFORE Perez. Please do. There ARE amazing stories before Perez took over and Perez did lead Wonder Woman down a very different path than Moulton originally intended. Starting with Perez, Wonder Woman has slowly become more and more violent which has culminated in this new Xena/Hercules combo version of the character. The biggest issues for me in every post-Crisis run has been the lack of the Diana Prince ID (which allowed Diana to be “off duty” and relate to people as a human being, which she has trouble doing as Wonder Woman), Steve Trevor as a love interest (a viable love interest. What’s wrong with Diana being in love with Steve Trevor and him in love with her? They literally saved each other numerous times, mostly her saving him, but he would contribute, not just stand by and watch like the TV show), and her violent nature (she’s suppose to present a BETTER WAY to man, not the same way we already know). Making Diana more violent may be great for sales for the moment (more on that later), but it does nothing for the character. I contend that Johns and Azzarello are having trouble getting on the same page just because Johns has to read at least 50+ issues of Azzarello’s run just to figure out who DIANA IS! We don’t know. We get NOTHING from her perspective at all. I also find it interesting that she seemed very annoyed with Zola in the first few issues then Zola gets kidnapped and now they’re besties? Odd for me.

    Early Diana’s patron Goddess was Aphrodite. Everything that motivated Diana was love. Moulton added Athena as a secondary goddess after a few issues, making Diana a being of love, tempered by wisdom. (Moulton clearly realizes that Athena is a goddess of War, but refers to her weapons as armament to pierce the veil of ignorance or something to that effect). Perez starts from a different aspect. Artemis is the first Goddess to speak for the Amazons in Perez’s run, but it seems pretty quickly that Athena is their patron goddess (It really seems to be Athena’s idea since she seems to know everything and pushes everyone along). Perez understood that Athena was also a war goddess and made Amazons and Wonder Woman herself, more warrior like, having them keep the monsters of Greek mythology locked up underneath Themyscira. Azzarello has forgone ALL of that, made Diana’s daddy Zeus, made her patron and trainer, War (Ares.. notice Azzarello is allowed to get away with calling Ares War instead because that’s completely with mythology, which we are often told is why Amazons have to be murdering rapists. Also isn’t it a tad.. ironic that War looks like Azzarello? He’s trying for that whole.. “We’re both her surrogate daddy” thing, I think). Diana has even forgone her lasso of truth almost completely (It’s typically just pretty decoration in Wonder Woman) as she uses her sword(s) because that makes her look more threatening. That’s a HUGE switch in theological beliefs.

    As each new writer has switched Diana’s patrons, the Amazons too have undergone transformations. The original Amazons were masters of science, magic, math, philosophy, peace, and if need be war. The Amazons were literally the most advanced society on the planet. They were immortal and powerful. They wore their bracelets of femininum as reminder of their time as slaves to man and once removed, they flew into a rage and became insanely powerful. Perez took a different route and his Amazons were still a utopian society, they were much less advanced. They were stuck in the ways of the Greeks. They had mastered philosophy, poetry, pottery, and the olympic games. Later under Byrne, they gained magic again, but only in one Amazon. Azzarello says screw all that. They’re just Barbarian women who can’t even forge weapons. Seriously? They can’t do anything now. They’re not all that bright, they’re not special in any way, just an island of ordinary Barbarian women that like to kill things.

    As for sales, Azzarello’s sales have started out OK, but Heinberg’s run in 2006 sold over 100,000 copies and it was the number one seller that month. It continued to sell consistently higher than Azzarello’s run even with massive delays in the run. If you look at Tim Hanley’s WW blog as well, you’ll see that Wonder Woman’s sales are slowly falling to the average sales of the Wonder Woman over the last 15 years I do believe. So sales haven’t been that stellar that we need to celebrate that this is a great selling series. Yes the comic market was stronger then, but still Azzarello’s sales aren’t this ground breaking stellar sales we’ve ever seen on Wonder Woman and the attempt to portray it as such by many is frustrating to me.

    Now as for Azzarello’s run.. it makes absolutely NO SENSE. His origin makes no sense. If his origin is true, then why did Diana leave Themyscira with Steve Trevor? He’s baby bait! The Amazons are suppose to be ripping his clothes off and having snoo-snoo with him until his pelvis breaks and he dies. Did Diana win a challenge to see who could leave with Steve Trevor? because that really makes no sense.. or did she just bow out in the middle of the night? If so, why was nobody surprised to see her again? ARG! IT MAKES NO SENSE! None of this origin WORKS. It’s inherently flawed. There is no reason for Diana to leave Themyscira until AFTER she finds out they rape and murder men or maybe that her mother lied to her. But she left what? 5 years before that!

    Also, anyone notice that Wonder Woman’s first actual appearance in her own comic is her naked? Just saying..

    Now, Superman/Wonder Woman. The idea that Superman has been completely ignoring Lois Lane this entire time, is just wrong. He of course has been interacting with her several times in his own title and they had a convo about their friendship and relationships that was rather uncomfortable for both of them, but necessary. Lois is dating another guy right now, what’s wrong with her doing that? She’s NOT the same Lois as before. She WASN’T just a reporter anymore, she was a producer and worrying about other people putting their lives on the line (a very different role for Lois). But despite all that and all the changes between Lois and Clark (new Clark is more sentimental and emotional than previous versions of Clark too), Clark still cares for Lois. It’s CLEAR. If you’ve read Justice League, during the Throne of Atlantis crossover, Diana and Clark go on a date both in disguise so they can have “us time” (Johns seems to like the Diana Prince identity and is secretly hinting that he wants it back). Anyhow, their date is interrupted when a wave hits Metropolis and Superman and Wonder Woman have to jump into action. Great right? So what does Superman do? His date with the girl he supposedly digs most was just interrupted and he is.. flying around screaming for Lois, who was in danger at the time, but still. His first thoughts were for Lois Lane. He didn’t worry about anyone else, just Lois. I think that just shows where Clark’s heart really is.

    Diana on the other hand is macking with the guy who she pretends to hate. It seems to me like a dig from Azzarello about women (one of a bazillion). They want the guy that really treats them like shit even if they say they don’t.

  30. Whatever says:

    My wife loves WW or at least loves the idea of WW or the Linda Carter show or I don’t know some idea that women should have superheroes too. And they should just not WW. She really stinks sorry I know I am a white male so my opinion is essentially useless but the character has so many fundamental flaws. Awful costume, awful name truly a terrible origin and virtually NOTHING a person can relate to, save gender. Which I totally get but WW is just a one dimensional character and girls simply relate just because of gender. Can you relate to her origin as a god? Or perhaps growing up on an island full of mythological women? If there ever was a case for a complete reboot of a character this is it. I remember Morrison or Gaiman had an idea for Marvel binging back the Asgardians and it centered around normal people finding Asgardian weapons and transforming into the Asgardians with no idea what that was or meant. That’s what WW needs a normal woman transforming into WW and carrying all the current life baggage with her, Marvel sure but better than a clay god or amazon growing up in fantasy land whoever can identify with that ridiculous mess.

  31. Phil Jimenez says:

    (I shall try to repost my comments tomorrow; it appears only the bracketed quotes appeared in my responses, and not my typed responses themselves).

  32. @Phil Jimenez: Very much looking forward to anything you’d care to share. =} I wasn’t following any monthly comics at that time, so I’ve only seen an issue or two of your run, sorry to say. (The ’90s burned me out for over a decade.)

  33. Phil Jimenez says:

    Trying again.

