Something about Wonder Woman sticks in the public consciousness. She’s part of the DC’s big three–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. Plenty of little girls like her–even literalist Dr. Temperance Brennan on Bones likes her enough to dress up as her for Halloween. There are TV shows, animated movies, comics… and yet she’s never really caught on.
The reasons why are enough to make a feminist despair. Over on Topless Robot, Alicia Ashby has made a top ten list that sums it up all too well. To summarize, she’s basically Superman with boobs, a skimpier costume, crappy tools, and no iconic story. Even worse, her creator had a thing for bondage; the early comics are full of fetish material.
Jeff Winbush is addressing the new WW redesign, calling it More Retro Than Revolutionary. He’s not happy with her new costume change. He’s got a panoroma of several previous redesigns, the worst of which I can summarize as Lucy Lawless playing a cop in a really bad 80s movie. Aside from looking awful, it is technically an improvement over impossible-to-keep-on swim suits with equally impossible tits. (It’s also better than the image on the far-right, which I can’t help but think of as her Fat Jeans. Even WW gets bloated!)
He doesn’t include the actual new costume, which I found hard to locate as well. But, here it is:
That… is actually kind of badass. I mean… really. She looks more like a villain, yes, but she definitely looks more like a practical woman out to get shit done. She reminds me of The X-Men’s Rogue. …I actually kinda like this. But will anyone else? And, more importantly, will the new comics have any value as far as story goes?
Winbush thinks one solution to the ongoing WW problem is to just declare her a lesbian already.
The best rendition of Wonder Woman is and was the Lynda Carter version—and she wore the one-piece. Even then the character of Steve Trevor was introduced only to give Wonder Woman someone to rescue every week and give her a little heterosexual cover. The woman is almost 70 years old. Isn’t it about time she finally chose a side? Drag her out the closet and let her start singing Melissa Etheridge and Indigo Girls songs.
Let Wonder Woman be Wonder Woman and develop into something more than Good Girl Art. By now haven’t we reached a point where we can handle open major comic book character that is a lesbian or gay? Just because she’s playing for the other team doesn’t mean she still isn’t on our side.
Point to Winbush, it’s about time the world accept that homosexuals can be powerful and helpful to society. But we have a couple of new characters making a push already. They don’t have the wide appeal yet, but they’re going for it. A lot of Winbush’s commenters feel as I do, that this would just be a ploy for ratings, and an insult to the idea of a strong heterosexual woman. Bringing WW out of the closet seems to negate that, putting proof to the stereotype that a strong woman doesn’t actually find men unattractive, really she’s just covering up her love of pussy. Or something equally boneheaded.
Over the past few years there’s been a lot of speculation about a WW movie. I got excited when they hired Joss Whedon to write and direct. Joss Whedon is the man behind Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. All absolutely brilliant. Joss Whedon has been asked countless times…
Q: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
A: Because you’re still asking me that question.
—”American Rhetoric: Joss Whedon – Equality Now Address”. (May 15, 2006)
In short, he gets it.
Whedon left the project in 2007, citing creative differences. I can tell you exactly what happened. He wanted to revamp WW as a strong, motivated, rational human being and the studio balked. Joss was going to do what Joss does best, and they got scared. (This is exactly what FOX did to Dollhouse.)
So where does that leave WW? Back to being fetish fuel, it seems. Rumors are always flying about who would-could-should play her. A while back, a mysterious website called Wonder Who? launched with a teaser campaign. The big reveal was an amazing Photoshop painting of Megan Fox as Wonder Woman.
The artist, known as John, says, “So why did I do it? Perhaps this will get both Wonder Woman and myself out of ‘Development Hell’.”
It seems that WW has always been in Development Hell, and looks to remain there. Even if approached, Megan Fox has said emphatically that she just isn’t interested.
“Wonder Woman is a lame superhero… She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role but I don’t want to do it.”
Snide remarks about Megan Fox aside, she has a point, the same that Alicia Ashby is making. There just isn’t much to work with. It’s sad, it’s depressing, and even more depressing is that people keep buying WW material even when it continues to suck. Are we so desperate for a female superhero, any female, that we will accept fetishistic crap? Has she–*shudder*–become the Sarah Palin of comics?
Well, I refuse to end on such a depressing note. Maybe it’s time to let the dead horse lie. Here, instead, are some free webcomics featuring excellent females doing excellent, heroic things.
Angel Moxie – Three girls are out to save the world, while undermining their Magical Girl genre.
Girl Genius – Agatha Heterodyne has quite a family legacy of adventure and power to live up to! Steampunk MAD SCIENCE.
Yu+Me Dream – What begins as a simple romance forces Fiona to become the hero of her own life.
Sidekick Girl – Jabbing fun at all the stereotypes, Sidekick Girl is smarter and stronger than her asigned hero, Illumina.
Dead Winter – Lizzie’s just a waitress trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, if she can screw her courage to the sticking place.
MegaTokyo – Reality and anime-weirdness collide. Magical Girls exist–beware t3h 3v1l!
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella – Everyone’s favorite dysfunctional WW ripoff! Also ripping off mistreatment of WW.
Oh, look! Wonderella’s changing her costume, too! ;) And Wonderella’s artist says, “DC doesn’t really know what to do with Wonder Woman, but that’s just my opinion.”