Saturday, July 3, 2010

About the Wonder Woman Stuff

So people have been asking me lately about the new Wonder Woman costume and origin story that J. Michael Straczynski has put forth in his upcoming run on the title, making its first appearance in Wonder Woman #600. Fair enough - I'm the comic book guy on That Guy With the Glasses, so of course whenever there's something that's big news, people feel compelled to ask me my opinion on it.

On the other hand, people are asking me to give my opinion on something that hasn't really happened yet, like asking me what I think about Saban reacquring Power Rangers - I'm happy that it's coming back, but I can't really give my opinion on a series that hasn't been made and hasn't aired and I haven't watched.

But, hey, I've been giving my opinions about it on Twitter for the last few days and people are still asking (which is strange, because I always figured I had more followers on Twitter than I did my blog or the like), but yeah, let's get it out of the way so I can just link people to it instead of repeating my points over and over.


Photobucket

So this is Wonder Woman's new costume and you want to know how I feel about it. Yeah, I hate it. Frankly, every time I look at it I have to remind myself that I'm not looking at Anita Blake or an Elseworlds version of the character or something from Project Rooftop. Wait, I take that back, Project Rooftop's Wonder Woman costumes look better than this. They utilize her Greek origins or they emphasize her strength while staying within colors Wonder Woman actually wears. I'm sorry, but when I think of Wonder Woman, I think gold, I think red and blue, I do not think black and I don't think unnecessary leather jackets. Frankly, this outfit looks like one conceived for the nineties, which is funny considering she DID wear an outfit like this in the nineties... and it sucked.

But we'll get back to other Wondy costumes in a minute. So what prompted this costume change? Well, part of it was the revamped origin story that JMS is writing. Part of it was apparent backlash from women. Let's look at this a little from a recent interview he had with Newsarama.

"What that says is that new readers aren't sampling the book, and many of those who have been reading it, have dialed out or lost interest."

I didn't. I was really loving Gail Simone's run on the book. I still encourage people to go out and locate the trades of it or order it online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. But hey, I'm not everyone, so it's possible her run just didn't click with most readers.

"This is one of the surest signs that the stories, as good as they are, have become too insular."

This is one of the eye-rolling things about movies, TV, and comics - blaming one particular aspect of it for its failure and with comics, something like being "too insular," as if the reason we can't get on board is because there's too much history to it.

As I have said numerous times on podcasts, on Atop the Fourth Wall, and other places - continuity is not a problem for readers. Badly-used continuity is the problem. Referencing olders stories or materials should be done in a way that builds on what has come before while maintaining who the characters are at their core. JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative is my absolute favorite comic book of all time, and it's filled to the brim with references to the past of the Teen Titans, but that just makes me want to read those stories and find out what they're talking about, and yet I don't need those references to understand the story.

"This isn't a reflection on the character, the writers or the fans, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a perception issue, and as a friend of mine once pointed out, sometimes the only way to see clearly through a stained glass window is to punch a hole in it."

Wait, what? Ummm... if the stories are "too insular," then yes, it is the writer's fault for not making it more open to new readers. If it's a perception issue, than the problem IS with the fans as well as the marketing at the company since they're not doing what they need to do draw in new readers to taking a look.

"As I've noted elsewhere, Wonder Woman has, to an extent, become like a Ferrari you keep in the garage 24/7 because you're afraid of denting it. It's great to look at, beautiful in line and form, and as long as it's in the garage, it's safe ... but that's not what a Ferrari is for."

...Are you seriously comparing Wonder Woman to a sports car?

"The second reason for a big shakeup is that frankly, it's long overdue."

Be fearful any time a creator uses words involving "shaking up the status quo." The thing is, it's hard for me to point at any particular book that currently HAS a status quo. Event comics, team book lineup changes, crossovers, multi-part stories designed for ease of fitting into a trade paperback, and just ill-fated directions for books mean that there's very little status quo to be found in a lot of books. Teen Titans for the last few years, as an example, have had their team lineup changed repeatedly. Same goes for the Justice League. Creators leave or are unpopular with readers, editors get reshuffled, and plots are tossed aside or redone because one creator wants to use a character and internal politics at companies prevents them from utilizing them.

In Wonder Woman's recent history in the past four or five years:
-Paradise Island was transported away during the events of Infinite Crisis.
-Wonder Woman got a secret identity and became a DEO agent.
-The Greek Gods were captured in Countdown for reasons that are still confusing and stupid.
-Paradise Island returned and lead to Amazons Attack, and I think we all know how I feel about that one.
-At the end of Amazons attack, Diana was forbidden from returning to Themyscira and all the Amazons' memories were erased.
-The Amazons' memories were returned and they returned to the island at the behest of a freed Zeus, who planned to strip them of their immortality as a reward for their faithful service. Zeus also set up a tribe of men as a counterpoint to the Amazons to try to finish the task they started in changing the world.
-Zeus expelled Diana from the island when she refused to follow this path and Diana renounced the Greek pantheon, pledging her fealty to the Hawaiian Gods (it's complicated - read the trades)
-The DEO's operations center where Diana worked was destroyed and she abandoned her secret identity.
-The whole thing turned out to be a plot by Ares and Zeus apologized for his stubborn ways and declared that Diana was right, allowing her to be loyal to her Gods again.

Where in all of that is a status quo that has lasted enough years for there to be something that needs to be "shaken up?" The problem with a lot of writers is that they DON'T read the books that came before, so they have a preconceived notion of who a character is and what the stories have been like.

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering what the hell this has to do with her stupid new outfit. Well, it's at this point where we get to the big evidence that JMS has never read Wonder Woman before.

"Her look, her dynamic and the sorts of stories being told have ossified over the years. Other characters have had their image buffed and altered over the years, but absent the regrettable mod look of the 60s, Wonder Woman looks pretty much the same now as she did in 1941."

Photobucket

What you're looking at are seven of Wonder Woman's outfits over the years. Now, I do apologize for having to reduce the size of the picture in order to make it fit the blog size, but it should be clear enough to see that not only has Wonder Woman's image HAS altered over the years, for better or worse. The earliest one depicted here is the one second on the left, and even that's not what she looked like when she started. The breastplate has gone through numerous changes, as well as the star pattern and the size of the hotpants.

Now some of you are probably thinking, "Well let's face it, Linkara - Wonder Woman's not an American, yet she's wearing the American flag on her ass. Changing it up a bit is good." Fair enough, but then again that's ignoring the various origins that have come up over the years. She's worn it as the colors of the nation she was going to, it's been pointed out that white stars on a blue background isn't exactly an american invention, and honestly when I look at Wonder Woman, I notice the gold areas more than the rest, much like how on Superman your eye is drawn to the "S" on his chest instead of the rest of him. The symbology is important.

But hey, it's not a bad point... but I just don't like the costume they went with. As I said, black is not a color I think of when it comes to Wonder Woman. The costume on the far right is the one she wore in the nineties, and it's drawn a lot more flattering here than it ever was in the actual comics. It's just ugly - some characters can carry a jacket (Animal Man, Firestar, Rogue) and others can't. Wonder Woman is one of them - she comes from a Greek society of warrior women - they didn't wear jackets.

'But wait,' many of you have asked me, 'Aren't you a feminist? Aren't you happier now that she isn't wearing a sexist bathing suit and is actually wearing pants and showing less skin?' Well, let's address that last part first - she's not really all THAT much more covered up. She's still got exposed cleavage and frankly most comic book artists draw pants on women as skintight to the point that it might as well be spray-painted on anyway. And even then, as I said, the Project Rooftop examples had plenty of costumes with pants, but they weren't black. And in case you're wondering if I'm just misinterpreting the colors and it's really dark blue, check out the article or buy Wonder Woman #600 for yourself - they're black.

Now let's address my feminism. This is once again a misinterpretation of what feminism is - the thing is, showing skin is not the problem. I mock it in a lot of books because it seems like a lot of women's costumes are designed to show as much skin as possible for titillation reasons. Instead of designing costumes that are logical for a character based on who they are, their origins, or their thought process, they're designed so that they can ride up a woman's ass and heterosexual men can drool at it. Part of feminism is that you don't have preconceived notions about a person simply because of how they dress, how society might look at a girl or a woman in a mini-skirt and think to themselves, "they must be a slut," when in reality they could just really like mini-skirts.