    1. Ahem. As someone who’s had some experience with Wonder Woman –writing and drawing a very uneven 2 year run a little more than a decade ago (uneven for multiple reasons, including my lack of professional skill as well as unrivaled editorial interference/ineptitude (I had three editors on my first two issues), plus two crossovers (in which I was forced to kill her mother and destroy her island home), and 9/11, which derailed the book further), and as a cowriter of the Wonder Woman encyclopedia, I hope you don’t mind me chiming in — keeping in mind, of course, mine is the perspective of a gay male in his 40′s and my perspective is skewed as such. I’m also on deadline and should be pencilling and inking, so I can’t tackle everything I’d like. Please forgive me while I toss out some ideas.
    “Unlike Superman and Batman, DC’s foremost female hero has no secret identity to ground her, no strong motivation to steer her path.”

    While Wonder Woman hasn’t had much of a secret identity over the past 20 years, almost every iteration of the character (and certainly, the Golden Age, Silver Age, post-Crisis, and nu-52 versions of Wonder Woman are different enough that I consider them unique characters) has had a distinct, arguably epic mission: to stop Ares, the god of war, and his minions from laying waste to the planet. Diana’s primary mission/motivation has been to stop war and conflict from consuming the world; to teach mankind how not to destroy each other with guns, bombs, nukes; to promote the ways of love (Aphrodite) and vanquish the grisly efforts of war (Ares). Literally, her greatest enemy is one of the most powerful gods of any pantheon (as presented in comics, certainly); in the post-Crisis version, it was made plain that Diana’s mission as Wonder Woman was to keep Ares in check at all times, at all costs. From a serialized narrative standpoint, her mission is as never-ending as Batman’s and as deadly serious. Her tools are different, tho, and the outcome – rehabilitation, not just imprisonment – is different as well.

    But this mission’s potency relies quite heavily, I believe, on our general feelings about war and warriors in general; about our tendency to celebrate certain kinds of war as valuable and just; about the eroticization of violence so prevalent in most kinds of entertainment, particularly comic books; about war as an ordered, patriarchal, anti-humanist way to enforce power; and our feelings about mankind’s inherent “nature” and the origins of war itself – let alone women, matriarchy, and war There have been some very interesting books written about the power of pro-war propaganda coursing through much of Hollywood entertainment since its inception, and how it’s shaped our opinions on the matter. Chris Hedges has also written at length about war and the meaning it gives many of our lives, despite its brutal truths. But regardless of one’s beliefs about war and love and the power and value of each, Wonder Woman’s mission is no small thing, and her enemy is about as great/politically and socially relevant as it gets (and talk about mass genocide; the Joker’s got nothing over Ares in that department).

    On a personal level, Wonder Woman has, historically, also been motivated by a desire to examine and unite cultures, and to change them. In her post-Crisis version, she was a young girl who was so intellectually curious and so tired of paradise that she took any chance she could to leave it, to see the world beyond its shores. In several of her iterations, she tried to bring the best of both worlds to each other (although in later years, with so much war – WW II, Korean, Vietnam, Cold War, etc, Paradise Island often came off looking a lot better than “Man’s World, with about one touch of intra-island conflict every 100 years or so, usually a disgruntled Amazon story. Only post-Crisis did war ravage Paradise Island multiple times, and only after the Amazons opened their shores to the outside world) Diana was motivated by curiosity, adventure, and ultimately, transformation – personal and societal. It’s a motivation I respond to quite personally – living in a relatively small, socially sheltered world with a devoted and loving but over-protective single mother, and desperately wanting to see what the rest of the world has to offer, even if it means leaving paradise behind.

    So Diana’s motivations are two fold – heroic, i.e. – stop the god of war whenever he rears his ugly head, and promote a different way of living to those who promote the bloody destruction of others – and personal; feed her insatiable curiosity, adventure through the world and the universe, and share the best of it all between cultures.

    That’s more than I can think of for the Flash. Or Zatanna. Or many other characters with more appeal.

    “…as the title takes a more mythological take on the character rather than a traditional superhero angle…”

    For most of Wonder Woman’s history, Wonder Woman has been mired in mythology. Indeed, many of her fans during the Perez run grew desperately tired of the mythology, wanting her to be more of a super-hero. Mythology was everywhere in the Marston run – delightfully reimagined through a feminist lens (the very notion that the Amazons were not agents of Ares (war) but rather of Aphrodite and Athena (love and wisdom) is so progressive that it’s Wonder Woman battled Mars, Achilles, the Duke of Deception, and others (along with the ladies of Villainy, Inc.) For the past 25 years, with Perez, me, Luke, Simone, Rucka, Heinberg – mythology was a central theme and there were mythological characters from Heracles to Hestia running rampant through her pages. Only Loebs, who, I believe, didn’t want to write a character that had an intimate relationship with her personal gods, deeming those religious qualities a topic he didn’t wish to tackle, avoided the mythology.

    Many have spoken about this “return” to the mythology in Wonder Woman as if somehow it hadn’t been there over the years. I have no idea why – except, perhaps, that many simply haven’t read Wonder Woman until now.

  34. Phil Jimenez says:

    2. “Wonder Woman doesn’t have the same baggage as Superman, as despite also being invulnerable she doesn’t have to always be super good and she allows herself to make mistakes. She does share Bruce’s wealth, and would perhaps be intrigued by his methodology. Trying to live in a world she hasn’t grown up in is storyline gold, and making her an actual (pan?)sexual woman rather than mooning over the first man she meets would be terrific.”

    First, we HAVE seen her live in a world she hasn’t grown up in. The post-Crisis reboot covered that for five years. It may not have worked for some, but the territory has been covered, for sure.

    While I am far more intrigued by a Batman/Wonder Woman pairing than a Superman/Batman pairing (and boy, have female readers gone after me for that over the years, citing Batman’s near insanity and misogyny over the years as totally incongruous with Wonder Woman’s romantic ideals), it must be said that while she doesn’t have to be “super good,” she IS good, and that good is okay.

    Good doesn’t mean “not flawed.” It simply means that Wonder Woman, like Superman, is relatively incorruptible. We’ve seen her quick to anger, jealous, sad, make mistakes, be naïve, etc. – all very human mistakes. But she works far less well, as both character and as icon, when one tries to bring her humanity into sociopathic territory. She is good, she represents good, and that’s okay. I think the tendency to rail against “good heroes” says much more about the inherent distrust and resentment readers have toward such behavior than the characters themselves. Many of my fellow creators are in agreement that one of the things that makes Wonder Woman terrific is that when she walks into a room, her very spirit makes you want to be better; makes you want to be good, and do good, for yourself and for those around you. Her innate goodness matters because, in play, it inspires others to greater goodness. And if you’ve ever been with someone who does that (and I have), you know how potent a power that truly is.

    Indeed, it’s Diana’s goodness that appeals to Batman so. During Infinite Crisis, Greg Rucka and I were in agreement that Batman was devastated by Diana’s murder/assassination of Maxwell Lord. He wasn’t angered, but he was desperately saddened; Batman saw Diana as a beacon of light and hope and if even she could be corrupted by the world of man, if even this spirit of light could be reduced to such action, then what hope did Gotham City have? What hope did he have? Of course, the editorial waters got quite muddied, and motivation was never agreed upon behind the scenes, but I know that for many creators I’ve spoken to, it’s Diana’s goodness… even her super goodness, regardless of her flaws – that make her such a potent character, and a potent source of energy and hope to characters like Batman.

    >>Persoanally, I am actually a fan of the very early Wonder Woman strips. Yes they were cheesy as hell, and yes the obsessive bondage was a bit much<

    But aren’t most comics cheesy on some level? About 80% of them probably fill that bill quite nicely, and certainly ones written back then.

