The Thursday Blog: Wonder Woman Edition

So Lena is really hot about this.

Before I met my wife I knew that some of the Wonder Woman episodes with Lynda Carter had nazis, and some didn’t. That was most of what I knew, or cared to know, about Wonder Woman. I didn’t have anything against her, she just wasn’t one of the comics I followed. (I tended to shy away from all of the more popular “flagship” characters.) Lena, on the other hand, really dug the Amazon Princess. After we married, we started getting the Wonder Woman comic… and since I am a comic whore and will read anything brought into the house, pretty soon I started reading that one too.

Now Lena has fairly exacting standards for a comic book, and it didn’t take long before Wonder Woman creators ran afoul of them and she put the book down. (I’m pretty sure she thought that the artist drew the shoes too chunky, but you’ll have to check with her to be certain.) Lacking Lena’s more refined standards (the technical term is being a stupid boy) I continued reading and enjoying the comic, and began to really appreciate the character DC had turned our Diana into. Strong, competent, and compassionate. A warrior and a healer. One of the central, and in my opinion best conceits about the character was that she was some 1,200 years old, and had seen and heard quite a bit, yet remained unjaded by the humanity she surrounded herself with.

Over the almost eighty years (in December) of her comic book career, Wonder Woman has undergone many reboots, and even more costume changes. Her powers have been all over the map too, though she’s always been super-strong to varying degrees. (My favorite is the power to type 160 words a minute.) In honor of the upcoming birthday DC handed Wonder Woman to J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon Five fame) and Jim Lee for her most recent revamp. Blue jacket, white stars, and red bodice aside, Straczynski’s stated goal was to make the Amazonian look a bit more global, instead of strictly American, and give a more “world feel” to the book. They have achieved this with an origin McGuffin of the gods reaching back through time and rewriting all of Amazonian history, resulting in the destruction of Themyscira, the death of Hippolyta, and black stretch pants.

I might have mentioned that Lena is not happy. She was displeased with the new bracelets, she was angry about the new tiara, but most of all she was pissed about the complete lack of boots. As I also brought up earlier though, this is hardly Diana’s first wardrobe change. She’s had almost as many different tiaras, bracelets, hair styles, belts, boots, and bodice/shorts combos as she has artists over the years. She had the jacket before, even the black pants. One (very) short lived costume was a purple smock.

I am not at all worried about the way Wonder Woman looks. I am, after all, just a stupid boy. I’m a little more concerned about her age, since the rewrite knocks about 1,177 years off of our girl. At forty two I’m just not into twenty-three year olds any more, and as someone who has always had a thing for older chicks Diana always held a particular mystique.

But… I dig the comic. I like the idea of Wonder Woman, I like the notion of the powerful female heroine Buffyizing the DC Universe, and I’m willing to give it a shot. I might not like it once it starts, (I like the current artistic team way more than Jim Lee and his crew) but I’m willing to give it a shot. My guess is that A) this direction would make a better movie in DC’s eyes, and B) if everyone hates it the gods will likely decide to put everything back the way they found it after a year.

BTW, if I get divorced after Lena sees this, you’ll all at least know why.

46 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Wonder Woman Edition

  1. I could be being too hasty in this, but I DO NOT care for the new look. And every girl at some point wanted to be wonder woman because she was so awesome. Maybe this will be a kick ass hot new thing but I doubt it.

    At least they didn’t kill her off like Captain America. I haven’t read any comics in a long time so I don’t really know too much about them anymore. I guess they didn’t need another “Captain Planet”. (who I loved as a kid too)

    • I heard one commenter on TV say that she thought it was about the movie thing too. She made the observation that if WW high-kicked the bad guys in her current underwear costume and her “vagina falls out”, it could destroy the movie’s PG rating.

  2. Wow, I really hope you don’t get a divorce over this, but if you do tell Lena I said hi! ;-p

  3. Oh my golly goshness.

    I actually think that new costume is SO MUCH AMAZINGLY BETTER. You have NO IDEA.

    1) As a non-American, the plastering of American icons really annoys me. This may be why I dislike a large host of American superheroes, despite loving the genre. Captain America in particular is one I REALLY dislike. Actual patriotic superheroes (hypocritically, Captain America is a good example of) don’t (in theory) bother me. It’s just the random “LOOK I ARE PATRIOT” that gets plastered on after the fact that does.

    2) Allow me to quote a gentleman I know on the internet: “i appreciate wonder woman’s ability to dress simultaneously like a slut and a patriot”. This new one? Doesn’t.

    I’ve always shied away from DC in general (I really do not enjoy their ridiculous Mary Sueing of every character they have) but I have to say, I really hope this new Wonder Woman sticks around. She seems less of a gimmick, less of a flanderization, and more of an actual character. More of a human. More of a woman, wonder or not.