Costumes themselves are not necessarily sexist one way or another and the same goes for Wonder Woman (though I continually groan in frustration whenever an artist decides that Wonder Woman's lower half rides up her ass like a thong). How the characters are written and how their body language is portrayed is what makes things sexist one way or another. Frank Miller writes Vicki Vale to be obsessed with superhero penises and put in the script that he wants Jim Lee to sexualize her for titillation, making her into nothing more than an object to be gazed at, describing in detail that she should be in skimpy attire and that her ass should be front and center for the reader. THAT is a sexist portrayal.

Artists drawing women so they're bending over more, positioning group shots so that women are showing off the curvatures of their bodies instead of standing or sitting naturally is a sexist portrayal (unless it is within the character's nature to be doing so). Drawing women's nipples poking through their outfits, while possibly a hint of realism due to the nature of their costumes, is a sexist thing to do - this is a medium where apes can become knights, Amazon Princesses can become ambassadors in between fighting mythological creatures, and aliens can shoot laser beams from their eyes. There's a degree of logic that's necessary for story structure or when science NEEDS to be consistent for a plot point. Asking why Wonder Woman's breasts don't bounce out of her bustier is an unnecessary question to ask (unless it's for humorous purposes) because we're already working in a world where she can deflect bullets with her bracelets and possesses super strength and a lasso that compels the truth.

So, yeah, my problem with the costume is from a purely aesthetic sense and the reasons for replacing it are pretty weak, in my opinion.


"Finally, there's the problem of her being overwhelmed by her mythology and her supporting characters. When writers don't know what to do with a character, they build up the supporting cast and universe to kind of hide that fact. After a while, you can no longer see the character for the underbrush. When that happens, you need to bring out the weed-whacker to clear some of that away so you can focus on the main character."

That is one of the dumbest things I have ever read. Wonder Woman's entire character and origin are built around Greek mythology. The Gods are an intrical part of her birth and upraising. WHO SHE IS as a character and a person are determined entirely by her life experiences and her connections to the Greek Gods. If you strip that all away, you are not writing Wonder Woman, you're writing an entirely new character with a different origin. And that's fine, but you don't need to tear down what came before in order to tell about this new character.

And how exactly is Wonder Woman overwhelmed by her supporting characters? I've been reading Wonder Woman for the last few years and have read trades of stories that happened well before that and I have never seen her be "overwhelmed by her supporting characters." While it's true that many writers will do away with the previous supporting cast and put in their own, Wonder Woman has always been the central focus of the book and she's always a major player in the events that unfold.

Not to mention that "bringing out the weed-whacker" as described by JMS is NOT how a good writer handles things. If the writer feels that not enough emphasis has been placed on the main character, then you WRITE ABOUT THE MAIN CHARACTER. As the person actually writing the book, you are capable of writing what YOU want to write. You think the supporting characters have too much focus? THEN DON'T WRITE ABOUT THEM.


"It's all part of Straczynski's attempt to give Wonder Woman a more realistic, grounded approach that contrasts with her still mythical background. He compares the effect to what Neil Gaiman did in Sandman. While this fresh, new Wonder Woman exists in a tough, urban world, she also interacts with a few surviving Amazons and their mythical world that still exists in the shadows."

...I was under the impression JMS had read Sandman, but apparently he hasn't in a while. While there is an element of urban reality present in the book, the fantastic and mythical elements of Sandman are the primary focus of the book, as it should be with Wonder Woman. Why? Because she's WONDER Woman. She comes from an island that regularly interacts with Gods and monsters. She has gone into space and fought off aliens. She has ventured into the depths of hell and she can lift heavy things. The book she be all about the wondrous, the fantastic, the things that we don't see in everyday life. If he wanted gritty, realistic, and grounded we'd be reading crime dramas or the more grounded Batman stories. Forcing the mythological elements into the shadows just makes her into a generic crimefighter who has some ties to mythical elements.


"Nrama: It sounds like she's turned into a woman who is much more realistic, at least in our world. A little less untouchable and god-like, and a little more familiar. Is that accurate? And was that a goal?

Straczynski: Yes. Again, the goal is to make her more interesting to and accessible for a readership that genuinely wants to like this character, but have found the picture-frame surrounding her less than interesting."

Making her more like average schlubs makes her LESS interesting, not more. In Gail Simone's last two issues on the book, Wonder Woman fought off an invading force of brutal space Amazons that slaughter a population, take natural resources, and then recruit women into their brutal environment to be new soldiers in their force. She did so while always appealing to their better nature and her allies were a group of albino gorilla knights, government agents, and an Olympian riding on a two-trunked elephant. This is the kind of thing I want to see in my comics - not grounded stories about a woman "more realistic" and "accessible," but larger-than-life situations where you're not sure how they're going to get out of it, but that still emphasize the heart of her character and continue to offer a hand of compassion.

I would go on, but I think I've made my point by now. I will read the first few issues of this new run. I freely admit that in the interview, JMS has said that she's trying to put the old timeline together again and it's likely from that that in six issues, everything will be back to the way it was and people will forget about it.

However, reading this interview does not give me confidence that JMS understands who Wonder Woman is. The Wonder Woman I know of comes from the three other main stories in Wonder Woman #600, someone who can rally a force of superheroes together, a woman who can understand the nature of any living creature's soul, their needs and anxieties, and a competent superheroine that can work with others while performing otherwise impossible feats. Not so much the Geoff Johns story, though, since he keeps trying to push this idiotic idea that she isn't human.

And just to avoid a couple of posts that people are sure to make:
-Yes, JMS wrote One More Day, the infamous Spider-Man story where Spidey makes the deal with satan to end his marriage. And YES, he WAS in favor of the story. His objections to the book were in that he had written up a plan for how the continuity worked post-devil deal, but Marvel rejected it and said they were just going to play it fast and loose since "It's magic, we don't have to explain it."
-JMS IS capable of fantastically good writing, like in Babylon 5 or Thor, and yes even during his run on Spider-Man (Aunt May discovered the truth about Peter, Peter became a science teacher, etc. were excellent story ideas and executed brilliantly, IMHO). It's part of why I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. However, sometimes some writers just aren't suited to writing certain characters.



88 comments:

Rebochan said...

Thanks for posting all your thoughts in one spot. I've tried to keep track of your Twitter for this, but Twitter just isn't the kind of place for detailed opinions. Plowing through pages and pages of Tweets and then trying to piece together who and what you responded to at the time you tweeted is a nightmare.

You said a lot of what I felt should have been said. Especially the strange idea that Wonder Woman needed to be a completely different person to appeal to readers. It's not Wonder Woman anymore. It's using the name to sell a completely different character.

Perpugilliam said...

The new outfit doesn't seem to be iconic enough to stick around, so all the fuss it's causing confuses me a bit. From a fashion standpoint, however, the outfit is well-designed and practical if she loses the jacket. Let's face it, she's a female comic book character, so the chance of that happening is about 110%.

I can see this change being justified in terms of merchandizing to the mainstream. Unlike Batman, Wonder Woman has yet to recover from the silly image of her TV series in the public consciousness, and if this brings that chapter of her character to a close sooner, closer to her being taken seriously as a superhero in her own right, all the better.

As for the story changes, it's probably best to wait until the actual comics come out before making any calls on that one.

Anonymous said...

Concerning just the costume change I dont mind the new costume. Id prefer a less silly looking jacket, but it the new outfit seems perfectly serviceable and I could imagine some artists really making it work. That and im not that big of a fan of the original costume.

But on the other hand, when you change a characters costume, history, environment and supporting characters you kinda have to wonder why they are bothering. Well, we all know why, DC's rights to WW are crazy so they have to keep publishing the title and the sales on the title arnt great.

So yeah, I guess this is marginally better than canceling the title :/

Axel IX said...

I like the costume, I just don't think it's right for Wondy. It would be interesting to see a new character with this kind of design (Makes me think in tones of cyberpunk), but just not Wondy.

Falcon Whitaker said...

You know what? Apart from the jacket, I actually quite like the outfit. The outfit itself is quite nice... except that it isn't Wonder Woman.

It's like when Carrie Kelly changed the Flash's costume in The Dark Knight Strikes Again because it was "really... old". It's just changing things for the sake of changing things and screwing the iconography.

That outfit just isn't Wonder Woman. :( It's kinda sad.

Joshua the Anarchist said...