    But beyond that, many people dismiss the bondage as barely hidden expressions of Marston’s own fetishes (which may partly be true). In fact, there are some powerful components to the bondage aspect of those early Wonder Woman run; an important message often lost was that if men (primarily men, but not only) would just give into their sexual urges, and give into love and its power, fully and completely, they would forsake their urge to channel that aggression into bloody war. The very idea of submitting to a lover completely, especially sexually, is a very hot button issue; it touches on all sorts of politics both personal and social; it taps into very deeply held beliefs about personal space, power, gender and sex roles, and comfort with sex and sexual energy in and out of romantic relationships. That bondage stuff is POWERFUL when addressed honestly and contextually, as is the idea of “loving submission,” another idea layered with sex and gender politics that could be explored for years, except Warner Bros’ heads would explode. One of the beautiful things about WW during the Golden Age was how in control she was sexually and how giving over to someone in bondage was seen as an expression of trust and love; it was not seen as giving up power but expressing it. Like the topic if of war, I think how one feels about the bondage and its display says as much about the reader as it does the creator and Wonder Woman herself.

    Of course, Wonder Woman suffers – as do all “OTHER” characters – women, minorities, gay people – from the fact that she represents ALL women in some ways, or, at least, the ultimate woman – and therefore her sex and how sex is used/displayed in the texts holds incredible weight. In this way, the character is forced into a symbolic role if we like it or not. Indeed, if she felt one way about sex or sex-related (I’ve had interesting discussions with women about Wonder Woman and the character’s feelings about abortion; no matter what her origin in universe, it’s always argued that Wonder Woman is a symbol and represents ideas (which I believe) and therefore must be pro-this and that, regardless of what her character might naturally/instinctively believe), she potentially fails the group that disagrees with her, and if anything, we’re tired of seeing Wonder Woman failing.

    But because women – and men – have different ideas of what the ultimate female character would be – what qualities she possesses, what ideals she espouses, what sex she has and with whom – Wonder Woman has had a remarkably inconsistent publishing career. She has been at her strongest, and most interesting, as Grant Morrison and Mark Waid have argued (I believe), when she is about sex, domination, feminism, and power — but those are insanely uncomfortable topics not only to many readers but to creators themselves (trust me on this.). Maybe because I’m gay, but more likely because I’m interested in socio-sexual politics (because of Wonder Woman), I’m awed at how uncomfortable people are of the bondage and what it represents, because it means tackling their own ideas about sex and bondage.

    Heck, I think this is why the costume – which speaks volumes of sex, fetishism, and display – and which the character at her best wears proudly and without shame – is always the big topic of conversation. Her costume MATTERS – because costumes aren’t just “practical uniforms” but are visual representations of a character’s values and ideas (Batman’s costume is the ideal example of this). We forget this in this time of billion-dollar grossing movies and the madcap need for 40-year olds to have their childhood icons taken SERIOUSLY in the media. The constant need to cover Diana up – despite the fact that she’s an immortal, nearly indestructible Amazon who could cleave off a hydra’s head with her hand (she certainly doesn’t need a sword, or a shield, or any of that crap we heap on her convey seriousness via a readiness for violence and war (and serious bloodshed)) – and who isn’t ashamed of her body, or her sex, or sex in general, doesn’t need to wear much more than she does… is really about making US comfortable with her appearance and to strip away the sex (trust me – the artists that sexualize her in the one piece will also sexualize her if she wears pants or armor, if they’re bound and determined to do so).

  35. Phil Jimenez says:

    3. “A Wonder Woman comic that perhaps took the Morrison Action Comics approach but spread out longer might work well; introducing a Diana who is struggling to find her place on Earth and balancing her desire to bring truth and justice to the world with a dawning realisation that those closest to her are in danger. Certainly it will be interesting to see what Grant brings to the table with his Earth One version.”

    I have my fingers crossed for Grant’s version. We’ve had our disagreements in the past over the character — particularly his take on WW wanting to be not really digging women and wanting to be “just one of the guys” — an idea I find appalling — but I know my ideas about the character have evolved and become quite refined over the years; I hope his have too! And the artist, if he remains, is PERFECT for this gig. :)

    Sorry about the multiple posts. This covers a lot. Hope it inspires even more dialogue. :)

  36. @whatever: Nothing is going to be enjoyed by everyone, and no one is going to enjoy everything. Not everything has to be about “identifying” with a character. (Superpower fantasy itself is enough to guarantee a lack of identification for many.)

    But many women do identify with Diana, for different reasons and different aspects of her. And, as a cis/hetero/white male myself, yep, I like the character when she’s well-written. That’s the key to any story/character, there should be an aspect you’d consider to be well-written. While I don’t think Diana has been written well in nearly 3 years now (since Gail Simone was removed from the title), she has been and I’ve enjoyed many approaches over the years.

    One aspect of identification that works for.people is in symbolism. The symbolism in a feminine society, the feministic ideals can stike a strong chord in us (even males). The world is extremely patriarchal and having just this area in which ideas are explored from a matriarchal viewpoint is interesting. The subtext of Diana’s (traditional) magical birth, formed from clay without the assistance of male DNA is powerful. It still ties in to other religious mythology of being formed from clay/dirt/dust but takes it in a feminine direction.

    There’s nothing really harder to deal with here than with the magic of a child growing into an adult superhero with a magic word; it’s easier to embrace than a story about microscopic bugs in a child’s bloodstream making him a snot-nosed punk, er, Jedi.

    However, I suspect that, wittingly or not, the key to understanding your post is found in your dismissive stance of “oh well, something for the ladies, right?”

    Can you really relate to the adventures of an alien that looks just like us but has invincible godlike powers? Or a man so traumatized and emotionally distraught as a child that he’s as unbalanced as those he fights? Or that he would take several children into vigilante conflicts with mass murderers? I think, from your statements, your issue is that the protagonist here is a woman.

  37. Phil Jimenez says:

    More concisely, I wrote this little sidebar for someone’s PhD a while back. It sums up nicely some of the other stuff I touched on up there:

    Many call Wonder Woman a “feminist icon,” although I tend to consider her a queer icon as well, which may in and of itself be enough to horrify those who desperately need to make money off of her to prevent me from ever touching that character ever again.

    And I mean queer in its broadest sense — anti-assimilationist, anti-tradition, defiantly ambiguous.

    As the ultimate “other,” the original Wonder Woman came from a world where women were more powerful than men, and from a culture where women – Amazons, reimagined not as a tribe of fearful warrior women but as a highly evolved, technologically advanced race whose mental acuity gave them fantastic powers – dominated.

    Sex and gender were powerful tools to subordinate the hyper-masculine. Rather than kill her enemies, Wonder Woman worked most often to rehabilitate them. The now-infamous scenes of bondage spoke deeply about re-channeling aggressive, violent impulses into loving, sexual ones. Domestically, Wonder Woman couldn’t imagine sublimating her love for her work, travel, and people for the love of oafish Steve Trevor. Most notably, Wonder Woman, coupled with a tendency toward the bizarre and surreal in her stories, embodied the spirit of fun, hope, and joy; she was an utterly uncynical character, proud of her body, her gender, her sex, and her mission in “Man’s World.”

    What was wonderful about Wonder Woman was that it was a way of seeing the world, one that defied patriarchal norms. But I believe such defiance played a heavy role in making Wonder Woman a sales conundrum in modern times.