        • I can certainly see your point, TSED. And the “street punk” imagery is deliberate as well, since this WW is supposed to have had an urban upbringing. (Don’t really know what that means for the character though.)

    • TSED wrote:
      “As a non-American, the plastering of American icons really annoys me. This may be why I dislike a large host of American superheroes, despite loving the genre.”

      Oh hell yes.
      Not to mention, isn’t turning the flag into items of clothing actually forbidden by U.S. laws? Not that any of those hyperpatriots seem to know that.

      That said, I like the Scifi subgenre of superheroes in theory, that’s why I love the Iron Man movies and the first season of Heroes or the X-Men, but I hate most of what gets cranked out as comics, if that makes sense? At least whenever I leaf through some Marvel or DC comic while visiting our local comic books/RPG shop, I usually groan and put it back down, bored. I’m not a fan of all the boobs and the ridiculously overmuscled bodies and absurd storylines where superhero and supervillain pose and brag and insult each other for what feels like a billion years before they fight and destroy large chunks of infrastructure in the process. And then the writers pull some convenient new power out of their asses so that the hero wins. Reminds me of those Dragonball animes which I don’t like either.

      That said, I can’t bring myself to buy the idea of characters like i.e. Wonder Woman or Charlie’s Angels as “feminist icons” or strong female characters, but then my brain is permanently scarred by the entries in the “Suffering Sappho!” gallery over at http://www.superdickery.com/ . Now, most of those look like covers or outtakes from comics from the 1980s and earlier, so maybe Women Woman is not longer a Bondage Queen who always inexplicably seems to get tied up in her own lasso, at the mercy of any leering man who caught her. Or playing bondage games with the other amazons. 😕 😯 As in, these comics are made by men for men, so what do you expect…

      Anyway.
      Superman is still a dick.

      • Batman certainly agrees with you on the Superman thing. I, on the other hand, am on the fence with that one. Yeah, he’s a self rightious boy scout but I have read some compelling stories with him in them over the years. The most compelling being his battle with Doomsday. The least being all that crap that happened between that and his return to life. Steel especially. Wonder Woman was on my buying list for years and the only reason I stopped buying is that I really couldn’t afford all those comics anymore. Now I’m as much a fan of scantily clad women as the next guy, but I really think the new costume makes her look more likely to kick ass, not like she’s about to jump into a pool. I’m not even going to get into what I think of heels on warrior women. I like Straczynski’s writing and I love Lee’s art, but I think J. Micheal kinda missed the point in Diana’s basic origin. She’s a demi-godess created by divine magic in return for her mothers service and sacrifice. It didn’t happen 23 years ago, I can tell you that. Some things you just don’t mess with. Regardless of revamping Superman was always raised by the Kents and from Krypton; Batman’s parents have always died inspiring his alter ego and he was never a murderer. Diana couldn’t possibly become the Amazons greatest warrior in 23 years. I have to wonder why so many writers have to completely mess with a character in a revamp and discard ALL of the basic things that made us read the books in the first place. This is Diana, not Donna. I suppose that I should concede the fact that the Olympians were notorious for messing with stuff they really didn’t need to so this would be entirely in character for them.

      • Using the flag as pretty much anything other than a flag or a piece of military uniform is illegal, though there is no punishment on the books for it.

        Most of those “bondage age” WW comics were actually written by women, though this makes them no less exploitative. I imagine the were writing what they thought guys of the day wanted to see. Please do trust me when I say that today’s WW is nothing like this.

        • Regarding the US flag and “turning it into clothing”: which superhero actually did this? Forgive me, my geek-fu fails me as I don’t recall ever reading any comic where the hero did this.

          There is a difference between cutting up an actual flag and sewing it back together as a costume, and merely wearing a costume that borrows heavily from the red white and blue theme. Just sayin’.

          • Just out of curiosity, I looked it up, and was a little surprised.

            http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm

            Violation of the flag code is a “misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, in the discretion of the court.”

            And, apparently, there is language in there that suggests that an image of the flag is the same as an actual flag (so if you have, say, a photograph with a flag in it, you can’t simply throw it in the garbage if it gets damaged – you have to properly retire it in accordance with the flag code!). Further, it says that any part of the flag may not be used as a “costume or athletic uniform.” This would suggest that Captain America is indeed guilty of a flag code violation. It’s a little subjective because the phrase “reasonable observer” is used.

            Of course, good luck getting any of this enforced.