This looks like another example of a writer completely missing what it is that makes certain characters "accessible" & "relatable" to audiences. It's not more scientifically plausible settings. It's the characters themselves. Would Spider-man relate better to readers if he was just a really good athlete with no powers? Of course not. What makes him accessible is not what he is psychically capable of, but the fact that he thinks, behaves, & reacts like a real person. If you want to make Wonder Woman "more accessible" don't write her different, just write her better. Write her as a real person with her particular life & background would behave in any given situation and no matter how fantastical it may be, the audience will buy it. Completely revamping her is just a lazy writing tactic that doesn't fix anything and completely misses the point.

Rock N Roll Martian said...

I'm with the others who's biggest problem with the outfit is the jacket. It just seems WAY too 90s for me (it doesn't help that JMS mentioned pockets in the interview). Of course, I do have other problems with it; for starters, the "W" emblem should be much more prominent instead of just slapping a tiny one on there like they're ashamed of it.

I'm also really bugged by the whole concept of the gauntlets having a, to quote the interview, "stylized W on the outside that would cross to show WW and which would leave a mark if you got hit by it." Frankly, I don't have any other words to describe it that stupid. Kinda like the jacket, it just seems like the kind of "EDGY!" thing you'd normally get from a 90s comic.

Not to mention, Wondy's new origin is basically just a rehash of Krypton.

libraryguy said...

I'm in favour of changing Diana's costume, but I hate this redesign. It should look like armour, IMO.

As for the rest: I'm with you. I was hoping for Thor, but it doesn't look like we're going to get it (at least for a while).

I have mixed feelings about the Johns story. He still doesn't get it, but he comes closer than he has in the past. I noticed thathe still doesn't think Diana's human, but what really bugged me is that he assigned far to much self-importance to Diana. She thinks that the world needs to learn from Wonder Woman? No!

Anonymous said...

If i'm honest, I was irked a little by the comment 'she hasn't changed since the 1940s.' There's a reason for that- the suit has been iconic enough to stand the test of time. Just look at Superman or Batman- nobody ever really talks about changing their image, because everybody recognises it. I can understand some tweaks to a costume, but artistically it should have the same resonance. This new costume isn't iconic at all- it's pretty plain and doesn't inspire the same sense of power or recognition that the original had.

But knowing these kind of runs, it'll probably be rectified after a year or so and the character will return with her original look. I can't see the fans nor the public in general sitting comfortably with this new design.

Titan_Matrix said...

okay on the costume picture, aside from the two on the ends, the five in the middle are REALLY similar with only small cosmetic changes made.
those five really are basically the same outfit.


Thanks for your opinion! I personally am not nearly as harsh on the outfit, finding it of course not being a costume at all but depending on what JMS does with it I can't really complain.

As for if he knows the character, if you haven't, I'd look at his recent brave and the bold issue with WonderWoman in it, I think he has a good handle on her.

Justin A. Harwood said...

Why is it that every time I read about Wonder Woman, it's about how they're totally reinventing her? A couple of years back it was that they needed to distance her from the mythology stuff, then they needed to bring back the mythology stuff, then they needed to give her a secret identity to get her closer to the old TV show. Now I guess she needs to be more relatable and whatnot.

Which is nonsense. I don't -relate- to Hal Jordan at all; I've never flown a plane or been a member of an intergalactic police force, hell I'm scared of heights. I still like reading Green Lantern though, because it's a well-written, consistently fun book. Nothing that character does "relates" to my life, nor does it need to. The fact that the choices Hal makes seem consistent with his life experiences is what makes him a believable character.

And I don't think anyone but the most prudish of persons is turned off of Wonder Woman because of the outfit alone. Like you said, it's the way in which the character is often drawn in that outfit that might upset some. Treat the character with respect (both in the writing and the art) and the costume isn't an issue.

Meanwhile if you're going to redesign it to be more covering, why not make it better the Grecian battle armor on which it's theoreticaly based? Why add a dumb 90's Superboy leather jacket to her ensemble?

Slade Dreizehn said...

Heh, I had a feeling that 'One more day' point would come up.

On the point of the costume; yeah, I do have to agree, it's not quite 'Wonder Woman'. At the same time, I'm one of those that never really dug any of her past looks (or at least the ones that I've seen).

Of course I have to go against the grain on the subject of the jacket as that is one of the points that won me on the design. Mind you, I'm not much for too many '90s aspect, but a cool jacket is just one that i tend to dig. Kinda helps that it as a sort of 'armored' look to it. Do have to totally agree on that 'black' aspect though. Would have been a bit nicer if it had more blues and golds.

And, yes, while I generally like the new arm bands, that whole 'w branding' b.s. is something that really has to go. Feels really tacked on and not very ... er... well, Wonder Woman like, I guess you would say.

I do think, if written right, the bit about 'gaining her various stuffs and getting stronger' could be a fun way to get to know her from the perspective of a new reader (which as of this issue, I can be counted amongst them). I have JMS to thank for giving me a chance to find a spot to jump in ( you better not screw it up JMS, we're watching you) and you, Linkara, for posting about it on twitter and all the past stuff you've mentioned about Wonder Woman.

Been wanting to get back into reading some American comics again, but have been kinda lost in all these event comics and such going on with the big two (Blackest Night, that cowl bit that i forget the name of, Dark Reign, and Second Coming come to mind right off).

Well, whether JMS sinks or swims, I'm going to be looking forward, as well as back, to getting into Wonder Woman.

By the by, have you looked at the (i guess it's a mini-series as it's numbered '1 of 4') "X Camups"? I picked it up while snagging WW #600 wanting not to stop at just getting the one book. I don't think it's -too- bad, but part of it feels like a rehash of the Evolution cartoon and part feels like an elseworlds sort of tail.

Some interesting choices on the changes, like with Magneto (Professor Magnus) and Xavier working on the same campus. One the other hand, there are changes that might be a bit weird, like having Logan being one of the actual students... as in, being a teen apparently.

Part of me thinks that the choices and changes are interesting, and the other part of me feels like I'm missing something as a lot of the aspects that I'm familiar with and expecting are kinda topsy-tervy...


Anyhoo, back on topic: So yeah. Thanks for the heads up on the book. Was kinda weirded out by the format though. I was expecting the whole of Wonder Woman #600 to be about the new plot. But once I realized that it was actually four separate stories, it suddenly felt like my 5 bucks were well spent. Especially as the first story is written by Gail Simone, so I finally got to have a taste of what you've been raving about.

So all in all, good stuff was had and the local comic shop.

Thanks again, bro.

charles said...

This jacket is just ugly.. do you notice Wondy never used a skirt? I wish her use more a greek thing, like a toga or something... something that keeps her in the mythological era. Because she isn' aware of the feminist movement or our modern society, she is just a powerful amazon, I like how she is a kind of a alien and now I think they want to destroy this.

Green Ninja said...

Thanks for that post Lewis. Always interesting to hear your thoughts about things like that.

btw.: you wouldn't happen to know where I can read what JMS' plans for the Spidey Continuity were?

hulkbustrironman@aol.com said...

I would bet dollars to donuts that this costume comes from the failed JLA movie from a couple of years back. It just screams MOVIE VERSION to me because there's so few women in the movie business that could pull off Diana's measurements, that they had to think of another way to put the character on screen and have her still be some what sexy and believable.

The only problem with that hypothesis is: the costume does not work for the comic. It looks too much like Anita Blake as Lewis pointed out and it also comes across as being a bit dated. The pants are too straight and the jacket with those pants reminds me of Detective Maza from Gargoyles. It's just a power decision and at the end of the day it's Geoff Johns' fault. Bad Geoff Johns. Bad,.

Slade Dreizehn said...

(Damn, didn't know there was a limit to how long a response could be... if my previous attempt did go through some how, please delete it XD )

Anyhoo:

Short and sweet.

The good: Sink or swim, at least JMS got me interested in Wonder Woman... Thought technically that thank you should really go to you, Linkara, as you were the one that posted about this on twitter. Anyhoo, With three other stories, one of which written by Gail Simone, this at least feels like 5 bucks well spent.

The Bad: While reboots and alternate timeline stories could be useful to both gain new readers and try new things out with characters, it rarely works, and the fact that one of the creators of OMD is the one running herd on these changes does not do well to ease that worry. Lets hope the benefit of a doubt we've given JMS will pan.

The ugly: Generally, I like this outfit. Now, I was one of those few that was sold on the jacket. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a snazzy jacket. However, I do have to agree on the colors (too much black, not enough red and gold, and pretty much no blue) and the bracers... Seriously? Branding a 'W' on foes? (though, I do have to say, I like the new tiara).

