Where’s Wonder Woman?

In the coverage of DC’s new Earth One announcement, many people have noted that there’s no mention of the missing member of DC’s Big Three: Wonder Woman. Cheryl Lynn attempts to remedy that by posting a dynamite story suggestion for a Wonder Woman revamp.

12 Responses to “Where’s Wonder Woman?”

  1. Chad Says:

    I was with her right up until the severed penises.

    In all seriousness, though, I’d check out a book featuring that Wonder Woman.

    It is interesting that Cheryl Lynn feels DC can’t give her an “all warrior” Wonder Woman because the character has to “remain ‘safe’ enough to be an icon that could sell t-shirts to little girls.” As the father of a 3-year-old girl who loves Wonder Woman, I wouldn’t give my daughter the current comic (not that it’s bad, just that it’s not really age appropriate), and there isn’t a lot of kid-friendly WW product currently being produced.

    Sure, she’s a member of Johnny DC’s comic-book version of the Super Friends, but the FIVE male heroes on the team just get in the way and steal her screen time. (And don’t get me started on the fact that the accompanying Super Friends toy line has yet to release a Wonder Woman doll — what the heck? Thank goodness for the JLU toys.)

    Anyway, I’d maybe suggest that it’s not so much that DC wants Wonder Woman to remain pristine for little girls — just look at what they let Batman and Superman get away with while still pitching those characters’ toys to little boys — it’s just that they’ve rarely done right by the character (George Perez’s run being the most notable exception).

    The shining example of that? A few years back, Darwyn Cooke pitched the idea of he and J. Bone doing a Wonder Woman comic that little girls could read, and DC didn’t go for it. (Maybe they were still irked that WW wasn’t rail-thin in New Frontier?) If they can’t approve a slam dunk like that, I don’t know that they’d ever approve an interesting reimagining like Ms. Lynn’s.

  2. Johanna Says:

    It’s true that Wonder Woman, as the only well-known female superhero, has additional baggage that a company has to deal with. No matter how they treat her, someone will complain, so sometimes it is easier to handle her with neglect instead. And just sell the t-shirts.

  3. Chad Says:

    And don’t get me wrong,
    there are some nice T-shirts!

    The neglect just makes no sense, especially given the current fascination with princesses among young girls. Here’s DC, with an honest-to-goodness princess character who’s anything but passive, and they’re doing nothing to take advantage of that fact.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Great observation. If they billed her as the Patriotic Princess, bam, what audience potential!

  5. Johanna Says:

    Oh, and regarding t-shirts, my brother gave me one the same color as the one you linked to but with Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl. It’s nifty!

  6. Susan Says:

    I don’t know if you saw this from about two years ago: http://ruckawriter.livejournal.com/31761.html
    That is a work-safe link. If you follow his link to the actual image, it is probably not work-safe if you are in a conservative environment.
    Basically, DC won’t market Wonder Woman to girls or women, but will authorize use of her costume–in body paint no less–on the cover of Playgirl. At about the same time, the American Library Association came out with a Wonder Woman READ poster, to follow up their Batman and Superman posters, so on that front, at least, she is considered one of the big three. Other currently available posters are Barbara Gordon as a librarian, not as Oracle, and the Bat Family. In the past they have had posters of the Teen Titans (Cartoon Network flavor) and one with a ton of DC heroes. We still have that an a quick glance suggests it’s about 75%-80% male heroes.

  7. Susan Says:

    A couple of years ago I wondered whether DC had even heard of the Internet–I mean, didn’t they think that photo was going to get out and haven’t they heard of Google image search? I checked off and on for a couple of months, but it wasn’t in the results right away. Writing about the cover today reminded me, and sure enough, the Playboy cover (with SEX right by her shoulder) is now the third result. And that is with Moderate Safe Search on.

  8. Johanna Says:

    I’m not so sure DC authorized that image. It’s not the actual costume, just close enough to be clear what they were “homaging”. The DC I knew would never have given approval for that for reasons similar to what you cite: customer confusion and age inappropriateness.

  9. Tommy Raiko Says:

    I tend to agree, Johanna. DC may not have publicly condemned Playboy’s use of Wonder Woman-esque imagery, but that’s not exactly the same thing as saying they actively authorized it in the first place.

    Particularly in these kinds of situations, it’s easy to imagine that DC’s position might have been something like “We’re not happy with this, but we’re not going to prolong it by getting dragged into a long legal argument about first-amendment rights with this magazine either.”

  10. Susan Says:

    But it isn’t a First Amendment right, it’s actually a trademark issue. Playboy’s use of WW iconic image was not transformative or satirical. She was meant to be seen as Wonder Woman.

    Disney has taken legal action against nursery schools that painted Disney characters on buildings in order to protect their trademark, and that at least is an association that they wouldn’t find embarassing or detrimental to their brand.

    If DC looked the other way, they aren’t protecting their trademark from infringement. Go long enough without defending against infringement, and you can lose the trademark.

    Look at it this way, if Playgirl wanted to paint Levi Johnston as Batman, do you think DC wouldn’t have objected?

  11. Tommy Raiko Says:

    You’re quite right about the whole thing being a trademark issue as much as a copyright issue, but I still think that DC could have reasoned that undertaking public condemntation or legal action against the usage wasn’t something they wanted to do.

    Interesting that you mention the Disney vs. daycare centers situation. It’s probably worth remembering that although Disney was within its rights to insist those daycare centers remove the unauthoirzed imagery of their characters, Disney got a lot of public criticism to the move–ultimately leading to Universal and Hanna-Barbera getting some good publicity when those companies offered those daycares the use of their own characters.

    Of course, had DC publicly condemned that pictorial, I don’t think they’d receive the same sort of criticism that Disney got, but I do think they would have prolonged the media attention to the story, and if they didn’t want that to happen, then I can understand why they took no (or no publicly known) action.

    With regard to your question about a theoretical Batman-themed pictoral in Playgirl, I guess my answer is that, yes, I could see a scenario in which DC wouldn’t publicly object to such a thing. After all, there was also an infamous Playboy pictoral by Kevin Smith that included a Superman-lookalike with the featured model. That’s not exactly the same scenario you’re talking about, but since that was able to happen, I don’t necessarily think that a theoretcial Playgirl/Batman version would automatically draw more public criticism on DC’s part. It may very well, but, like I said, I can see scenarios where it wouldn’t.

  12. Johanna Says:

    Susan, technically, that is not an image of Wonder Woman. The front of the costume doesn’t use either the eagle or the trademarked WW logo. The stars on the shorts are different, as is the belt and waistline design. It’s an homage, not a violation. Sure, we all know what they meant, but I believe (although I’m not a lawyer) it’s legally safe. And Tommy’s got a good point, too — they may have thought that trying to fight it would cause more trouble and bad reputation than any benefit that would result.




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