            • Further reading (which I probably should have done before posting) reveals that the source I quoted appears to apply only to the District of Columbia – federal law does not, as Kevin stated, define any actual punishment for violation of the flag code, leaving that instead to individual states, and that the US Supreme Court has ruled that punitive enforcement would conflict with First Amendment rights.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Flag_Code

              • Doonesbury once ran a Sunday comic which was nothing more than an image of the American flag, along with an admonishment that it was now illegal to throw away your newspaper. I always found that hysterical.

            • I would note that nowhere on Steve Roger’s costume is there an actual image of the flag of the United States. For one thing, there are only two stars (one on his chest, one on the shield), and while there are red and white stripes (maybe even the correct number of them), they are vertical, and between TWO blue areas. There is no mention in the description of the flag of red and white concentric circles, either.

              Now a flag PATCH, like that worn on a US soldier’s uniform, IS a flag (and note that they aren’t SEWN onto the uniform anymore, but are held on with velcro so they can be removed and cared for separately.)

          • Yeah, unless they’re actually cutting up a flag to make the costume, it’s perfectly legal to make a “flag themed” costume. And there HAVE been “Flag themed” comics characters from other countries too, so it’s not just the American flag that has been used in that manner.

            Gotta love the “America stinks, so nobody in the universe should ever be patriotic” crowd.

            Gee, I wonder where the computer, which you are using to spew anti-patriot venom like a jerk, was developed in the first place?

            • I think it stems from all the self-centered media the USA produces, and how it treats the rest of the world as its lowly provinces.
              It’s nothing new, really, all major powers did and do so, it’s even quite understandable as part of human nature…But haven’t we evolved beyond that already?

              Why? Why is it so hard for an alien-invasion movie to take place somewhere other than NYC? Why can’t they flatten Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv instead? Just Tel-Aviv then? Please? I’ll give them cake* for it.

              *This cake. http://www.romanticallyapocalyptic.com/home?page=22

              • Have you seen District 9? Aliens landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. Awesome movie by the way.

            • The States are not perfect, Elfguy. Sometimes we do deserve a little criticism. But being patriotic doesn’t mean you have to get aggressive with anyone who points out a flaw. Being a patriot means loving your country despite it’s warts and occasional bad behavior. And even more highly, to act to make your country a place worthy of the admiration of all.

              If someone is wrong feel free to say so, but with respect and calm. Otherwise you run the risk of vindicating their perception, which was of course the opposite of what you meant to do.

              • I do have to admit that it does feel like a one way street sometimes.

                Then I remember that America is the best and it’s all ok.

              • There is, however, a difference between pointing out flaws in the country and saying you hate Captain America because he has red, white, and blue in his uniform.

                That’s an incredibly silly reason to dislike someone.

                “Hey, that guy’s wearing white…I hate him!”

                Unless what he’s wearing is a robe with a pointy hood (and all that implies) or the ‘uniform’ of some other group of evil creeps, dissing someone because of their wardrobe is just stupid.

                Ok..maybe there are some exceptions: Aquaman’s original outfit: BLECH!

            • Elfguy wrote: “Gee, I wonder where the computer, which you are using to spew anti-patriot venom like a jerk, was developed in the first place?”

              Funny, now that you mention it: in Germany, by Konrad Zuse, in 1941. 🙄

              That of course was the Z3, the first fully functional, fully automated, programmable, binary, electromechanical computer. The Z1 (developed 1936-38) and Z2 (1939) before that were prototypes. Unfortunately, the Z3 was destroyed during the Second World War, in a bomb attack in 1944.

              Zuse built the S1 (1942) and S2 (1943) for the Henschel-Flugzeug-Werke, and invented an analog-digital converter. Zuse also invented the first programming language, in 1945/46 and called it the Plankalkül, but because he wasn’t able to continue his work after WWII he wasn’t able to publish or properly implement it, and it was only implemented in 2000, to show that it did work. Instead, IBM brought out FORTRAN in 1954.

              Further refinement of the Z3 led to the construction of the Z4 in 1945, sponsored by the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt (German Research Centre for Aviation). Unfortunately, the military couldn’t quite understand what the hell this engineer was working on. The project was in danger of being shut down, as not being “of importance to the war effort”, until one of Zuse’s assistants had the clever idea to re-label the Z4 the “V4”, in an attempt to insinuate that the Z4 was some kind of weapon program similar to the V2 (“Vergeltungswaffe 2”) rocket. Under this cover, the Z4 was disassembled and transfered to the city of Göttingen where it was in less danger to be destroyed in a bomb attack.