But the true 'ugly' here? My face when I realized my blunder: On twitter, I commented on her having 'less of a heal with this version'. Not only did she have taller heals in the actual comic, in reading the other stories, I come to realize that it's actually pretty rare for Wonder Woman to have heals at all.

Well, I am pretty new to the comic, so... Forgive a newb of his foolishness? ^_^;;;

Thanks Link. Whether this revamp tanks or wins, I'm going to be continuing my Wonder Woman readership.

Now to hunt down more issues XD

HarpieSiren said...

It's not a bad outfit, but it's just doesn't feel like Wonder Woman. It would have been fine for an AU version her her. Or maybe for a Wonder Woman inspired hero, similar Wonder Girl or Donna Troy.

And I get the appeal of not wanting her to run around in an armored bikini. I completely get that. But there are ways of doing it that can still feel like she's Wonder Woman.

Peter Dawson said...

Costume looks pretty awful, I have to agree. Almost reminds me of Superboy's old look, only at least his had the iconic logo and the infamous double belt. I don't mind the jacket thing, as sometimes heroes need practical elements to their costumes for warmth and whatnot, but it really just looks like low-key biker gear with some tacky bling.

My bad on the JMS OMD bit, I could of sworn he was against the whole thing, then embraced it but wanted to do it his way but then got told to the magic thing. Seriously, some of the supporting characters in OMD seem to pretty much scream that Peter's an idiot.

I will also repeat my comment about Geoff Johns since I am a Green Lantern fan boy and I think he usually does good work. While his Wonder Woman interpretation was obviously off-mark, given the amazons were originally meant to be better than men when the gods created them you can kind of see where he was coming from. JMS however, seems to have gone off the deep end. I just hope his weed whacker isn't like Bendis and Avengers Disassembled. Seriously, the deaths in that comic were wallbangers to the nth degree.

Anonymous said...

Well, honestly I DO like the new costume.
It looks like something I would use if I wanted to make a superhero (and yes, I do write)
I would still prefer Wonder Woman to wear a more Greek-themed costume, but I was never a fan of the flag-swimsuit.
It made sense during WW2, but that part of her history isn't considered canon any-more

And I'm glad JSM is writing it, because this way it may actually get published in my country!
Our comic publishers usually ignore traditional superheroes unless they are being written by a big-name writer, and JSM is one of their favourites.
So this may as well be Wonder Woman's solo-début over here (so far she only appeared in Kingdom Come, where she was mostly bat-shit insane, and in Superman For Tomorrow where she tries to beat-up Superman)

theory_of_everything said...

I think all popular superheroes have to or will have to go through these cycles. They start out as innocent children's fare. They get refined. Writers start running out of ideas and they think a new costume is in need.

Then, after a few years, they get their renaissance.

Superman needed to have his mullet and black and silver costume so we could fall in love with him all over again.
Batman needed to be replaced by Azrael so we could realize how important Bruce Wayne is.
The Green Lantern needed to be a villain for a while so we could eventually get a bad ass Spectral War.

The Renaissances that these characters needed couldn't happen until after everything turned to crap.

I give this Wonder Woman about a year, maybe less, until we get a REAL Wonder Woman again.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't One More Day more of a writing assignment / editorial mandate?

Considering that throughout the most of his run JSM was trying to bring Peter and MJ back together after what previous writers did with their relationship, I find it weird that he would one day wake-up and say "Hey! Let's erase that relationship from existence!"

Therefore I still blame Quesada for that one.

Jenny Creed said...

The basic problem with Wonder Woman's costume I think is that it was designed in 1941. It's impossible to deny the sexism that saturated the culture that made it.

And that sexism is perpetuated by clinging to the design with small cosmetic changes that still reveal large parts of the woman's arms, shoulders, back, breasts, hips and legs for no reason other than to titillate the reader. Not to mention the idiotic and frequent high heels.

It's iconic, yes, but it's iconic of an era that we as a species need to move on from. Regardless of how progressive the character herself and her stories may be, the icon of Wonder Woman remains a fundamental flaw at the most basic level in the depiction of women in comics.

The new outfit may look ridiculous, but at least it's a change. Which dumbassed comics traditions have you, Linkara, not previously spoken against?

cjhitchcock said...

I was against the costume change, but it was only because the new costume looked like something Donna Troy would wear instead of Diana. The jacket just doesn't fit the character.

But I will say, this new writer has me worried. Hopefully this won't turn into another Amazon's Attack.

Tyr Germanic said...

agreed.

evil villains.haha
its DC,theyre the evil villains with a real fuckin scheme. get it,killin superman,breakin batman,costume changes,killing batman,this,and superman 700(thats ok tho).
they want us to react like this,its viral advertising to them possibly,for publicity and so well keep reading in hopes what we ACTUALLY LIKE will return.
but how do you fight that? i guess ignore the comic til the creative team changes..? but thats still iffy so its a good evil plan.

heed the warning and all.
dc does this,theyre attention whores,every so often they do something crazy and contact EVERY magazine in hopes of attention.(i remember electric blue superman being advertised in disney adventures)

whats hilarious,shit for brains actually talked shit on wonder womans mod period suit,does he realize HE INVENTED WHAT HAS GONE DOWN AS THE MODERN DAY EQUIVALENT OF IT? in days too.
i said that part in caps too,you did it first,is it screaming?
emphasis at least so i wont delete that up there.

also is her home was destroyed..is she superwoman now??
it also makes no sense to do away with the very elements that has made her one of the fictional people who went strong and we talk about FUCKIN 70 years later.

stick it to em lewis
(what the fuck is linkara? u notice you reviewers are like superheroes with alter egos and such? heres an example!: nostalgia critic is to doug walker as dick grayson is to robin..see?weird how things are shaping out.)
thats how they know when they mess up,and she deserves better,
thanks for standin for the 1 of the nig 3 with the most potential.


ps(isnt greek stuff popular/profitable in media right now?)

Ben said...

DC has been making some weird decisions with their characters lately. They were doing so awesome last year up to this summer. Now with all the writers switching around stuff has gotten weird.

Anyway I am not to into this idea and probably wont read it. The only change in Wonder Woman I liked was when Hippolyta took over for a bit. Though I only really go to see that in Morrison's JLA.

Cedar said...

I have to agree that sometimes you do need to take a weedwacker to a comic in order to improve it (like most of the 90's Image stuff) But not Wonder Woman.

I think my favorite depiction of Wonder Woman was in New Frontier where she is not only still wearing her Amazonian armor, but she stands head and shoulders taller than Superman. That is the one thing that irks me about most who write and draw Wonder Woman.

Diana was born and raised in a warrior culture, bred to be a fighter, and imbued with the powers of the Greek gods in order to help save the world. Sure, her attitude would have evolved over the decades as she became more accustomed to a modern world, but they seem to keep moving away from that warrior spirit at her core, not to mention shrinking her over the years because the idea of a female superhero being taller than the boys is to threatening to the male ego.

Sorry for the rant, but I had to state my opinion. And Diana does not look like Anita Blake, Diana still has a nose ;)

blackduke said...

I get you point, you made much more sense than most of people complaining about the issue combined. But I think you're overacting a little. If JMS is ignorant towards Wonder Woman, as you claim, isn't it good that he writes story set in rewritten timeline? He isn't writing Diana we know, he's writing Diana with different history, raised in different einvorment, his Diana - change that can be easily undone either when he, next writer or DC editorial will feel like. He isn't ruining WW, he's writing his own version of her. This way we can see his interpretation without going against previously estabilished character

I, for one, are fan of dynamic status quo - things often needs to change, this is this minimum of realism I think comics needs. Life isn't staying in one place, like status quo - always something is changing, for better or worse. And comics should be like that - there always should be some sort of change in any story, because we're watching the life of our heroes, and we want to see it advancing, even a bit. I'm not speaking about this case, but in general - I want to see a change, a lot of them. They just need to be done right, nothing more.

This change in WW won't even last (I bet it will last shorter than Age of Apocalypse), so I don't see a problem here and is always something fresh, new sort of story.

And sorry, but JMS was forced to write story he didn't wanted to do in OMD, there are many proofs about it over the Internet.

blackduke said...

@theory_of_everything - believ that superheroes started as innocent is bullshit. Batman started as gun-wielding, neack-breaking vigilante who orchestrated car accident that almost killed Joker. original Robin was collecting pictures of criminals getting killed and original Wonder Woman has sadistic hobby of seeing her enemies in bondage. Original Captain America was killing German soldiers right and left, and most of Golden Age heroes seen killing like something normal. Saying that originally they were innocent is nothing more than "comics are supposed to be for kids" propaganda.