    As decades have passed, Wonder Woman has been reimagined as an often-militant warrior/soldier from a land not of cultural savants but savage brutes. Today, it remains the most commercially viable iteration of the character, partly because it plays into the fantasies and culturally sanctioned fears of anything overtly feminine of the predominately straight male audience the comic industry serves instead of reshaping them. She is familiar in this incarnation, and buttresses the conventional wisdom as opposed to bucking it. Here, her otherness, her queerness, is all but erased. And money is made.

    (even many female comic readers (but not necessarily fans from other mediums) often prefer Wonder Woman to be less like “the other” and more like the norm, i.e. the male: deadly serious, morally conflicted, “real.”) And when even women embrace an utterly patriarchal version of Wonder Woman, I can’t help but ponder – what happened?)

    But as the ultimate queer character, Wonder Woman is at her strongest and most unique when she challenges her readers and asks us why we believe what we do, and if looking at the world thru a completely different lens might not be such a bad idea. When she shows us how to live our lives better, not just live them, period .

    But that can be a hard sell in a world that rewards the admittedly superlative but desperately grim Batman franchise with billions of dollars worldwide. What chance does a woman celebrating queer concepts like joy love peace, hope, the pleasures of sex, female power, liberation from norms and tropes, and otherness have against a cultural zeitgeist like that?

    A lot, I say – ‘cause she’s Wonder Woman, after all.

  38. Phil Jimenez says:

    @Keith Bowden — beautifully response from beginning to end.

  39. @Phil Jimenez: Wow. That’s very interesting; it’s going to take a while to digest all of that, but it’s very insightful. Thank you.

    By the way, would you like to write Wonder Woman? Pretty please with sugar on top? =}

  40. Thanks for all the awesome comments everyone ^_^

    JanArrah – I think the number of changes to Wonder Woman’s backstory and surroundings have really confused the more casual comic readers. I think in that way it’s a shame that the New 52 – which was in many ways a great jumping on point for a lot of the titles – didn’t really give potential new (and lapsed) readers a good grounding on Wonder Woman. Again, I really like Azzarello’s comic as a gods & monsters type story, but it was disappointing not only for old WW fans, but also kinda baffling for the newer kids picking up the trade on the book shop shelf.

    Regarding sales, I think it’s very difficult to compare with previous years now simply because the market is in such a downwards spiral for DC/Marvel in general. The current run is garnering acclaim and doing well enough to keep going – in an environment where (better?) comics have been cancelled, that is a huge point in its favour.

  41. Phil – I do agree with most of your points! Diana is of course primarily about ending the war-mongering ways of our world and being a beacon of hope and peace. I just worry that, as you say, in our current society such a message is not being delivered successfully due to our glamorisation of violence. Hell, you only need to pick up any of the other DC comics (and indeed, WW now as well) to see that. While she shouldn’t NEED to have a secret identity, or some other facet to her own persona, I wonder whether it would better serve her message if she did… Superman and Batman have long been the more iconic DC characters, and that partly speaks to the sheer lack of iconic women characters (that are not male spin-offs). Diana is a bit of a lone wolf in that regard, which of course results in your other point – that she is seen as representative of all women, an impossible task.

    While Diana should be the ideal hero given her motivations and origins, there is something stopping her from being the global icon that is Batman, or even Superman. While Bruce has ruled the cinema, Clark did too in the past, and more recently has dominated the small screen. Yet Diana has had to wait in the shadows for a long time since her Lynda Carter days. It’s a shame, as given the men’s many different iterations (grim and grisly sure, but also tv soap and YA series, camp episodes, cartoons and more), you’d think we’d get more WW attempts…

    I wonder if multiple titles might not be helpful. Batman of course has a ridiculous number of titles, but even Superman appears across more than a couple. And everyone reads the one that is most like *their* Bruce/Clark. It might dilute the idea of Diana having to represent all women at the one time…

  42. Also, I agree that there is nothing wrong with Diana being good. The mistakes I was referring to was more along the lines of… well, not knowing how to order in Starbucks. A glib example, but her being a slight fish out of water on Earth is something I find very endearing to an otherwise rather intimidating character. Superman too is the epitome of all that is good in the world, and the result is that many struggle to identify with him – of course the bumbling Clark then acts as our route in (I grew up with The Adventures of Superman which is probably why I am so hugely fond of both Clark and Lois).

    Overall, I’d really like to stress that at her core, I don’t see anything wrong with Wonder Woman. But I do worry that her popularity just isn’t where it should be. I’d love to see that change, but the old problem of fans resisting any change somewhat scuppers the idea. Unless there were multiple titles. One written by Phil Jimenez perhaps? ;)

  43. Ah okay, one last point. Curse these uneditable boxes!

    Regarding bondage – I think that it very tricky territory. Not because of the gender/power S&M components at play, which are fine, but because they are likely to be written by a dude, and they are still within that environment of superhero comics where the male gaze is all consuming. It’s the same with costumes – I’ve written before about how I love Catwoman’s sexual manner and look, but that the lack of diversity within the superhero comics renders her as still victim of the male gaze rather than owning her own sexuality.

    I do not think that superwoman should only be written by women of course, but the fact remains that in a very male-dominated medium with a severe lack of diversity in the women characters, bondage and skimpy costumes are… problematic at best, rife with misogyny at worst.

    After all, Superman is not running around in even shorts and no top to better soak up the sun and with disregard for any weapons thrown his way. While I would love to see Diana’s sexuality and power addressed in that way… superhero comics (and television, and movies… depressing!) have a lot of work to do to get to that level.

  44. Slight correction – I grew up with The NEW Adventures of Superman. I’m not quite that old ;)

  45. BIG THANKS for the shout-out, Laura. I agree with everything you brought up in article (including getiing my hands on Lois again, LOL! and a *sigh* because the odds of that happening are slim to none.

    I have to say, though, that as I read through the comments, it really bothered me, and hurt me to some degree, that not one of them, including those from Phil Jimenez, mentioned me or my run on WW with George. I personally thnk the finest WW story we ever did together was CHALK DRAWINGS, a story that looked at suicide from the PERSPECTIVE OF THOSE LEFT BEHIND, including a page in which Diana and Hippolyta are talking about an Amazon who committed suicide shortly after the women moved to Themiscrya….

    And as for Etta, way back when I wrote WW (the first woman to do so, which my friend Gail Simone has constantly tried to point out, especially when she was interviewed by the NY TIMES as the first woman to write WW–I told her that if the TIMES had accepted that, then there would have been no story–anyway, back to Etta…

    …I wrote a scene in which Diana was unable to use a toaster without burning the toast, which Etta pointed out–my thought was that Diana would be a total clutz when it came to using everyday modern conveniences since, of course, there are no toasters on Themiscrya. It was a much beloved scene.

  46. @Mindy Newell: I apologize; you’re right. It’s easy to use shorthand and only refer to George Perez for the 1980s relaunch of Wonder Woman, but that is unfair to you. I mentioned wishing the post-GP art run, but didn’t refer to Jill Thompson by name, either. (Or Cynthia Martin, Colleen Doran…) I’m sorry for that and will be more careful about that in the future.

    I’d love for you to get your hands on Lois Lane again, too! I fondly recall your mini with Grey Morrow. (I need to dig that out of storage.)

  47. Synsidar says:

    How does a reader benefit by being a fan of a character, as opposed to being a fan of creators who choose to handle particular characters? Unless being the former fills some deep psychological need, he or she doesn’t. All that being a fan of a character does is set the fan up to be manipulated for profit.