              That’s where Zuse saw his first concentration camp, the KZ Mittelbau-Dora. During that time Zuse met the engineer Wernher von Braun[1] who used KZ inmates as forced labor to mass-produce the V2 rocket. At the end of the war, Zuse and his assistants joined Wernher von Braun’s group of scientists who fled to Bavaria to elude the advancing Red Army. There, in the south of Bavaria near the border to Austria, Zuse went undercover. He reassembled his Z4 in a horse stable, but lived off a small income working as a painter. But rumors about the man with his strange machine grew. IBM became interested in the Z4, but mostly so to buy up the plans in an attempt to stop further development of what they saw as potential competition.[2]

              Zuse entered into a cooperation with the Remington Rand company (the same company who later build the UNIVAC I.). In 1949, Zuse was discovered in Bavaria and offered a grant by Prof. Eduard Stiefel from the ETH Zürich (the technical academy of Zurich in Switzerland). The money allowed him to found his own company, the Zuse KG.

              In 1950, the Z4 was the first and only functioning computer in Europe, and the first commercial computer worldwide. It was installed several month earlier than the american UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Calculator) in 1951.

              Zuse went on to build and develop more computers, from Z5 to Z22. In 1967, the Zuse KG was bought by Siemens corporation.

              —footnotes—-
              [1] Yes, that Wernher von Braun, Germany’s leading rocket scientist and space flight pioneer of the 1940s, who constructed the V2 rocket in Peenemünde, and was among the many German scientist who were “recruited” in 1945/46 by the US military (Operation Overcast, later renamed Operation Paperclip) and brought to the USA where he became a citizen in 1955. He constructed the Redstone nuclear missile for the american rocket program and the Saturn V rocket for NASA, and became director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama in 1960. Some of Wernher von Brauns assistants and other Germany rocket scientists who hadn’t been found by the Americans were instead picked up by Sergei Pawlowitsch Koroljow, father of the Russian space program, and their knowledge used by the Soviets.

              Von Braun was a member of a NSDAP and the SS and held a military rank, but had been arrested by the Gestapo in 1944; he was accused of treason, undermining of military strength, and having made preparations to secretly flee to England; the only reason he wasn’t executed was that he had friends, like i.e. Speer, who convinced Hitler not to kill von Braun.

              [2] Zuse did try to patent his machines. He filed a patent application for the Z3 in 1941 and again in 1951, and the patent was finally granted in 1952, long after the war, but firms like Triumph and IBM immediately challenged the patent in the courts, and Zuse’s patent was rejected in 1967.

              • It was, h0wever, a Dead-End device…the machine that was actually expanded upon to become the modern computer, and was thus part of the actual DEVELOMPENT of modern computers (key word from my original post) was the ENIAC, not the Z3.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC

                • The Eniac in turn was based upon the Colossus, which was constructed with heavy Polish assistance to decode German encrypted messages. So away from USA we go again 😛

  4. boy wait till WW gets her own next generation video game wounder what THOSE fireworks will be like? what if the game is as awsome as Batman AA, will Lena still hate it?

    • If it was as awsome as that I’d say nobody would hate it, but then again there is always a few. I do hope that game companies took a good look at Batman: Arkhan Asylum to see an example of how to do a superhero game properly. Well, that and Spiderman: Web of Shadows. The only quibble I had with that one is that I wished they didn’t have that RPG element to it. I like RPGs but grinding sucks.

  5. They took the greatest Woman Superhero and turned her into an Asian ninja… Lena I am with you on this one. The character itself as a drawing is nice, but I fail to see the WW aspect of her. Look like she could be a character for Street Fighter.

  6. Now, I have nothing against cheesecake. I imagine I like it as much as the next straight guy. But I still find this costume change a relief. Now Wonder Woman looks like she’s getting ready to fight evil, kick ass and take names. Some of the previous suits made her look like she was about to go on stage in a seedy bar, perform high kicks and twirl around a metal pole while shedding items of clothing… :-\

      • Bathing suit/underwear costume is a plus, though I don’t really hate the new one. It is extremely derivative of some of Lee’s other costumed heroines, notably Gen 13. (She’s basically Freefall with a few color changes.)

        • Never heard of Gen 13, I must admit. ^^ Meh. It’s a fairly sensible costume, as superhero get-ups go. I stick by my approval.

    • I agree that the costume change is a relief.But for me it is only because I can only imagine Lynda Carter as wonder woman, and I imagine her boobs aren’t what they used to be.

        • Don’t think I wouldn’t want to see them even at this age, just not in the wonder woman costume. Of course I have never met a pair of boobs I didn’t like regardless of age.

  7. I don’t like superhero comics, so I never read much Wonder Woman. My best friend is an avid collector though, and he really digs on the JLA so I’ve read plenty of those through the years. My favorites are non-super-heroes. Guys like Batman, the Punisher, Conan the Barbarian, that sort. And my all time fave is Usagi Yojimbo. I even have a tattoo.