Jeff said...

I would like to point out that JMS also did a good job on The Real Ghostbusters (the only work of his that I have seen). There is a point in the series where several changes were made and it "jumps the shark"; he left the show when these changes were mandated. More info about his involvement with the series can be found here. The "Executive Meddling" section of the TV Tropes page summarizes some of these changes, including such gems as
- Janine's pointy glasses need to be changed because children are scared of pointy things.
- As the only black Ghostbuster, Winston should ALWAYS be the one who drives Ecto-1.

Jaebird said...

Wow. I've certainly been blown away by this. I mean, I made a few comments about it over on my blog, but that just shows how much of the character. Which, after reading this, is nothing at all.

JDarkley said...

Is it me, or is there this trend of taking popular and well-established characters and rebooting them to a more dark and down to earth state? As far as I can tell, this trend dates back to Batman Begins. They took a (at that point) crappy film series and just said "Screw it, lets just start from scratch!" and started with an origin story. They gave us a terribly corrupt Gotham City as a setting and explained how and why Batman operates the way he does. This was all well and good because it made sense for Batman, as he has no super powers and thus certain facets of him must be properly explained. In the case of Wonder Woman all you need to say is "Oh, she's an Amazon from Greek Mythology who winds up in the United States." There, that's her origin, nice and simple. "Superman? He's an alien and his powers come from exposure to the Earth's sun." My point being is that the sort of reboot that Batman got works for Batman, it doesn't necessarily work for other characters. I don't want a dark and urban Wonder Woman because she's not meant to be a dark and urban character.

As for the costume? Well, if the pants and jacket where lighter shades of blue, then it might work. Other wise she looks like some biker chick.

lonewolf23k said...

The thing that annoys me about JMS' comments is that he seems to be avoiding exactly the elements that make Wonder Woman who she is.

Who is Wonder Woman?
-An Amazon
-A Princess
-A Warrior
-A Diplomat
-A Champion of the Gods
-A Hero of the People
-An Inspiration to Women
-A Protector of the Innocent
-The Most Loyal of Friends
-A Living Spirit of Truth

If you want to write stories about Wonder Woman, you need to keep those elements in mind.

wiredwizard said...

I still think the new costume makes it look like WW has been raiding Buffy's closet for something to wear on laundry day. =shrug=

deluge said...

The design is not really bad, or to be more exact the sketch for the costume is not bad. I like the pant, because they are armoured, we can see the plate. After all it will be logical, because if WonderWoman can block the bullets whit her gauntlets, she cannot protect completely herself. By putting a set of armour on a her leg she actually reduce the chance of being hit and can be used to cause more damage. Now the problem with the pants are in the comic, they are not a piece of armour, but normal pant made from leather...or peharps even LATEX. The sketch version is good, the comic just suck. Even the colours is not the same.

The gauntlets are also interesting, the new look gave them some warrior quality and conserve the colours of WondderWoman. To be frank I never liked the original version, they always looked to be a piece of jewelry; now they seem to have been made for combat. Is not just logical in the perspective of our reality, but also for the comic world and her origin. After all the bracelets were made from the sacred shield of Athena, a goddess of war, and thus they should be not be bracelets but weapon and protection.

The belt is okay, I think they could have made something more interesting. I have the same felling with the top, good but in the end average. My main problem go from the fact they seem to try to hide the WW logo. The top should be a bit armoured, one of the W making a protection - just like some older design where she wear a chest plate- and connecting with the second W who will be on the belt. But perhaps this version will be to much sexualized, because one of the W will indicate her breasts and the second her vagina.

The jacket is just silly. I have the bad impression they try to gave her a darker look, but with a touch of femininity. If they want to gave her a darker look, gave her a long coat, the supreme accessory of badassery. Yes is cliché, but a least it work, and actually they can put the white star on it. However the best thing is the simple approach, no jacket, no coat, no cape, just like the old time.

The tiara is okay, is the same old piece of jewelry. Personally, just like with the bracelets, I never liked it, and the version from the all star Batman and Robin is better(perhaps the only good thing on a that piece of ****)

The real problem with the new version, WonderWoman wear a collar...WTF. With jacket, the collar, and the latex pant from the comic, I have the bad impression she work in a SM club.

Overall is a good design(except the collar), but not for Wonder Woman, and you're right about the design from project rooftop. I have the bad impression this new design is not made because of the retcon, inasmuch as a incoming movie. DC probably want to launch a movie about WonderWoman, and they choose to go with a more realistic, something in the vein of Batman. The retcon itself is probably more a way to make publicity, and make thing more plausible on a live action movie.

James said...

Very good rundown, Lewis.

Incidentally, since we're on the topic... how do you think Diana would look if she was bald?

Claire said...

Claplapclapclap

Nicely said. Nicely said. Allow me to shake you by the hand re: your grasp on feminism?

However, Mr JMS.. sometimes the only way to see clearly through a stained glass window is to punch a hole in it is not a smart thing your friend said. It is a stupid thing your friend said. If you can't see through stained glass, get closer. Or MOVE BACK AND APPRECIATE IT, like is the point of stained glass. Ffs.

Armaina said...

When I saw the design, while I liked the idea it just didn't feel more like Wonder Woman to me. I also had this feeling of 'hey, doesn't Black Canary wear something like that?' not exactly the feeling you want to get when re-designing such an iconic character's costume.

I'm also bothered by the seemingly complete ret-con of her past. Wonder Woman without her history, the Greek Gods and everything they are connected to just isn't Wonder Woman anymore.

But hey, maybe the costume is symbolic? Symbolic in the sense that it's trying to say "This isn't the Wonder Woman you are looking for." :|

MetFanMac said...

I can't see this lasting more than a year. Two years, tops. So I'm not going to bother getting worked up over it.

Besides that, great in-depth and thoughtful post all around!

Vivi said...

Now that I've read about what they plan with, no, to do to Wondie, I'm even more mad.
More mad at that than at them taking a look I myself wore for at least ten years, colour scheme and all...

blackduke said...

@Claire - Alexander the Great would disagree with you.

Dan Shive said...

How does a character stay interesting after 70 years and 600 issues? I can understand using the character as a sort of archetype and creating new stories from a new starting point. In the case of keeping a series going indefinitely, however, it seems like the characters and the stories are doomed to stagnate and repeat themselves short of breaking away from the familiar. It's why these characters keep getting revamped, why Amazons attack, and why spiders make deals with the devil.

Personally, I can easily see spaghetti logic continuity being an issue for new readers. I would much rather pick up the first issue of something and follow it from there than jump in at issue hundred-something.

Nitz the Bloody said...

With all due respect, Lewis, the image of Wonder Woman's different looks over the years kind of works against your argument. Aside from the two radical departures on the edges, they're all just little tweaks to the same basic design. Even Batman has had a more diverse wardrobe ( in terms of subtle changes ).

That said, I agree with the rest of your essay, though I'm not as bothered by the new look as other people seem to be.

Will Staples said...

Anyone else getting uncomfortable flashbacks to John Byrne's "Man of Steel"? By throwing out decades of stories, JMS looks like he wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and that never ends well.

Redguy said...

Looking at the costume I can honestly say I love it, but when the realization that this is supposed to be Wonder Woman it comes up short. It looks like something that Cassie or even Donna should be wearing, but not Diana. I really hate it when writers think that they can make a character "better" at the expense of the characters pre established identity and personality, WW isn't supposed to be "down to Earth" she's supposed to be a high flying goddess. Well I can give it and her new portrayal a chance, but it feels like it will ultimately be set aside and forgotten like the Blue Superman, the Iron Spider or the Big M Magneto.

BallsMonkey said...

I didn't think it was possible for me to love you more, Linkara. I have been proven wrong. You are absolutely right, sir.

Jordan Glazer said...

Your right about the costume I don't really like it either. I think it's from my idea that like you implied is that it's just kinda unneeded. I don't really remember reading any recent issues of wonder woman lately and thinking wow her costume is really dull. I don't really like the lay out of the comic it feels like they are trying to make her as JMS said "More relateable and human" but he's undermineing everything she is. She's a mystical amazon warrior princess who is part of the major trinity. Not someone like Huntress who is constantly dealing with crime on the streets and thugs and dosn't have any powers. If I had to say something good about it, it's that it at least is better then the one on the far left or the ninetys one which always made me think of her as a hooker. Thanks for pointying out the problems I think I'll at least Look at it in the store and decide wheather it's a buy. But I'm not all that enthusiastic.

