Comic books are a visual medium. I believe it was the art that first drew me to comics. I used to love all of the colorful art in the magical stacks of comic books my brother would buy from the Linda Burke down the street. It wasn't long before I was drawing my own little pictures of little superheroes with ball point pens and scratch paper from little white pads my dad would bring home from work.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, a small semblance of sanity has returned to our great nation and a great woman and candidate is in line to be next and first female President of the United States. It's been a long time coming, if you ask me. A woman would make a great president, BECAUSE she's a woman.
I can't remember if my introduction to Wonder Woman came by way of the Lynda Carter live-action series or the character's participation in The Super Friend's Saturday morning Hannah-Barbera television cartoon that ran off and on in various incarnations from 1973 to 1986. I usually give credit to Lynda, as she did steal my young heart with her beauty and kindness - a real-life Wonder Woman, indeed. Not to mention it was easier to stay up for her show than getting up so early on Saturday morning! That's not to say the Wonder Woman incarnation that graced the small screen in the Super Friends series was anything to shake a golden lasso at.
Here we go! (Again.)
Wonder Woman was appointed an honorary UN Ambassador of the empowerment of woman and girls. Lynda Carter was there. Gal Gadot was there. The ceremony was held on October 21 to coincide with the 75th Anniversary of the Amazing Amazon. They ate cake and took pictures... Great! Or maybe not.
Hold onto those golden lassos and fasten those golden lassos, fellow Amazons. This could be a philosophical ride.
"Isn't it ironic? We ignore those who adore us, ignore those who adore us, hurt those who love us, and love those that hurt us." - Unknown
Sad, true, painful, pessimistic, and endlessly on point. Typical human behavior and pretty much the theme of Jill Thompson's The True Amazon original graphic novel recently released from DC Comics featuring Wonder Woman.
I have often said that one of the things I love the most about the characters of the DC Comics universe is their versatility. DC Comics hosts such an iconic stable of characters that they have no problem treating fans with different, yet meaningful, interpretations and reimaginings of their original characters.
A "Gotham by Gaslight," a Wonder Woman of "Amazonia," a "Red Son of Krypton" - all classic tales, indeed.
I think this is the category of stories from the DCU that Wonder Woman: The True Amazon falls under.
When I first heard of this project (quite a while ago, it seems), it had the working title, Wonder Woman: The Selfish Princess and was what I thought to be a fully painted storybook. Which it is, but it's more of a graphic novel, storyboard format than I thought it'd be. I'm glad it's title changed, as "selfish" can be an off-putting word and hardly one I'd associate with Wonder Woman, although it proves relevant to this iteration of the character.
It's an excellent example of the power of comics and graphic storytelling. I expected it to be Jill's take on "Lil Wonder Woman" or such, because of her seminal work on Lil Endless and Scary Godmother. That which starts out as a classic storybook fable quickly takes a turn as it becomes a soul-wrenching Greek tragedy, seamlessly melded with the comic format. Speaking of Greeks, I really enjoyed Thompson's interpretation of the Amazons in Armor, as well as the Greek Gods. Especially the Greek Gods! So much so that I would love to see Thompson take on an original graphic novel or mini-series featuring her version of the Pantheon.
This is where the review could become misinterpreted, and I want to say that I really loved this book. That said, I look at it as a reimagining of WW's origin. It offers a very selfish, spoiled Wonder Woman and a somewhat selfish, spoiled mother in Queen Hippolyta. I can handle QH. I've often held contempt for Diana's Mother for so often mistreating her daughter and constantly putting her in horrible and potentially dangerous - if not lethal - situations without giving much of a damn.
But to me, Wonder Woman is perfection, and she loves life and honors it as the gift the gods have given her and her mother. Even as a child, she held appreciation and respect for nature and animals and was kind to others. This awful, spoiled, self-centered version of Wonder Woman is painful for me to entertain. Although some could argue that Wonder Woman is not perfect, she is relatable. I have witnessed writers struggle with the character under the notion that she is perfect. I think they deem that as "boring" or "impossible" to write.
In a way I think perfection is her biggest and most interesting flaw. Perfection's a heavy cross to bear. I think when Diana deviates from her perfection, it's always more consequential and meaningful than the casual mistake.
Separated from my ideal of Wonder Woman and used as a vessel to tell a story, I truly enjoyed The True Amazon and was moved in a way that I hadn't expected.