    Perhaps the major reason for reading a story, aside from appreciating the storytelling aesthetics (which includes entertainment value) is to appreciate the points the writer (creator) makes in the story. A character is only a tool a writer uses to make the story’s point.

    Utilizing a few themes in storytelling isn’t an aesthetic sin, but it’s hard to see the value in using the same character repeatedly to make the same point(s) repeatedly. Boredom is inevitable, for someone who wants to be entertained, or intellectually stimulated; perhaps the only reason to enjoy stories which repeatedly make the same point is that the reader sees the story as part of a politico-social crusade to make the world a better place.

    Azzarello’s WONDER WOMAN storyline is as entertaining as it is largely because Azzarello isn’t crusading for anything. He’s telling a story about an Olympian power struggle, with Diana stuck in the middle of it. The reader doesn’t know who will live or die, prosper or be vanquished; he or she has to read and see what happens. That is far more entertaining than reading any conceivable story that presents Diana as a feminist icon. Anybody who’s read WONDER WOMAN stories knows she’s an icon; people who would rather do the laundry than read a WONDER WOMAN story know that she’s an icon. Creating a story that does nothing more than put the icon on stage doesn’t serve any creative purpose.

    The Superman-Wonder Woman romance means nothing to me; I couldn’t care less about it, because it’s transparent manipulation, aimed at readers who are fans of the characters.

    SRS

  48. Whatever says:

    @Keith Bowden
    I had no intention of stating “oh well I guess it’s one for the ladies” but I guess that’s what you got out of it and I will take responsibility for my poor writing. I do however think that a lot women grew up with WW and she is by default the female hero, due to a lack of selection. I am NOT saying oh well one for the girls, I am saying women deserve better. Sure good writing helps this new run is selling okay because of good writing and despite of a fundamentally flawed character. WW is a perennially bad selling book because of a bad character not bad writing. Say what you want about Jedi and superhero power fantasys they are clearly resonating with a lot buying customers. Batman is a perfect example clearly a lot of folks relate to him in a way they don’t to WW. You are denying the fact that the reason WW doesn’t sell is WW. The character is an uninteresting mess and no amount of empassioned analysis can fix that. I think there should better female characters it’s not my fault so don’t try and call me a misogynist. It could be WonderMan the character does not really work, consumption is telling you that. You can blow off characters being relatable and you can blow off the sky being blue doesn’t change anything facts are facts, WW will always be 3rd rate.

  49. Great piece, and I’m in utter agreement. Personally, I dislike most of the current run; I hate Azzarello’s take on the Greek gods, turning them into British hipsters and fugitives from a Joan Collins soap opera, and although I originally liked Chiang’s drawing of WW (decently covered, beautiful but not a pole dancer, you know.) I’m really annoyed that in his art she never changes expression. Doesn’t she ever, like, smile?

  50. George says:

    Didn’t read all of the comments, but perhaps this “kiss” between WW & orion is actually WW giving Orion CPR. Can’t really go by covers nowadays.

  51. Audrey says:

    @Whatever, I’m not even sure if you are just trolling at this point.

    Look, you can argue that alot of women grew up with Wonder Woman and that she has become the “default” female superhero to some people. But that doesn’t negate the fact that this character has maintained a pop culture hold on the general public for decades now and that is WITHOUT a modern media property to hold their attention.

    Really think about that. Wonder Woman has not had a media property in decades now. Batman has had two different film franchises and an animated series. Superman has had two different TV franchises that were both successful and several film franchises. So it’s understandable why Batman and Superman have maintained their hold over the general public in terms of the male superhero domain.

    Wonder Woman has had NONE of that. And yet….she is still everywhere. Women still buy underwear at Target with her logo on it. Women buy t-shirts. People know what she LOOKS like…they know who she is. Sure, they may not know her backstory or know her supporting cast but they know that she is Wonder Woman.

    We’ve had several X-Men movies. We’ve had the Avengers. We’ve had Catwoman on the screen. We’ve had animated series that feature a pleathora of female superheroes. And yet, people still consider Wonder Woman the top.

    Arguably the only woman that gives Wonder Woman any competition in the pop culture context in terms of instant recognition in the superhero context is Lois Lane. That’s it. Wonder Woman is still more well known than all of those other female heroes. Why is that? You can’t just discount that this character clearly MEANS something to people and resonates even if not everyone knows who she is or knows all the details about her.

    Wonder Woman has had some rough patches in comics. I’m struggling with the current run on the book myself and clearly I can’t stand the whole thing with Superman. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the character herself has endured just like Batman and Superman have and she has done it without the benefit of media properties every few years keeping her in the public consciousness. That is huge!

    @Mindy, You are so right. It’s so easy to just refer to the Perez era and forget to give credit to everyone who was involved. That is such a huge oversight. You are such an inspiration to so many. I absolutely loved what you said about Diana and Etta and Diana and the household appliances. That is the kind of interaction I would love to see between Diana and Etta. I’m such a huge fan of that friendship and I would really kill to see their interaction given some depth. I fear I will be waiting a long time in the current books.

    Also, what i wouldn’t give to have you write a story about Diana and Lois Lane. Phil Jiminez and Joe kelly wrote that amazing Diana/Lois story a few years back and it’s still a story that means so much to me.

    I truly hope you know how appreciate you are, Mindy!

  52. Whatever says:

    @Audrey
    That’s EXACTLY my point. The character is a household name. No franchise, no movie, no interest from the general public what so ever. People have a nostalgic feeling toward Linda Carter and the costume and because there is still NO viable alternative to WW. Neither Marvel or DC had offered a serious alternative. Ask yourself if WW really was relevant today wouldn’t there be a movie? Wouldn’t she have had a few cartoons? Maybe more than one tired monthly that barely sells. People like the costume, no one cares about the character enough because her origin and back story is bunch of poorly thought out ideas that no one relates to and doesn’t even have consistency. If you want to have WW party and talk about how awesome she is that’s fine but general superhero product consumption proves she is irrelevant.

  53. Whatever says:

    BTW I say this as the father of 2 daughters dissapointed that the character they love ( visually, they are too young to read ) is completely boring and any interest in her story is not rewarded. Everyone one deserves better.

  54. Phil Jimenez says:

    @Mindy Newell — I apologize for hurting your feelings. Actually, the Eris/Lois Lane/Paradise Island story you worked on with George is my favorite of that run, and it’s long been a secret dream of mine to redraw it. I meant no disrespect my “shorthanding” that era as the “Perez” era and will try to be more concise, and accurate, when talking about it and your contributions to it in the future.

  55. Audrey says:

    @Whatever, yes you are absolutely trolling at this point but ok. Fine.

    1.) Your argument that “no one identifies with Wonder Woman” doesn’t really hold muster when there are thousands of women who openly admit that they identify with her. A documentary just aired on PBS with women proudly declaring that they identified with her.

    I am a woman and I identify with Wonder Woman. I identify strongly with TWO female comics characters. They are Lois Lane and Wonder Woman. They are my #1 and #2. Always. I am one of many.

    2.) Why doesn’t Wonder Woman have a movie? Well let’s see ….because Hollywood is sexist? Because female driven properties are never given the same attention and care as the male properties are? Because female directors and writers who would probably love to work on the film are discriminated against in Hollywood? Because Hollywood is sexist? Take your pick.

    Also, I got news for you dude….she may have a movie soon. And if she doesn’t have a movie she MAY have a TV show on the CW within the next year or so. I can’t imagine that THAT will do well. It’s not like the CW has made money off of superhero properties before or had any success at all marketing superheroes to women. Oh wait…

    3.) No interest from the public? Ok, so why is it then that when the Wonder woman make-up line came out a few years ago I had to stand in line for like 2 hours at my MAC store in order to even get one or two pieces from it and half the collection was sold out by the time I got to the front of the line? On the first day. Sure, no one cares about Wonder woman!