H2O589 said...

Lewis I picked up the first trade of Wonder Woman by Gail Simone entirely off of your recommendation and I was not disappointed. I love the stories she's written, have collected every issues she's done and
I'm as upset as you over all the unnecessary changes. Like with Diana Troy I feel like JMS is too worried about WW's origins and not who she is now. And that bull about developing a good supporting cast/world for a character being a bad thing is the dumbest thing I've ever heard a so called writer say. I feel like he doesn't know jack about the character at all. And him writing one more day doesn't exactly fill me with hope either.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he might be able to put together something good but much like with M. Night Shamaylan and The Last Airbender I fear my worries are going to be proven true. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be done with the Wonder Woman comics after a couple more issues. It's a shame the way DC continues to screw over their characters.

H2O589 said...

Whoops I meant to say Donna Troy. Freudian slip there.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I have to say, I like the new concept better than the old one. The idea of a major feminism icon running around dressed in a cleavage exposing one piece bathing suite always struck me as odd.

And don't even try to say that Super Man's outfit is skin tight to, that's not the point. Wonder Woman's outfit was always incredibly revealing for no adequately explained reason. Can you imagine Supes flying around in just his shorts all the time? It wouldn't look heroic or hot to the ladies, just awkward.

If I met a wonder woman in real life and she saved my life... I'd thank her, but I'd still probably have a hard time stifling my laughter at her costume choice. She wonders why she gets so many cat calls in the street... hey if you ain't selling don't advertise, what can I say?

I always felt Wonder Woman's costume inadvertently objectified her. All she needed was to cut out the middle and expose her midriff like she was wearing a bikini or her underwear... oh wait, she did that didn't she?

This costume would be a lot easier to take seriously and it's unique to boot. It doesn't look like a rip off of batman or superman. If she got cat calls in that, she'd be justified in walloping a few guys.

I don't know, in the end, I always felt like it looked weird for wonder woman to change into her "hero outfit" before a fight. Like she was saying "wait a minute! I'm not showing enough skin! Removing almost all of my clothes will definitely help me defeat this impending doom!"

Really, if wonder woman were to wear something modest and even slightly intimidating in a dark alley, like what's shown, I would finally be able to take her seriously as an icon of women's rights. Right now I just have to cringe every time you bring her up in such a light because her costume is so obviously tailor made for the express purpose of sex appeal.

Daniel said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the feminist point there, Lewis. Thanks for explaining, but I'd say you're missing the point. No offense is intended by this disagreement, of course. I just think you're a little off on this one point.

It is profoundly sexist to dictate what women should wear, yes, and that applies to demands all women cover up just as much as demands they dress skimpily; but the point that is really of concern is why a woman dresses in a certain way. What cultural conditions, beliefs, and stereotypes have conditioned that choice? Does she really make the choose of attire freely? Any clothing on a woman is acceptable so long as she made the choice freely, with respect to her own true preferences. So we need to get into the reasons why Wonder Woman's traditional costume looks like that.

I will confess to not being a fan of Wonder Woman, and indeed finding Gail Simone to be very hit-and-miss in quality; but why do you think Wonder Woman's traditional costume is a sports bra and underpants in the first place? It goes without saying that William Moulton had some bizarre and rather sexist ideas, but the costume endured in popularity, and I have to say I think it would be extremely naive to think that sexual objectification is not a factor.

You may remember one Gail Simone story (WW #24, I believe? Nov. 2008) in which a woman said 'And pardon me if I don't think wearing the flag on your barely covered rear end is any sort of good message for my daughters'. That woman was right (though I would say that the rest of that issue and story arc was execrably bad). However you dress it up, Wonder Woman is fighting crime in public in what amounts to her underwear. Why is she doing that? Are there any practical reasons? Or is it a tradition of objectification? By comparison, even Namor has a reason to go around dressed only in underwear, flimsy though it is. Does Wonder Woman have any reason?

I think that trying to defend this on feminist grounds is, to be frank, misguided, and you will forgive me for wondering if your obvious love for the character and her mythos interfere with your objectivity. It reminds me of some of the apologists for Power Girl's cleavage window, who argue that she's displaying her femininity in a strong, empowering way.

Now, that said, I am not a huge fan of the new costume. Your complaint about it being black-dominant certainly holds, and the skin-tight pants are very nearly as bad as wearing no pants at all. But no matter how bad it is, I am going to look at it and say 'at least she's not fighting crime in her underwear any more', which makes it a step up by default. The new costume could be a lot better and I think your criticisms hold true there, but to me, anything would be better than the old one.

looking2dastars said...

Well put as always, Linkara.

I wound up writing a lot more on this over the past few days than I'd planned (or wanted) to. And yet, something new just hit me reading your comments.

1. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the man behind Babylon 5 is complaining about insular continuity making something inaccessible to the masses?

(I like Babylon 5. I actually like it better than Star Trek. But it is a series that you can easily introduce people to.)

2. JMS says that the sales on Wonder Woman going down indicate that readers aren't satisfied with things as they are.

Last I checked, comic sales across the board were going down. Partly because the prices on a lot of comics just went up and partly because money is tight all around because of the economy. I'm not sure you can blame the low sales on Gail Simone's writing because

I haven't seen ANYONE say a bad thing about her Wonder Woman run. And she won an ALA Award for Best Graphic Novel for Teens for "Wonder Woman: The Circle".

So... yeah.

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"I haven't seen ANYONE say a bad thing about her Wonder Woman run. And she won an ALA Award for Best Graphic Novel for Teens for "Wonder Woman: The Circle"."

Well, in fairness, I HAVE seen people say bad things about her run. Not necessarily that they don't think she understands the character, but rather the stories themselves aren't as well-written as they should be. At times there's a Grant Morrison-esque "did I turn over two pages at once?" feel to plot point reveals and there's a lot going on that's not being said and for many readers that's not the most satisfying of reads.

I, however, have enjoyed Gail's run throughout and was very sad to hear that she was leaving.

Jeffrey Morales said...

Apparently my post was so long it needed to be in two parts.

Great essay, Linkara. The moment I saw the story I wondered what your take would be.

I think I’ll give my opinion on this as someone who isn’t a fan of Wonder Woman’s traditional look (nor am I a fan of this current one).

Right away I’ll say that the jacket is a terrible choice. I do like the shoulder pads with the stars on them and the distribution of blue on the upper parts of her body. In the end, though, there’s a short list of characters that make sense wearing jackets and Wonder Woman isn’t one of them. The neck piece is also a bad choice. With the jacket, the tiara and her long hair, it’s getting cluttered up there.

Changing the silver gauntlets to golden gloves is an interesting choice. This design seems intent on making the costume more consistent with itself. The dominant color in her old costume was tan, not blue, gold or red. The costume colors also tended to be sectional. Compare Wonder Woman’s design with Superman, who has an even distribution of red and blue.

Notice that the gold belt is angling down instead of pushing upwards as hit has done previously. This is one of the changes I very much like. While subtle, it gives her a taller appearance by extending her waist. As for the pants, I actually like this change and hope that future designs experiment with this idea. I do not like that they are black, mind you. I also wish she had red boots and perhaps some stars on her hips as a call back to her original look.

This isn’t because I dislike the idea of Wonder Woman exposing her legs. I have just found that her standard crotch piece never worked for me. Artists seemed to struggle with how to draw it (the waist piece creating a solid cutoff line on the top didn’t help things) and it either looked like a diaper or a bikini bottom. The stars had a habit of “shaping” the piece, as most artists would keep them aligned even when the shape of her hips should warp the arrangement (you can probably guess why they do that).

Continued in Part 2

Jeffrey Morales said...

Part 2 (hope my comments aren't being double posted - it's being weird today)

I think it’s telling that most redesigns, even subtle ones, would fiddle with the shape of this piece. All that said, this design stumbles by making her legs a solid black mass. This seems to be a common occurrence in modern character designs. The entire leg area is turned into a solid color. Why? With all the acrobatic moves characters make, the legs get as much page space as the upper body. It just seems lazy.

As a matter of symmetry, giving her pants means that her arms need to be covered. This is because, without that, the character would be top light. Perhaps instead of a jacket some kind of undershirt or other clothing choice would have been better. Maybe just using shoulder pieces would help. It would work given her warrior qualities.

