Well, we are only days away from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. And to keep the theme going I asked another guest blogger to tell us about her love of one of the characters from the movie. This time DC Comics expert Lilith Hellfire shares her knowledge of Wonder Woman. Take it away, Lilith!
Wonder Woman: The Saving Grace of DC Comics
By Lilith Hellfire
“We have a saying, my people, Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.” – Wonder Woman
People often ask me why I’m such a hardcore/diehard DC Comics fangirl, especially because I’m a woman of color. There used to be so many reasons that I could rattle off back in the day. For instance the modern day gods’ mythology just seems infinitely more interesting and affords more escapism in a post 9/11 world than the world outside my window approach that Marvel has. DC comics also has an infinitely better caliber of villains, always has and always will. DC comics also has more meaningful characters of color. It also doesn’t hurt that DC also came out debuted Lobo, who was the first black character to have a solo title in a mainstream comic book (yes, I know about Lion Man so please take note of the word mainstream, please and thank you).
But if I was to be totally honest, it all comes down to the fact that DC comics has Wonder Woman. A strong, smart and beautiful female character who is part of the core identity of the company. Wonder Woman is a part of the DC Trinity that consists of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The DC Trinity are pretty much the most iconic comic book characters in the world. Whether you know their backstory or not, you know who the characters are on sight.
Wonder Woman can and has stood toe to toe with Batman and Superman. Maybe it’s my weird World War II fetish and love for all things that came in the Golden Age of Comics but Wonder Woman is just one of the most interesting and complex female characters in comic books ever. I love what a stark contrast she was in comparison to Batman and Superman. Her story is about love, compassion and wanting to be a champion as opposed to loss, tragedy and becoming a reluctant hero.
My love for Wonder Woman might have something to do with her creator’s odd personal and professional life. But honestly that stuff just adds to the mystique. What’s really interesting to me and probably something that I picked up on subconsciously as a young girl was the fact that Wonder Woman didn’t start out as a sexual object like almost all other female characters who were created around the same time. When I discovered the character of Wonder Woman, it was literally her first appearance in All Star Comics #8.
Notice her round face and dress (instead of booty shorts or a bathing suit type costume). She is way less sexualized than any other female character of the time.
The creation of the Wonder Woman character was very much a calculated move and quite risky but it is also no coincidence that the character debuted during War World II either. That was the era this was, after all in which women were encouraged to take on a range of traditionally masculine roles from Rosie the Riveter to test pilots. However, even within this context, Wonder Woman is disguised not as a test pilot nor as a factory worker but rather as a member of the Women’s Army Corps. I like to think the stars lined up and shined upon the idea.
Honestly though, Wonder Woman kind of toiled in mainstream obscurity until the 1970’s when The New Adventures of Wonder Woman debuted. Lynda Carter is MY Wonder Woman just like Christopher Reeves is MY Superman. Those two actors capture the spirit and the letter of their characters very well. They embody those roles even when the roles were over and done with. I honestly don’t think the show would have been as well received in another actress’s hands (cough *Wonder Woman movie from 1974* cough). The New Adventures of Wonder Woman was one of the first shows carried by a female lead who was a strong, heroic character. Wonder Woman was clearly in charge and this positive representation of women was part of the appeal of the show.
The show itself had a strong feminist message in the early seasons. The series’ acknowledgement of feminism is evident in the dialogue, the character relationships, and even the title of one two-part episode, ‘The Feminine Mystique.’ In the very first episode, the metaphor of the Amazons as ideal feminists is obvious. Paradise Island, is a society led by women, is peaceful and thriving while the male-led world is engaged in world war.
Fun fact, Lynda Carter didn’t have much if any acting experience, she was picked because she looked so much like Wonder Woman and it turned out just fine. Food for thought for any executive of a comic book movie or TV show that happens to read this.
Another fun fact, the Wonder Woman pose is actually scientifically proven to boost confidence. Who knew?
There have been many peaks and valleys with the Wonder Woman brand since The New Adventures of Wonder Woman went off the air. So many it hurts to think about it. But the idea of Wonder Woman while divisive at times has stayed in the mainstream pop culture collective consciousness with a mostly positive connotation and I’m very thankful for that.
But it has all culminated and boils down to this moment that’s about to happen on Friday, March 25, 2016, the premiere of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I’m really excited that we are finally getting a cinematic live action version of Wonder Woman. I love that actress, playing her, Gal Gadot ‘gets it’ and isn’t here for any of the male late night show hosts misogynistic shenanigans. The only thing I’m upset about is why the hell it took so long.
Well, actually what really upsets me is why make a Supergirl movie when you could have made a Wonder Woman movie with Lynda Carter instead? But alas that’s a topic for another day.