Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's Wrong with Wonder Woman (and How to Fix Her)

I thought about posting this MAD Wonder Woman parody under "Pass the Comics," but it didn't really fit with those two others and besides, I think there's something more to say about it.

As Tom Spurgeon noted, it "nails the super-troubling parts of [Wonder Woman's] appeal in a way it's hard to shake." And acknowledging that there are super-troubling parts makes me want to revisit my earlier, dismissive response to the current changes going on in her serialized adventures. While I still don't really care what J Michael Straczynski does in his run with the character, I agree with many other commentators that it does reveal a lack of understanding about what makes the character tick and how to solve the problems that the MAD parody points out.

I wish I'd saved links to some of those comments, because they've stuck with me and I wish I could point you to them. For one of the best though, I'll go back to Spurgeon again:
...why doesn't [she] have an all-ages title? That seems to me like it would be more important than bouncing it up 20,000 readers on Mel Thompson's charts. Wonder Woman is one of the few characters girls (and their parents) know. Wonder Tot is just sitting there waiting to have demented back-up adventures. Best of all, allowing multiple takes on the character outside of standard mainstream tropes and influences and the judgment of the CBR thread commenters might result in a way of looking at Wonder Woman that works for way more than 20,000 new readers.
He's exactly right. Why isn't there a Johnny DC Wonder Woman? Or, as Ben Caldwell would love to create, a Wonder Woman manga-style comic? Or both? In what way would that not be a fantastic idea?


Colin Smith said...

1. Isn't it instructive how Ben's work means that the costume-before-JMS is transformed from cheesecake to something impressive, magical and appropriate?

2. Chisselling off the strange and awkward and inexplicable from Wonder Woman doesn't result in a Diana Prince for the modern day. It simply results in a generic super-heroine who is much as anyone else. So, yes, an all-age book with all the mythos intact gets my vote, and perhaps produced even at a loss and distributed to schools in an attempt to make sure that there will be some readers of hard-copy comic books in 10 years time.

Michael May said...

Item @1 is going in Quotes of the Week. :)

Sam G said...

I had a hard time getting into Caldwell's WW in the Wednesday comics...but seeing his take on her here...I'd buy it.

Michael May said...

I don't know if you've checked out the Wednesday Comics hardcover, but I understand that Caldwell's WW is much better in that format.

I didn't read the individual issues, so I can't compare, but I've read several reviewers who originally didn't like his WW strip, but changed their mind with the collection.


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