Finally, the chest piece itself needs a much larger W. It doesn’t need to cross her bust but it could extend into her shoulder straps. Once you drop that piece, she really could be any character. That, in addition to the jacket, is why some people are saying this “isn’t Wonder Woman.” Redesigns walk a fine line. In the case of Thor, for example, they kept the circular pieces and his cape. Iron Man always retains his central light, round head and square eyes and mouth. Everything else is fair game for that character.

Maybe the really hard part about Wonder Woman is that her old design is so segmented. People might like her lower half but not her chest piece or vice versa. In addition, it’s impossible to discuss the character without getting into feminist implications.

I really didn’t want to get into that and instead keep this a look at her costume from an artistic standpoint. I will say that some people need to understand that there are various kinds of feminism. Linkara is one of the more modern iterations. Typically, there are three generations of feminism in America and they tend to not get along very much philosophically. I’m sure Linkara is aware of the history but I wish someone would go over it for the young people who can’t tell the difference between second wave and third wave feminism. It’d be a fun thing to do: examine comics that represent the different eras.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is exactly what I have been telling everyone else. She just looks like the generic stock of 90's heroines with that outfit and anything iconic was left out. Hell, this looks more appropriate as an alternate future for the current Wondergirl than an outfit that Wonder Woman should be wearing.

Jeffrey Morales said...

A quick note of clarification: I don't know the specifics of Linkara’s feminist views. If I mischaracterized you as a proponent of third wave feminism (or otherwise suggested that you were) I apologize.

Nyar said...

My problem with the new outfit is that there is already a superhero who has that style... in fact is a team of superheroes...
Now Diana can join the X-men, she will look great next to Cyclops.

Anonymous said...

You can say what you want about the crappy new costume but it probably stirred up enough controvery to increase sales.They'll change it back anyway.

Till then just enjoy the days of Wonder-Jacket.

Anonymous said...

While I can't comment on the reasons behind this or the backstory thing since I know next to nothing about Wonder Woman, I personally really like this costume. Wonder Woman's original outfit always struck me as way too over sexualized- she looks like a beauty queen contenstant instead of a super heroine. The fact that she's now wearing pants is a major improvement in my opinion.

I think part of the reason I like this so much is that I've never liked the traditional superhero outfits and have for a long time wished they'd just wear ordinary clothes, or at least ditch the skintight spandex*. I think this outfit is the best of both worlds in that it looks practical and realistic while still obviously being a costume.

* (I'll make an exception for characters like Superman, Batman and Spiderman, who need to conceal their identity or who rely on their costumes to instill fear and awe in oponents. There's also the matter of costumes that have gadgets or some element of utility to them).

Anonymous said...

I have a question now that you've mentioned the new power rangers here. Do you think you'll put that one in your "History of the Power Rangers" series after you do the rest?

Il-Mari said...

You know what this reminds me of?

Those times, I think it was in the 90's, when someone decided the X-Men should have matching outfits, with only some peripheral references to their unique looks.

Like you say, it really downplays her unique elements in favor of the generic, except in this case it's not even team colors or something else that at least makes some sense.

Peter Dawson said...

"The basic problem with Wonder Woman's costume I think is that it was designed in 1941. It's impossible to deny the sexism that saturated the culture that made it."

You're mistaking the costume for the bondage. The costume itself, while indeed quite skimpy, is worn by a woman who obeyed ancient Greek dress codes. It also disallows for constriction, something Greeks tried to avoid in combat. Nudity was a very Greek thing after all, hence why we get ancient Greek warriors wearing almost nothing. Maneuverability is the name of the game. I know from personal experience I feel I can run faster in shorts than tight pants, and without a jacket to drag me down. You do get some sexuality as a result, yes, but in the mind of the character at least in makes sense, and she isn't constantly going around going, "Oh, I'm so hot in this outfit..." as she licks her finger and runs it across her cleavage.

"And that sexism is perpetuated by linging to the design with small cosmetic changes that still reveal large parts of the woman's arms, shoulders, back, breasts, hips and legs for no reason other than to titillate the reader. Not to mention the idiotic and frequent high heels. "

Her hips are covered, so I don't get why that's on the list. The breasts, I suppose, but it is far from the worst. Really the two elements that could of been added to the original costume to make it less titillating without going against the constriction issue would be shoulder straps and a bit more over the breast area, but even then low collars do help for maximum maneuverability and straps are annoying. Going from hot pants to what's more or less just underwear for the bottom portion again made sense as more flexibility.

"It's iconic, yes, but it's iconic of an era that we as a species need to move on from. Regardless of how progressive the character herself and her stories may be, the icon of Wonder Woman remains a fundamental flaw at the most basic level in the depiction of women in comics."

So anything from that era should be progressed away from? Superman will be bummed... Nevermind the fedora and Lewis's own trilby.

As for the icon of Wonder Woman, she's a super strong woman who kicks ass and takes names, not to mention real names since she can see through lies. You want a flaw with the portrayal of women, go yell at Frank Miller.

"The new outfit may look ridiculous, but at least it's a change."

I cut-out the last line since its not directed at me. Anyhow, change for the sake of change is just idiotic. Now we have a new costume that serves no practical purpose except to possibly make Wonder Woman an 'animator' on the side. I mean, I'll be the first to admit something as basic as a black t-shirt can look cool on a person, but black + superheroes is BORING. Even more so with villains I would argue since you usually expect villains to wear black, but we're talking about Wonder Woman. Superheroes like Wonder Woman, not to mention Superman but not Batman as I'll explain, wear bright colors to be symbols. Symbols of hope, freedom, and truth amongst others, and bright colors invoke those images. Batman wears black for multiple reasons, including roaming around primarily at night and to strike fear into people's hearts as well as perhaps to symbolize the darkness of unrelenting justice. The fact is, costumes need to stand for something, not be some slap-dashed crap that invokes a person who just decided wearing a stupid-looking biker outfit wasn't enough, they needed some weird-looking bling. I'll close out by pointing out that Superboy (the Kon-El version) originally wore a leather jacket but it made sense as he was a rebellious teen of sorts, and what do rebellious teens like to wear, even though its no longer the 50s? Leather jackets.

RocMegamanX said...

I saw the Project: Rooftop costumes that you linked to, and some of them were awesome! Especially the grand prize winner.

Yeah, the look IS far too realistic for a character named Wonder Woman. Did they change anything about Donna Troy or Wonder Girl.

JiBé said...

I don't have that detailed an opinion about this change and new direction, but I agree with many of your points.

I don't mind the outfit, it looks nice and although it may not fit the character, it's supposed to be temporary.

Likewise, this "new status quo" that JMS is talking about is temporary : he clearly says that the main direction of his run will be the restoration of the original timeline.

This direction, these concepts and this mood may not fit WW's motif, but I think it makes sense that they don't. In this story, sth has screwed the timeline : the world is not as it should be. It seems logical to me that this new world should feel somehow wrong.

I don't like JMS's way of saying he's going to shake things up and that a true change is long overdue. Like you, I think it's unnecessary. But if these changes are temporary, simply bringing the character to strange, dissonnant places for the space of an arc or a run...I can dig it.

The urban mythology angle is right up my alley, actually, and had he just said "This is the story I want to tell, and I think it can be interesting", I'd be onboard 100%. The fact that he justifies his take by saying it is necessary, that's where it sounds wrong.

I have the same problem with the way is Superman is looking. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, same as you, Lewis, but come on : having Superman mope about having forgotten the little man ? Making him feel guilty because some guy died of cancer ? The bystanders in that story made my point for me : you can't expect Superman to save everyone and to take care of everything !

He takes out threats that mankind can't deal with, he's not supposed to take over people's lives and solve every problem. Seems weird that he didn't encounter those questions before in his long-carrier of superheroing. It also seems wrong that he would go on a road-trip after being away from his wife and home so long.

JiBé said...

I don't have that detailed an opinion about this change and new direction, but I agree with many of your points.

I don't mind the outfit, it looks nice and although it may not fit the character, it's supposed to be temporary.

Likewise, this "new status quo" that JMS is talking about is temporary : he clearly says that the main direction of his run will be the restoration of the original timeline.

This direction, these concepts and this mood may not fit WW's motif, but I think it makes sense that they don't. In this story, sth has screwed the timeline : the world is not as it should be. It seems logical to me that this new world should feel somehow wrong.