    But no you are totally right. A narrative about a woman that leaves home for the first time and has a complex relationship with her mother is not at all relevant to today’s modern audiences. Totally. Sure. A narrative about a mother who can’t conceive a child and finds a way to have a miracle baby is not at all relevant or emotionally resonant to millions of women who can’t have a baby and would die for a miracle like that. Sure. Not at all relevant. A narrative about a woman who comes to a new world and meets new friends and saves a handsome military guy (bc yes I love me some Steve Trevor) is totally not going to resonate with today’s youth.

    Look, I can’t even tell if you are just trolling at this point or if you are actually serious. But you clearly care enough about Wonder Woman to waste time saying how much she sucks on this post! You are proving your own point!

  56. Phil Jimenez says:

    “Azzarello’s WONDER WOMAN storyline is as entertaining as it is largely because Azzarello isn’t crusading for anything. He’s telling a story about an Olympian power struggle, with Diana stuck in the middle of it. The reader doesn’t know who will live or die, prosper or be vanquished; he or she has to read and see what happens.”

    For what it’s worth, this ground has been covered a dozen times (at least) in Wonder Woman’s comics in the past, most notably in Greg Rucka’s terrific run a few years back. It’s not new territory.

    “That is far more entertaining than reading any conceivable story that presents Diana as a feminist icon.”

    Entertaining? Maybe. But certainly not inspirational or enlightening, and those are the qualities of Wonder Woman that not only got me through childhood, drove me to write and draw comics, but still motivate me to this very day. I think inspiration is an incredibly potent quality. Entertainment is wonderful, and I’m entertained by a lot of things. I’m inspired, however, only by a very few. The ideals/ politics of Wonder Woman, and the best iterations of the character herself, are definitely one of those few.

  57. JanArrah says:

    @Laura Yes better titles have been cancelled for this current Wonder Woman, but that’s the history of comics. Great titles sometimes don’t sell well and that’s unfortunate. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point out that while sales have been better than the previous comic that just ended, it hasn’t been a historical high.

    Also much of the critical acclaim comes from people who openly admit to having never really read Wonder Woman or to remembering only a few stories that she has had. Critical Acclaim is great, but it ultimately doesn’t equate to a great title or great sales on a title. There are plenty of titles that get critical acclaim for just being reactionary and different from what has happened before. The biggest thing for me though is the title gets acclaim IN SPITE of Diana not because of. That to me is not to be celebrated. She’s barely in her OWN comic and when she is, her personality rarely shines through or really gels. Plus a lot of the critical acclaim is now wearing off as the series progresses and people realize, this is all there is.

  58. Whatever says:

    Match, set Audrey you win. I am glad someone has passion for the character. They should give you an out of continuity WW like they did with Superman. You are more interesting than Azzarello.

  59. Synsidar says:

    I think inspiration is an incredibly potent quality.

    But what readers who are older than preteens are supposed to be inspired by a superhero morality play? What makes writing quality fiction difficult are such things as devising an original plot, making the characters realistic, having them changed significantly by events, and providing a satisfying ending. It’s not presenting character sketches supported by artwork as people, invoking “suspension of disbelief” to blame the readers when they complain about the characters not being realistic, or having a hero go through the motions of battling a villain simply to have the noble hero triumph, until readers demand to see the villain again because the villain is more interesting than the hero.

    The daily news broadcasts around the country are full of inspiring people and events, if people choose to see them. I wouldn’t characterize writing morality plays as a bad thing to do, but thinking of them as inspirational is on a level with thinking that writing a piece of Christian fiction will save people’s lives by convincing them to accept God as their savior. The people who read Christian fiction have already been saved.

    If a story has a point to it, the reader can explain to someone else why the story is good, why the theme resonates with him, and how the parts blend together to produce a whole greater than the sum of the parts. If a fan of a superhero tries to explain to someone why he should be a fan too, he can’t. A naked power fantasy lacks a point.

    SRS

  60. @ Everybody: INDEPENDENT LENS on PBS has a documentary entitled WONDER WOMEN, which features a lot of our favorite Amazon. Here’s the website: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/wonder-women/

  61. Dean Hacker says:

    Interesting piece.

    For me, the trouble with Wonder Woman is twofold. First, her natural themes are an anathema to the sort of corporate entertainment entity that owns her. Second, she lacks a meaningful contrast character within the DCU.

    On the first point, Phil Jimenez did a far better job than I could laying out the major themes of a good Wonder Woman story. She is a character that is uniquely well-suited to explore the subjects of sex, gender and feminism. None of those subjects have much of a tradition in the various Boy’s Adventure genres that formed the Gumbo of the modern superhero narrative. Batman can always tell another crime story. Spider-Man is never done coming-of-age.

    On the second, superhero fans have been trained to think in opposing dualities. You have Marvel vs. DC. You have Batman vs. Superman. You have X-Men vs. The Avengers. The list goes on and on. Wonder Woman, by contrast, is sui generis. There quite simply is not another non-derivative female superhero who has maintained her own title for 50+ issues. That leaves her alone on the A-list of super-heroines. Without a contrast character, superhero fans really don’t know what to do with her.

  62. David says:

    Extremely cool discussion! I feel very strongly about all this myself, so I hope it will be OK to post a link to a petition I’ve started about this here, where I outline my very similar concerns:

    https://www.change.org/petitions/warner-brothers-dc-comics-restore-the-classic-wonder-woman-character-and-her-mission-of-peace

    I don’t want a second WW title if it’s got the same premise and backstory as Azzarello’s. I think something along the lines of the non-continuity classic-style Adventures of Superman (now homophobia-free since Card isn’t connected to it anymore, yay!) or Legends of the Dark Knight would be great, and I look forward to Grant Morrison’s story as well.

  63. Synsidar says:

    I don’t want a second WW title if it’s got the same premise and backstory as Azzarello’s.

    You’re illustrating what is perhaps the worst thing about being focused on Wonder Woman, instead of on the message. If someone wants to say something meaningful about feminism, then the problem is figuring out the best way to say it, in any given medium. The character is important only to the degree that it helps make the statement. When the “character” is the only, or overwhelming concern, then the message isn’t really important. What are important are making a successful property out of Wonder Woman and raking in the $$$.

    If somebody wants to say something–anything–meaningful about feminism, then go ahead and say it.

    SRS

  64. awesomedude says:

    the wonder woman comic you claim would be great has already exisited. It was Greg Rucka’s run. And it was indeed great, the best run in her entire 70 year history.

  65. David says:

    @Synsidar, I totally don’t understand what you mean. I think that the message can matter very much, and treating the character well can matter very much. I also honestly believe that the attitude DC seems to be showing of what you describe as “What are important are making a successful property out of Wonder Woman and raking in the $$$” is toxic and wrong, and perhaps the root of the problem of not only how Diana is being treated but the current DCU in general (and also that treating “raking in the $$$” as the most important thing is one of the most destructive things we have in society, and the cause of many evils…).

  66. Synsidar says:

    @Synsidar, I totally don’t understand what you mean. I think that the message can matter very much, and treating the character well can matter very much.

    My point is that nobody, absolutely nobody, except for Wonder Woman’s owners, benefits from people being fans of Wonder Woman. Her fans see her as a symbol of feminism, etc.; people who write Wonder Woman porn use her as a symbol of a weak woman who can be broken and turned into a sex slave.

