For a long time — longer than I want to admit — Wonder Woman was a no-go character for me. She was just the woman that happened to be in the same picture as Superman and Batman. Superman was OK but also felt not right. He was just too — well — perfect and indestructible. There was not much potential for suspenseful stories. Both of them should just clear the path and let Batman handle things.
But for a while now, I have seen things differently. A lot of that has to do with the folks of the Talking Comics Podcast. Since Rebirth they talked a lot about her, her history and why she is such an iconic character. Again, at first, I thought: Can you guys just move on? But with time came acceptance and with acceptance came curiosity and with curiosity came a fascination.
If you ask me what I think of Wonder Woman now, I wouldn’t even think of Superman or Batman. I would instead think of her iconic moves with the bracelets. Her lasso of truth. Her good heart. And of course, the new movie. Now she stands beside Superman and Batman. Those three characters are the incarnation of the origin of comics. They are over 70 years old and still fascinate us with their stories, their history and the ideas they stand for. Now, when I see them stand side-by-side on-screen I shout out and get goosebumps — nevermind how bad the movie might be (looking at you, BvS).
One of the first things that happened, after I realized Wonder Woman is an intriguing character, was the announcement that she became the UN ambassador for empowering girls and women. A job she lost two months after the ceremony.
The following might sound like I am very old, but it’s true nevertheless. You know, sometimes I feel fatigued. Weary of all those scandals and criticism and comments like “oh my god there is a religious symbol in my comic book” or “comics should not be political”. Tired that stories are being judged based on the actions of their creators. Some even lose their job because of that. And I get it, I really do — I am a gay man. I want to see more LGBTQ+ characters in comics and movies. I too am frustrated when Hollywood, once again, casts some white dude for an Asian character. But sometimes I just want to enjoy something without having to justify myself for liking a particular thing. Without all the nagging and the negative talk.
Wonder Woman named the ambassador for empowering women and girls and then being stripped of the title is one of those things. Why can’t you just shut up?! Don’t get me wrong, critique is good. Constructive criticism. Not the kind of criticism where you just yell things and boycott stuff.
I think Wonder Woman is an excellent choice. Of course, there are a lot of other women you could have chosen. Scientists, writers, artists, politicians, actresses, managers, philanthropists, mothers, singer/songwriters, and much more. But for children, they may not be that accessible. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is. She encapsulates all wonderful ideas and themes, and the only thing you have to do is hand out a comic book. She can be the one who opens the door.
A door to all those great, influential women. Hell, they could have even made a comic, where she explains all the achievements of women of the past and present. She can give them an understanding of human rights and much more. As I said, critique is good, and I understand the opinions against Wonder Woman as an ambassador. But let’s have a discussion and communicate with each other. Don’t just shout at the UN and DC and organize boycotts. If you don’t have anything useful to say — shut up!
Be that as it may, and whether she’s an ambassador or not, she is an awesome character. Greg Rucka’s last run, though, was a bit difficult to follow — for me, at least. Wonder Woman has a lot of history, and it seems to me that Rucka did dig deep into the mythology for his 25 issue run. For a first-time Wonder Woman reader, it was a bit difficult to follow, especially because of the way he told his stories. But now that his run ended, I am eager to give them another try and therefore experience the story as a whole.
The recently released Wonder Woman movie was also a great introduction to the character. Fantastic character moments, funny jokes, and incredible action — just think of the No Man’s Land scene! In addition to that, they turned things around, and Chris Pine gets to be the damsel in distress now and then. It’s the best DCEU movie of the last decade. I hope to see a lot more of her in Justice League and the second installment of her stand-alone films.
For me, Wonder Woman had her great come back in the last two years or so. If you are in doubt, read her comics, watch the movie and follow the story of this incredible Amazon. She is an inspiration and a genuinely good character. She can be kind and loveable, as well as a badass fighter. Her involvement in the Justice League during Geoff Johns’ New52 run was remarkable as well, especially during the last issues with The Darkside War. It became a Wonder Woman story, where there happened to be Superman, Batman, and company there, too.
Though I did not read them yet, here are a few recommendations you want to know. They are on my reading list as well. First of all, William Moulton Marston’s run, beginning in 1941. He created the character, in collaboration with his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston. Wonder Woman had her first appearance in All-Star Comics #8. You can google for some omnibi of the different creators. Most of them are collected. Considered the best are George Perez, Greg Rucka, Brian Azzarello, the Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman series, and I am sure you find more.
For a more theoretical, but still fascinating approach, read Superwomen by Carolyn Cocca or Wonder Woman Psychology by Travis Langley and Mara Wood. The first one I read already, and it’s a great book. You get the history of a lot of different female characters (Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, X-Men, Barbara Gordon, etc.) and why they had such an impact. What makes them unique and when were they handled wrong.
Let’s get back to Wonder Woman. Though she has different origin stories, depending on the creator you ask, I love the one where she is formed of clay and given life by Aphrodite. There is no tragedy in this story. No parents shot in an alley, no planet exploding — just her and her decision to do good. She helps people because she chose to do so. Not because of some guilt. And this choice makes her the best of them all.
“I’m willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” – DIANA