A few weeks ago, my friend Elizabeth Keathley wrote a guest blog here about the new run of the Wonder Woman comic. Recent issues have caused her to re-evaluate her original comments.
Last month, I wrote a piece for this blog recommending the new run of Wonder Woman, based on the first four issues of the digital release. It is with a heavy heart that I return to rescind my recommendation, based on some rather strange story turns in issues five through seven. There’s not a lot I could write that hasn’t been written in detail, with page scans, by Colin Smith on his blog, but I felt I owed it to this audience to come back and explain that I don’t think the new comic is really so great anymore.
I’m not one of those people who would only be happy with an idea of Wonder Woman I have in my head. I thought the animated Wonder Woman movie was very good, despite it being far from the Wonder Woman I have in my mind. What I ask of WW writers is that they treat women, especially the title character, with respect. Wonder Woman is a feminist full of compassion – she’s a hero. Sadly the current DC misogyny creates an atmosphere of editorial bias that results in really crappy treatment of women. While never having the pleasure of meeting Dan Didio, his every response to questions regarding the current status of women in the DC universe can be justly characterized as hostile; see this response from last year’s Comicon as an example.
One gets the feeling that Didio is angry with women, or that he at the very least doesn’t think they should be allowed to play in his club house, which is weird since many women like myself were happily playing there before he came along and threw all our toys out the window and used the rest to make borderline porn. Sorry for the rant; I get passionate about Wonder Woman. My youngest daughter is named Diana.
David Willis also sums up how Didio’s approach to female characters is bad for business over here. Most frustratingly, it doesn’t matter how badly the current run of DC comics twists Wonder Woman or her Amazon sisters in the the marketplace of ideas. DC comics could publish a storyline so horrific that no one would ever buy Wonder Woman again, and the publishing run would continue. When William Moulton Marsten created Wonder Woman in the 1940’s, he signed a contract stating that if DC fails to publish a Wonder Woman title for 90 days, the rights to Wonder Woman revert to his heirs. DC almost dropped the ball once after Crisis on Infinite Earths (where Wonder Woman was actually killed off), and quickly ran a three issue filler storyline. That filler storyline, in which a classic Wonder Woman rescued a bratty little girl, was great. Afterwards she was rebooted again, and I wasn’t sorry; the new run by George Perez turned out to contain some of my favorite new Wonder Woman stories.
Gone are the days when I could maintain hope that one more reboot with a new writer might give me a good monthly Wonder Woman read. Alan Moore, who signed a similar deal for Watchmen, recently gave a sad interview about the current use of his Watchmen characters. It doesn’t matter how bad the new Watchmen comics are, DC will never go out of business because they own the liscensing rights to the originals. It doesn’t matter how bad the current Wonder Woman comics are, or if no one buys them, because DC makes loads of money from Wonder Woman lunchboxes, underwear, and toys.
Of course, those Wonder Woman products are bought by little girls who love their cartoon character, a hero who is strong and brave and kind, who hangs out with her friends in the Justice League and can be counted on to be a solid team player when the fate of the Earth is on the line. I wish I could say the same about the Wonder Woman in the current run of comics.