    Her publishing history has shown that the largely male superhero comics audience isn’t receptive to stories about Wonder Woman, the symbol. It’s long past time to stop trying to sell feminism-themed stories to them. If someone wants to write a story on the theme of feminism, then write it for an audience that appreciates the theme. Wonder Woman could work well in the story, but a nigh-infinite number of other approaches could work too.

    Rejecting Azzarello’s storyline in favor of the classic (failed) Wonder Woman interpretation accomplishes nothing. Being a fan of the classic Wonder Woman accomplishes nothing, because being a fan of a fictional character is simply confusing reality with fantasy. If someone seriously wants to advocate feminism, then get out into the real world and do it.

    SRS

  67. David says:

    @Synsidar (I have no idea what you use to put things in italics on this site, by the way–[i]test?[/i])…

    “My point is that nobody, absolutely nobody, except for Wonder Woman’s owners, benefits from people being fans of Wonder Woman.”

    I have no idea what you mean there. I’m a fan of all kinds of things. I benefit, certainly, from being a fan of the things I like and care about…?

    “Her fans see her as a symbol of feminism, etc.; people who write Wonder Woman porn use her as a symbol of a weak woman who can be broken and turned into a sex slave.”

    … so? The abuse does not abolish the use.

    “Her publishing history has shown that the largely male superhero comics audience isn’t receptive to stories about Wonder Woman, the symbol. It’s long past time to stop trying to sell feminism-themed stories to them.”

    Except she’s been around quite happily for decades and decades. (And is focused on more than just feminism, of course, which is why I emphasize her mission of peace!)

    “If someone wants to write a story on the theme of feminism, then write it for an audience that appreciates the theme. Wonder Woman could work well in the story, but a nigh-infinite number of other approaches could work too.”

    If someone doesn’t yet appreciate the theme, then perhaps they’re more in need of hearing the message than otherwise. And again, those issues and themes are part of WW’s intrinsic essential nature and reason for existing in the first place.

    “Rejecting Azzarello’s storyline in favor of the classic (failed) Wonder Woman interpretation accomplishes nothing.”

    I don’t see it as failed at all. It’s certainly helped inspire me, both when I was younger and now.

    “Being a fan of the classic Wonder Woman accomplishes nothing, because being a fan of a fictional character is simply confusing reality with fantasy.”

    That seems to be a concept that the majority of the human race at all times that I can think of, in any era of history, does not agree with. Fictional characters have been loved for literally millennia (and even if one considers, say, Heracles or Thor to have been considered non-fictional by their original audience, once the audience stopped believing in them as real, they were loved all the same right on down to the present day, as we can see in the movies and comics of our own era). As Samuel Johnson said, “Nay, Sir, if you will not take the universal opinion of mankind, I have nothing to say.”

    “If someone seriously wants to advocate feminism, then get out into the real world and do it.”

    It’s not mutually exclusive to do it in real life and enjoy inspiring stories of a character who represents those ideals, you know! :)

  68. I do have to point out that Azarello’s Wonder Woman has not been a great success sales wise. We are back down to pre reboot numbers(and still on the decline) which given the fact that comic sales are up a great deal and the DCnU has been highly promoted kind of points to the failure of his run. Azarello is a niche writer great at horror and crime and dark creepy comics that appeal to the Veritgo crowd. He is not as appealing to people who just want good superhero stories and the numbers are reflecting this. It is sad that he has gutted her character and it has been all for nothing. Of course it is always Wonder Woman’s fault not the writing (though Rucka did build her numbers up to 100,000 from 22,000 without gutting the character and they let him go.)

  69. It’s terrific to have Phil JImenez and Mindy Newell on this Wonder Woman thread: they’ve definitely paid their dues on this character! First, I would offer that Wonder Woman’s supporting cast; Steve Trevor and Etta Candy; have not aged particularly well over their various incarnations. Geoff Johns in JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA has given Steve an interesting part to play, however, and I look forward to seeing Steve in that book, but ONLY in that book, as a jilted suitor stuck with second-tier superheroes. Etta was an effective sidekick in the Golden Age, back when sidekicks were ubiquitous and invaluable to superhero comics, but that whole “Newsboy Legion” vibe basically went out the window once Black Canary took over the Johnny Thunder feature back in the day. That layer of storytelling is gone since the Silver Age and Etta Candy has been a distraction in the Wonder Woman comics for me ever since. My favorite Wonder Woman stories often occur outside of her own title. LOIS LANE #136 “Wonder Woman: Mrs. Superman” by Cary Bates, John Rosenberger and Vinnie Colletta where Wonder Woman pretends to date Superman in order to protect Lois from an assassins’ plot is a great glimpse into Lois’s head. Jiminez’s own WONDER WOMAN #170 (third series); dialogued by Joe Kelly, inked by Andy Lanning; where Lois interviews Wonder Woman; is the best story of those two icons interacting. WONDER WOMAN PLUS JESSIE QUICK #1 “Heroes” by Christopher Priest, Mike Collins and Tom Palmer is a one-shot where Wonder Woman pops into the middle of a situation where Jessie is hellbent on revenge but Wonder Woman persuades her towards mercy. JLA: HEAVEN’S LADDER treasury-sized edition by Mark Waid, Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary in which Wonder Woman shows what an Amazon princess can do in space when the world is at stake. For me, these glimpses of how well Wonder Woman can work in comics make her lack of great storylines over her own title’s history all the more galling! I am an unabashed fan of what Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang have done with Wonder Woman, from correcting her “clay” origins to modifying her relationships to the Greek gods to her interactions with the Kirbyverse: these are all fundamentally fantastic to me as a reader! Sure, I want less misdirection and I want deeper characterization, but Azzarello is integrating the Amazon mythology in such an entertaining way compared to earlier creators that I am always impressed by his efforts issue after issue, and am often amazed. There are so many “sand traps” that William Moulton Marston has designed into his “Wonder Woman golf course”; to coin a phrase; but Azzarello has so far managed to avoid most of them. Yes, Azzarello still needs to give Wonder Woman a deeply-felt life apart from battle, but that’s successfully been done before, as WONDER WOMAN #200 (first series) “The Beauty Hater!” by Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano amply attests. Yes, Wonder Woman needs to be made the central player in her own title during this massive battle of the gods, but such an assertion is possible, as WONDER WOMAN #183-184 (first series) “Return To Paradise Island!” by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano magnificently proves. I would love for the upcoming Grant Morrison effort to be the silver bullet that gets Wonder Woman completely on track, but I fear it will take more than one graphic novel (even one by Grant) to pull that off. If a Wonder Woman movie is ever to be made, I believe that Azzarello’s efforts has provided the blood and the treasure needed to make it great! Azzarello has provided the moves, so far, but he has yet to give Wonder Woman her voice, her dreams, her song. He still might, but even without that, Azzarello has done Wonder Woman proud: bravo!

  70. Synsidar says:

    Novelist Claire Messud, on writers and their characters:

    In the latest fracas over literary sexism, Claire Messud objected to a comment an interviewer made about whether she would want to be friends with the main character of her new novel, The Woman Upstairs.

    The interviewer asks: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.”

    And Messud answers:

    “For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t ‘is this a potential friend for me?’ but ‘is this character alive?’ ”

    Messud wasn’t talking about serial characters, but those characters are no more real, no more capable of being someone’s friends, than the murderous, hateful dirtbags in crime novels are.