Perhaps the lesson of this fable lies in the potential danger of spoiling your daughter, especially if said daughter was brought to life by a combination of your sculpture of clay on the shores of Paradise Island and the tears of the gods. Oh, did I forget to mention said tears were the result of being moved by by Hippolyta crooning to her sculpture, pleading for it to come to life? Her beautiful singing is carried over the winds of Themyscira, and the Amazons are enchanted by their queen's impromptu audition for "The Voice." By the time it reaches Mount Olympus, the gods are so moved themselves that their eruption of silver and gold tears washes from the heavens to the shores of Paradise Island, bringing to life the sculpture of Hippolyta's greatest desire, her daughter Diana! A beautiful daughter with amazing gifts infused in her was all she ever wanted.
That's when things take a turn south. Diana is spoiled by her mother and the other Amazons and always gets her heart's desire. She's rude, selfish, careless, and reckless. She's quite an unlikeable brat, truth be told - used to getting her way and never denied her every heart's desire.
I believe her mother would be too noble and proud to raise a spoiled daughter, especially one she so woefully coveted. Hippolyta always remained staunchly obedient to the gods as painfully illustrated by a specific scene at the end of this tale.
Diana earns the one thing she can't get no matter how much she tries: the attention of her mother's horse wrangler, Althea, the grounded and wise woman who is perhaps the only Amazon less than impressed with Diana's beauty and god-given talents.
In a twist on Diana's origin, the contest in this version is to prove the "One True Amazon." Diana enters, figuring she will have no problem acing the competition, and impresses Althea, thus winning her over once and far all. Instead, what occurs is heart-breaking chaos and tragedy due to Diana's ego and selfish, reckless behavior.
The Amazons decide to spare Diana's life despite her sins. Another punishment is put in place for the fallen princess. She is forever banned from Paradise Island and made to live out her life doing good deeds in man's world as Wonder Woman.
A very clever, if not maudlin, take on the origin of Wonder Woman. This could be perhaps "What I'd Wonder Woman Was a Millennial?"
Thoughtfully written and lavishly illustrated, Jill Thompson's The True Amazon is a welcome edition to my Wonder Woman book shelf. I always love a book that has you reflecting on it randomly after you've put it down and this is certainly one of those.
See you next week for Wonder Woman Wednesday, and as be sure to check out the "I Am Wonder Fan" page on Facebook.
Greetings, fellow Amazons! Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be more exciting Wonder Woman news coming out of the pipeline, here it is.
Unless YOU personally have been living in the closet this past week, you've certainly heard the Wonder news. I had just been thinking there hasn't been any thing noteworthy about Wonder Woman lately. Well, this one's a doozy.
DC Comics has announced that Wonder Woman is officially being bisexual, mostly through mouthpiece and series writer Greg Rucka. In an interview with Comicosity, Rucka stated, "Obviously, she's queer." Referencing that Wonder Woman had grown up on an island of all women, how could she not be?
Others have cited that it's been hinted at through various times in the character's tales. I'm still trying to figure out the irony in Diana abandoning Paradise Island for the first man who washes up on shore of an island inhabited solely by females.
Some people are applauding the revelation, and, naturally, there are just as many condemning it. The fact that I'm a gay may or may not be relevant to the story at this point. I was quite young when I became obsessed with Wonder Woman, and it had nothing to do with her sexuality - gay, straight, or otherwise. What she and Steve Trevor did off panel was their business.
So, part of me did thinks, why? Why address it? What difference does it make? Maybe they're just a floating convent of sexy nuns? Then, of course, it dawned on me why it's important that we address it. Because it's there. It's reality. It makes sense. It's natural and should be accepted as such. We're lucky that we live in times when people can live their natural lives openly, not shrouded by taboo. I applaud DC in their bold move. Wonder Woman is one of their biggest characters and, therefore, one of their biggest licenses, especially with a big movie on the horizon. Not to mention being in the middle of the character's 75th anniversary celebration. This has been a big year for the Amazon, indeed!
But this is big. Big in an historic way. The biggest mainstream character being labeled "queer" and or bisexual. That's huge. Just another way Wonder Woman proves to be a role model to fans who can identify with her.
That's it for this week! As always, check out I Am Wonder Fan on Facebook.
The Ballad of Donna Troy.
It occurred to me in preparing to write this week's column that it may be misleading to call Donna Troy "Wonder Girl," as she hasn't been properly Wonder Girl in quite some time - at least a generation; however, Donna Troy was the original Wonder Girl and the one and only in many people's eyes.
Greetings, fellow Amazons! I hope you all had a lovely week.
Although there's something to be said about Wonder Woman, sometimes, there's too much. So, this week I thought I'd discuss a few various going-ons in the world of Wonder Woman, like water cooler stories... (You know, if you worked in office filled with people all obsessed with Wonder Woman.)
Fans were very excited when it was announced that not only would there be an animated feature based on the Batman TV series from the sixties, but Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar would all be reprising their original Bat roles! How cool is that?