- Posted by Johanna on July 12, 2010 at 8:32 am
- Category: Comic News
Batman celebrated his 700th issue by voyaging through time. Superman decided (dumbly) to walk across the country and get in touch with everyday people, complete with a contest to get people involved (link no longer available).
What does Wonder Woman get for her 600th anniversary issue? How do they promote the female member of the Big Three? They give her a change of clothes. Oh, there’s more to it than that, including implications that her origin has changed as well, and we all know it’s just a temporary thing to get people talking. (It worked!)
Leaving aside the creative bankruptcy of changing the character as soon as new writer J. Michael Straczynski arrives, which suggests a lack of willingness to approach her history honestly or do any research, one of the reasons so many people have reacted to this, I think, is that it’s an ugly costume, with too many bits stolen from other places. For instance, her bracelets have become fingerless gloves where ” if you get hit by one of them, it leaves a W mark.” Wow, just like the Phantom’s ring. Nothing like copying a hero who’s never been all that successful in the U.S. And what’s with the spurs-without-the-useful-bits boot design?
It’s great that, after 70 years, she finally gets a pair of pants. But why are they black? Does someone have fond memories of the biker jacket/bike pants/bra top Mike Deodato era of the mid-90s? At least that outfit had some stars visible. This design is too far away from her classic look, with the wrong colors and generic bits’n'pieces shaken together by designer Jim Lee.
Then there’s the tone-deafness of some of Straczynski’s comments, as when he said, “What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?” Gee, anyone with a uniform? Nurses? Soldiers? They can be female too. And not every woman cares about clothes or fashion.
I also don’t understand why male writers get so competitive over her. Straczynski said, “Wonder Woman is a strong, dynamic, vibrant character who should be selling in the top 20, and I’m going to do all I can to get her there.” It’s all about the ranking, isn’t it? I’m reminded of when John Byrne had his run on the character, and for him it was all about proving Wonder Woman was second only to Superman in the DC universe.
But you’ve heard all this griping before, multiple times over the past two weeks. The reason I’m bothering to talk about it now is that this event spawned some really great blog posts, and I wanted to make sure you saw them.
- Heidi MacDonald did a survey of WW’s cover looks over the years.
- DC Women Kicking Ass points out how much it resembles times in the past when Diana has been a pirate!
- J. Caleb Mozzocco found similarities with Lynx, a minor Batman supporting character.
- Johnny Bacardi, in response to JMS slamming on the 60s era, takes a visual tour of Diana’s mod look.
- In response, Alex de Campi shares art from her 2007 WW revamp pitch by Federica Manfredi featuring a teen Diana.
- Chris Samnee makes a discarded costume Aquaman joke.
- In 2006, Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram, Suburban Glamour) came up with a similar (but more elegant, imo) redesign.
- Then there’s Project Rooftop, the superhero costume redesign blog, which has some amusing cartoons.
- Lewis Lovhaug rips apart JMS’ statements about the new direction in a long rant that illustrates how much some people care about the character.
- Ragnell does the same, only she likes the costume, mostly. Her main complaint is how often the company has taken a weed whacker (her metaphor) to the character’s history.
- Tom Spurgeon has a great deal of insight about working with long-established characters. He likes the idea of a costume change, but not this particular one, and asks the key question: “why doesn’t that character have an all-ages title?”
Reading all these reactions, I was surprised at how much I learned about Wonder Woman’s comics history. Why didn’t I remember she’d been a space pirate?