Friday, August 20, 2010

Wonder Woman (by Suzie)

No discussion of women in comics would be complete without a mention of the recent reboot of “Wonder Woman.” In an introduction, Lynda Carter calls her “the goddess within us all.”

Issue 600 has brief stories and posters by different authors and artists, culminating in a story by the new writer, J. Michael Straczynski. The NYT explains:
In the reimagining of her story, Wonder Woman, instead of growing up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters, is smuggled out as a baby when unknown forces destroy her home and slaughter its inhabitants.
Much attention has been focused on her new costume, designed by Jim Lee. My favorite headline comes from the Ms. blog: "Wonder Woman Celebrates 600 Issues By Putting On Pants." Gloria Steinem, cofounder of Ms., has written much about WW, and Jacki Zehner reports her reaction:
First, the guys doing this -- and they seem to be all guys -- cite no research from the generations of girls and women who've loved Wonder Woman ever since she was invented during World War II; an alternative to the sadism and gore in boys' comic books that were so extreme, they inspired a Congressional hearing. Instead, Wonder Woman converted her adversaries, compelled them to tell the truth with her magic lasso, and otherwise made the world safe for girls, women and democracy.

I don't have a big issue with jeans versus skirt -- though jeans give us the idea that only pants can be powerful -- tell that to Greek warriors and sumo wrestlers -- and though in fact, they're so tight that they've just painted her legs blue; hardly a cover-up. I have an issue with changing her clothes and destroying home and family on what seems to be the brainstorming of a very limited group of brains.
Steinem also criticizes the new origin story, which seems to copy Superman's.
This destroys her home, her Amazon mother and sisters, and gives her no place to go to gain strength and create an inspiring story line; something the original Wonder Woman often did.
Women in Comics has a great round-up of reactions, including one from the Women's Media Center. If you've read 600 and 601, what do you think?