Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett looks at the new Wonder Woman.
First a correction then an apology; in last week's column I called "The Iron Curtain Caper," a 13 page story featuring Archie Andrews foreign correspondent cousin Andrew a well done "imitation" of a 50's Archie story. I knew the publisher claimed it was recently found in their archives but I assumed (like when Marvel insisted The Sentry was a "lost" character) this was so much ballyhoo. But Rik Offenberger, Public Relations Coordinator for Archie Comics emailed to inform me that to the best of their knowledge the story really was drawn in the 1950's. I apologize to him, Archie Comics and you for spreading incorrect information; once more I have proven to be too smart for my own good.
And finally a clarification; I also said that in the storyline current running in Archie would feature zombies but in Archie #610 I learned instead of raising the dead Mad Doctor Doom's plot involves turning living people into "The Walking Dazed." So the living dead still haven't appeared in a Archie comic; yet.
Well everyone else has weighed in over Wonder Woman's most recent makeover and it's still hard to believe even given a slow news cycle a costume change would generate such a visceral reaction. The New York Magazine blog Vulture screamed "Wonder Woman finally to wear pants!" to which Gloria Steinem countered via email that the new look "gives us the idea that only pants can be powerful -- tell that to Greek warriors and Sumo wrestlers." Fox News didn't care for the elimination of the patriotic elements while a lot of people echoed my first thought, that the new outfit was designed to be something an actress might feel comfortable wearing in a big budget movie. But I'll give the last word to the woman in my life whose response was "How does she use the bathroom?"
I'm not what you'd call a fashionista (someone had to very patiently explain to me the difference between leggings and pants) but personally I'm OK with what is undoubtedly a temporary story-related change -- unless of course public demand makes it permanent and I really don't see that happening.
Wonder Woman #600 a national sell out. Though for the record Super-Fly Comics & Games still has plenty of copies; I hope that's true for a lot of comic shops because it's a comic that really should be read; these sorts of anniversary issues can be sodden messes but this one is really quite good, especially the sequence drawn by Amanda Conner.
Ah, Wonder Woman, a character we can appreciate, admire, even love, but you have to wonder why a character as popular as she obviously is doesn't have a much higher profile in the media, comic books especially. And as it is to be expected I have given the matter entirely too much thought as to why this is:
She's a pagan, foreign, illegal alien.
She has no "stuff:" secret headquarters, secret identity, souvenirs, vehicles, young wards, comic relief sidekicks, etc. Wonder Woman has been rebooted so often it's hard for even me to keep track of her status quo. I'm as big an obsessive continuity know-it-all as they come and even I can't remember whether she still had the invisible jet prior to Wonder Woman #600.
She still has no real "rogues gallery" beyond Dr. Psycho and The Cheetah -- the "rehabilitation" of Egg Fu is evidence there are still things beyond the power of Grant Morrison.
She's a sob sister who, with the best of intentions, has come to teach us a better way, without considering for a second people generally resent the hell out of that sort of thing. No doubt the fact she's a woman doesn't help but recently both personal trainer Julian Michael and British chef Jamie Oliver have received hostility for trying to get Americans to change their eating habits.
Her origin is 100% tragedy free (no tragedy = no drama), no doubt the reason behind J. Michael Straczynski's revised history of the character. It's kind of hard to sympathize with a character that, when things get bad, can always spend the weekend on Paradise Island.
So what DC really needs to do is hold one of your summits, see if Gloria Steinem will show up for an afternoon, but don't leave your luxurious mountain retreat until you figure out who Wonder Woman is. Bring back I Ching, introduce The Star Riders (a team of teen superheroines from an aborted toy line), go back to the beginning and make her a nurse again, but decide then stick to it. With no take backs.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by ICv2 on July 7, 2010 @ 5:00 pm CT
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