    SRS

  71. As to the New 52’s dissolution of the Supermarriage between Superman and Lois Lane, and the current romance between Wonder Woman and Superman in Justice League, a few thoughts. First, Superman and Lois Lane were created 2 years before Wonder Woman in 1939, so Wonder Woman would have been seen as a wedding crasher by 1940s comics readers had she taken up with Superman at that time. Also, Wonder Woman was introduced right before America entered WWII and; unlike hyper-patriotic characters such as Uncle Sam and the Blackhawks; tempered her America-first rhetoric with exhortations for harmony and peace, making her appeal deeper and less strident than those other faintly-remembered characters. Steve Trevor was created as a war-time romantic interest, which is a time-honored tradition and should have served him well despite the jarring gender-reversal. However, there was never any resistance or reluctance by Trevor to Wonder Woman, she always had him at “hello” and he was immediately swooning over her as soon as their eyes first met in her Invisible Plane. He was a fighter pilot shot down over her exotic island, she saves his life and flies him back home, so Trevor was always the weaker sex in this dance. Where’s the fun in that? In comparison, Lois always had a spine when dealing with Superman/Clark Kent. In Action Comics #1 she said to Clark, “You asked me earlier in the evening why I avoid you. I’ll tell you why now! Because you’re a spineless, unbearable COWARD!” Ouch! And it’s not like Superman was mooning over Lois from the get-go after he had rescued her from certain death a second time, Lois leans into him meekly and says, “But when will I see you again!” Superman replies, “Who knows? Perhaps tomorrow — perhaps never!” Double ouch! There was always a “dance” between Superman and Lois Lane, which made them the most enduring romance in superhero comics, whereas Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor always felt clunky to me. I think Geoff Johns in Justice League has dealt with Trevor properly by kicking him to the curb. As soon as Superman realizes the importance of his Clark Kent persona; because that’s what the New 52 has been having him wrestle with; then I believe that Lois will return to her rightful place as Superman’s girlfriend. Or not! Wonder Woman can take up with someone in the Kirbyverse or even one of the ancient gods without blinking an eye at this point: Azzarello has expanded her romantic options tremendously with his current storyline. As the TV show ONCE UPON A TIME is showing us, a little bit of magic in the romantic goes a long way, baby! Why shouldn’t Wonder Woman get some of that to shake her pants? :)

  72. I think you and I might be brain twins, because this is EXACTLY how I feel about this Azzarello ordeal. I do believe that Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, George Perez, and Phil Jimenez had a good grasp of what Diana is about and what’s her deal in this world. It makes me sad that she’s been portrayed as stupid, oblivious and sometimes even gullible in Azzarello’s run. I kept reading up until #17 and I’m not sure I can handle it any longer.
    And it makes me even sadder that, you’re right, people only care about what she’s wearing and who she’s dating. Robin didn’t wear pants, now he does. Did anyone talk about that? Nope. It’s sad. Wonder Woman is literally the most famous female super-hero and yet she doesn’t get half the relevant attention her male counterparts do.

  73. I disagree that any character could be plunked down into this storyline and it would make sense. What other character is so at ease in the mythological milieu? What other character could conceivably state they “love everyone,” and be so concerned with a young girl and her baby that she can’t be bothered with the power play happening around her? What other character is known to help change the characters of men (and now gods) for the better? And what other character has been hinted at having had a father before, usually Hercules, from Marston to Messner-Loebs to Perez, and even having had a real father under Kanigher?

    I’m thinking people are so used to the Perez model, where Aphrodite was relegated to tertiary status, replaced by the man-hating Artemis; and helping transform people’s lives were replaced with tear-jerker tales of women killing themselves– not to mention Etta Candy reduced to a jealous rival instead of best friend– that this Diana is unrecognizable.

    I also don’t agree that she’s “stupid” for not having known about the sex raids (which I’m not convinced is the whole story). Even if they were true, she was 18 when she left the island, and the raids happen every 33 years. Chances are she wasn’t even alive or too young to notice. She was stupid for being tricked by Hades? What, is she supposed to be handcuffed to Zola? Hades is a god, for crying out loud, and in this story a veritable supervillain. If the villains can’t win sometimes what’s the point?

    Oh, and Steve yes, shorts yes.

  74. I wish Lena Dunham or Cody Diablo would write a Wonder Woman arc. While I really enjoy Brian Azzarello’s writing, I just can’t relate to Wonder Woman, and like you mention I think a big part of that is doing away with Etta. Wonder Woman has so much potential, to be a relatable strong woman making mistakes and dealing with the power dynamics of being in a team dominated by men. And this can be done with her pants/panty attire. Look at Adam Warren’s Empowered, Emp is chronically underdressed but it doesn’t matter because it’s part of the fun of a smart, engaging story where I connect with a female protoganist.

  75. Wonder Woman and Superman? Seriously? I don’t see how that makes any sort of sense, especially since Superman is *ehem* MARRIED. Isn’t it enough to have a Green Lantern/Hawkgirl/Hawkman triangle? Why is infidelity so glorified?

    I am a big WW supporter and as a feminist and one who would value other women, I do not think that Diana would willingly enroach on another woman’s territory (Superman) out of simple respect for her fellow (STRONG) sister. Diana has her own set of morals – she should be a female version of the values Superman was founded on: Strength, resiliance, truth, and an infalliable spirit. Coming from a world full of women where she lived in peace, she would be grounded in her morality. She does not have to be overly sexual. As a matter of fact, her outfit was never meant to be sexy, it was meant to be practical with little clothing getting in the way of battle. She is a warrior princess with her heart set upon bringing peace to Man’s world. She would not hook up with a seemingly “perfect” companion, which brings me to my next point.

    Women are nurturing, and in being so, Diana would gravitate towards Batman. He is the most tortured of superheroes (in my opinion) in the DCU. She would be drawn to his inner turmoil and would want to lend him strength. He is human, not super, and carries all the baggage that humanity has to offer. He is the product of an imperfect male world with all the crime, grief, anger and rage that comes with it. She would want to be the light to his darkness, and Bruce would respect her for the strong, intelligent, competent woman that she is. He is a broken little boy that grew up to be a damaged man, and ladies – correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we find ourselves drawn to those that hurt (particularly men) and try to heal them?

    It seems to me that poor wonder woman has been labeled a slut because we have lost sight of why she was created in the first place. She was born into the world of comics at a time when women were joining the workforce because their husbands, brothers, fathers, and lovers were off fighting a war. She is a symbol of our strength and it’s high time that we remember that. Just like Superman is the symbol for what men SHOULD be, Wonder Woman is OUR symbol as well. Why have we let the world turn her into a sex symbol? Why should she be promiscuous? She would look at promiscuity as defiling herself for NO man has a place inside her (physically or metaphorically) without her express permission and without earning the right to be there.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] get a gatefold Cliff Chiang drawing.  First and foremost, Laura Sneddon at the Beat has written a pretty interesting take on the Wonder Woman book–definitely check it out.  She hits on a lot of my issues with [...]

  2. [...] In case you missed it in the comments of Laura Sneddon’s controversial Wonder Woman post, former Wonder Woman artist and writer Phil Jimenez has jumped in with an in-depth analysis of what [...]

  3. [...] is a pretty deep discussion of Wonder Woman going on at Comics Beat, primarily about the feminism side of things. But there’s also the question of why we [...]

  4. [...] who DC thinks will replace Lois in Superman’s affections, there’s a terrific post at Comics Beat about her current series, and you can find an incredible discussion in the comments, including some [...]

  5. [...] WOMAN #20: The slow build towards the Wonder Woman Gang’s (because again, that’s what the book should be called going forward, because this isn’t so much a book [...]

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