Before I begin, I know that many of my previous rants have been rather disorganized, so, this time, I’ve taken time to organize my thoughts. In effect, this is more an expression of my opinion than a rant. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty long, but I have strong feelings on this particular issue, and I tend to be a tad verbose where issues such as this are concerned. Ask anyone. In any case, you’re suitably warned, and if you make it all the way through this article and still feel like making a comment at the end, you deserve a medal. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
As many of you know, DC Comics ™, faced with dwindling sales, decided that they needed to do a complete reboot of 52 of their titles. Unfortunately, when companies decide to do this, inevitably, they tend to lose much of their existing fan-base (as White Wolf did when they rebooted the stories behind their main games, which was something I predicted would happen.) Everyone knows that DC Comics™ and Marvel Comics™ have had something of a more or less friendly rivalry going ever since Stan Lee had his first real success with the everyman superhero, Spider-man. However, they never changed their heroes’ basic backstories. Superman was an “overgrown boy scout,” but the fans loved it when he and Lois Lane finally got married. Many of us, myself included, felt that it was meant to be. True, we cried when we learned that Superman was going to die but it was a riot when he was brought back to life, better than ever. When it was learned that DC had made the decision to more or less divorce Clark and Lois and give the always tough newspaper reporter to some fool that nobody really knows, many of the fans, including myself, howled with outrage. Marvel received a similar reaction when some fool on their staff decided that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, another couple the fans long thought would inevitably be married, should be separated. Why writers do such things is beyond me.
Recently, however, I learned that DC, in its rush to boost sales, has decided to completely revamp Wonder Woman’s background. When will these fools learn that they should leave her alone?
Wonder Woman was originally created by William Moulton Marston, the psychologist, inventor of the systolic blood pressure test (now used as a component of the modern polygraph test), and noted feminist theorist during World War II when the comic book companies were coming up with the first superheroes (Superman, Batman, Captain America, etc). There were a number of factors that inspired Marston to create DCs Amazon powerhouse. First, he saw that the majority of the superheroes being created were male and he felt that there was a place in the genre for a strong female. Second, his wife, Elizabeth, who was born liberated, heard that Marston was inventing a superhero and declared that said hero needed to be a woman. Third, Marston saw the educational potential of comics. He felt that what the world needed was a superhero that would triumph through the use of love rather than with violence.
The Wonder Woman I remember was played by the beautiful and talented Lynda Carter. Like most girls of that day, I pestered my parents endlessly until they bought me the Wonder Woman Underoos, in which I would spin until I was dizzy, pretending I was Wonder Woman myself. I thought it was pretty cool that Diana wasn’t violent unless she had to be and, although her costume was revealing, really what superhero’s wasn’t, she was strong, talented, decisive and, above all, beautiful (and by that I don’t mean her looks). She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up.
Of course, much of that has now been left at the wayside, now that the New 52 has been announced and is beginning to be sold, once again intent on worshipping the almighty dollar through selling sex and violence rather than catering to the fans or building the rising generation. Everyone knows sex and violence sells and you’ll often hear writers scream to fans that they’re not doing anything more than writing realism. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the majority of people in general or women specifically are that violent or that promiscuous. In fact, I think most people are decent, moral, conscientious and, above all, kind. You tend to see more acts of kindness in the real world than you do acts of violence and promiscuity. I don’t count the exploits of celebrities in the supermarket rags. That’s just more evidence of publishers trying to use sex and violence as a tool to sell magazines and, thus, enrich themselves. If only morality sold, but, unfortunately, morality isn’t sensational and that’s what publishers are really aiming at: Sensationalism. It’s a pity really and, now, fans of Wonder Woman are suffering for it.
Why couldn’t Diana’s background be left alone? As a storyteller, I understand that the original myth involving the Amazons was a violent one. Amazons were reputed to be very manlike, murderous in some cases, the idea being that they went against the nature with which women were created. The stories said that they lived on an island in the Mediterranean, that they frequently captured male sailors, had sex with them until they became pregnant and then slew their lovers and, if the children they bore were male, their sons as well. Stories said that the island had a small graveyard where the island’s males were buried. They also said that every woman in the group was a warrior and, as rite of passage, each woman would cut off her right breast, the better to facilitate the drawing of a bow in battle.
Marston’s original background for Wonder Woman held that the Amazons, though tough and fierce, were fundamentally feminine and didn’t really go against their natures, mainly because they were cut off from the rest of the world and few in number. They lived on an island called “Paradise” and Diana was created from a lump of clay given life by the Greek Gods. She didn’t have to be hidden from Hera because her creation was legitimate and necessary. She was a warrior that was fundamentally female.
Nowadays, so many women feel the drive to either keep up with or outdo men in the working world. My husband and I have often remarked how hard it is for today’s man to get a job in our feminized world. Why, then must Wonder Woman follow suit? Why should she need to be darker? Why should she ever find it necessary to kill when her original creation was as an object and proponent of love? Don’t they say that it’s love that makes the world go around? Don’t they say that love is the most powerful emotion? Why should it be viewed as a weakness? I know that many of us, both male and female have suffered greatly for putting our trust into the hands of unworthy people. Does that really make it a drawback? Isn’t it for lack of love that so many marriages dissolve today?
Please, DC, don’t do this to us! Don’t make Wonder Woman into a female Batman! There’s only one Batman and only one Wonder Woman and, speaking only for myself, I liked her the way she was.
- She’s a Wonder… Wonder Why? (wired.com)