I don't like JMS's way of saying he's going to shake things up and that a true change is long overdue. Like you, I think it's unnecessary. But if these changes are temporary, simply bringing the character to strange, dissonnant places for the space of an arc or a run...I can dig it.

The urban mythology angle is right up my alley, actually, and had he just said "This is the story I want to tell, and I think it can be interesting", I'd be onboard 100%. The fact that he justifies his take by saying it is necessary, that's where it sounds wrong.

I have the same problem with the way is Superman is looking. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, same as you, Lewis, but come on : having Superman mope about having forgotten the little man ? Making him feel guilty because some guy died of cancer ? The bystanders in that story made my point for me : you can't expect Superman to save everyone and to take care of everything !

He takes out threats that mankind can't deal with, he's not supposed to take over people's lives and solve every problem. Seems weird that he didn't encounter those questions before in his long-carrier of superheroing. It also seems wrong that he would go on a road-trip after being away from his wife and home so long.

J King said...

When I first read the prologue to the new run on Wonder Woman, I thought it was going to just be an Elseworlds tale or something like that. The costume wouldn't have bothered me at all if that were the case. A realistic Wonder Woman would have been an interesting read for a short tale. But after finding out this was going to go in in the mainstream DCU, I was appalled. Of course, I won't knock it til I try it, but I agree that the reasons for its execution are very dumb. I'll still read it first and form my own opinion of it. I just hope that the WW we all know and love will return after this story arc is finished. At the very least, we can still probably see her briefly in future parts of Brightest Day.

Daniel said...

"You're mistaking the costume for the bondage. The costume itself, while indeed quite skimpy, is worn by a woman who obeyed ancient Greek dress codes. It also disallows for constriction, something Greeks tried to avoid in combat. Nudity was a very Greek thing after all, hence why we get ancient Greek warriors wearing almost nothing."

Actually, Peter, ancient Greek women's clothing tended to be very conservative. They might bare the arms entirely, but that's as far as women's dress would go. A peplos or chiton would definitely cover Wonder Woman's legs and stomach.

But wait, you might say. Wonder Woman is an Amazon! She would wear ancient Greek male clothing! Indeed, that's more likely, since the Amazons of Greek mythology are a simple thematic inversion of Greek patriarchy; though it's worth pointing out that Wonder Woman has nothing to do with the actual Amazons of Greek mythology.

(On a random side note, something I've always found interesting: in Greek myth, Ares is the patron deity of the Amazons. The Amazons made great sacrifices to him, and the god himself directly intervened on more than one occasion to save the life of Amazon champions. And yet in comics, Ares is a foe of Wonder Woman and Themyscira. Athena, the patron of the Amazons in DC Comics, is actually a staunch enemy of the Amazons, and regularly helped their opponents. It's bizarre how DC totally inverted the deific roles!)

Anyway, should Wonder Woman wear the military costume of male Greek soldiers? Well, admittedly Greek male clothing was often more skimpy. Even leaving aside athletic nudity, it was not unusual for an exomis to be cut so high as to expose the genitalia. However, for obvious reasons, such costumes were not worn in battle. The nonsense of 300 aside, Greek men did not enter battle in speedos and a cloak; and that's effectively what they'd have to have done to justify Wonder Woman's outfit.

In comparison to real military outfit, why does Wonder Woman's outfit leave the legs and the shoulders completely bare? Other than the torso, of course, those are the most important areas to armour. On a Greek battlefield, Wonder Woman is very much in this position: http://yfrog.com/afarmorzj

A realistic Amazon - which in the context of Greek mythology is probably not even an actual race of a warrior women, but a Thracian or Scythian woman soldier, from a mixed gender society and who fought alongside her male counterparts - would laugh her head off. And justifiably so!

Regardless, trying to justify anything Wonder Woman does in terms of ancient Greek culture is odd, because not only was that culture, Athens in particular, extremely misogynistic, Themyscira has nothing whatsoever in common with classical Hellas or its contemporaries.

Batzarro said...

So it's come to this. Wonder WOman wasn't realistic, female friendly, or relatable enought, so they changed her again, though most likely not forever.

Now, I can see what the arguments are for the changes, but I don't see them being adressed in this redesign or the synopsis for the new origin story.

First off, the suit is godaweful. See, Wonder Woman's regular costume, as much as it drains our snark coffers, isn't really too out of place in the larged DC Universe. Wonder Woman can stand aside Batman, Superman and Flash, and she doesn't look out of place. THe new suit's less grander. It's like putting Batman on parachutte pants, or putting a grill on Cyclose's teeth.

There is nothing battle worthy about a bomber jacket, or whatever it is in her feet. Look, I don't think a character's look should remain unchanged forever, but there's changes that make sense, and this isn't one of them. I think this CAN'T be the best Wonder WOman suit redesign they could come up with.

But I guess it makes sense for the new origin they came up with, huh? THat she now grew up in America, and she's like an urban...something or other.

I don't want to seem overtly angry. In fact, I know this will soon be known as "back when". But there is something disturbing about the trains of thought that lead to it. What WOndy has always actually lacked, was that narrative angle, where you just boil down the character to a defining, Iconic moment or words or something like that. You know, Batman and his venge-quest, Superman's origin, the X-men's analogousnes to prosecuted minorities. I don't think THIS is gonna help with that. I don't think "she was always an Amazon, but she grew amongst us" is gonna be the hook they should be looking for.This could be great, don't misunderstand. But it's not gonna do...any of the stuff they want it to do to WOnder WOman as a character. You can't solve this issues with pants.

Peter Dawson said...

It is true that Greek fashion need not play a huge part in Wonder Woman's outfit, but why the hell such a generic shlock? Again, Wonder Woman is meant to be a symbol, much like Superman is. I mean, the only reason I'm letting Clark on Smallville get away with it (not that I have any control, I'm just stating why you don't see me bringing that gaudy thing up) is because he hasn't embraced the symbol aspect character-wise. Granted one could say Wonder Woman wants to abandon the symbol look, but the rediculous accessories on the new costume don't seem to suggest that. I seriously get the impression the new design was meant to go one way but no decision could be made so they just did something half-assed instead.

The main approach I've used for costume design, specifically in games like City of Heroes and Champions Online, is asking myself the following questions: What does the hero do, what does the hero stand for, how much should the costume reflect what they stand for, what materials does the hero have available and how much should be utility-based versus style? Since Wonder Woman only has two major utility items (her tiara and her lasso, her bracers always on) she doesn't need pockets, she is meant to be a symbol of truth thus a bright costume is ideal, and given her style she'd probably want something that maximizes fighting ability without constrictions. Really if Wonder Woman wanted to tone down the whole symbol thing I'd be more execting her to lose the gold and colorful outfit, but I still don't buy the pants and jacket.

Jessica Cain said...

That's not a costume! It's everyday clothing! Granted, I like the "outfit," but it's not epic enough to be Wonder Woman's attire.

Rowdy C said...

Why do have the feeling Wonder Woman 601 will become the fastest comic to be reviewed on AT4W after its release?

I think you took a lot of words out of a lot of people's mouths. For me, the costume isn't as bad as the continuity reboot. JMS is now saying that the other Amazons died years ago, ONE ISSUE after the Amazons aided the U.S. in stopping the Space Amazons? How does that make ANY SENSE???????

Anonymous said...

People keep saying "the new outfit just isn't wonder woman!", and this really doesn't make sense.

What part of wonder woman requires that she wear a star spangled swimsuit? I want to know what wonder woman's thought process is every time she wears her old costume. Why would you ever CHOOSE to wear a costume like that?

I honestly have a hard time reading DC comics whenever wonder woman shows up because her costume is just so stupid. Power Girl's boob window, and Super Girl's constant pantie flash whenever she flies make more sense than the American swimsuit.

Kruxis said...

Am I the only one who finds the new outfit much sexier? The old one was fine, sure, but my first thought on the new one was, "She looks pretty hot." I dunno, something about that loosely hanging jacket or something.

I don't have a problem with the new costume itself from a design standpoint, however it's not the Wonder Woman I'm used to, which is a problem. If I saw this in a shop, I'd be all "Who's this chick? Wonder Woman? No way." It's like if Batman quit wearing a cape and lost the ears.

Anonymous said...

" Am I the only one who finds the new outfit much sexier? The old one was fine, sure, but my first thought on the new one was, "She looks pretty hot." I dunno, something about that loosely hanging jacket or something."

It's the less is more principal.
Sometimes someone just looks better with more clothes than without.

Amanda said...

I enjoyed reading your take on all this and I agree almost completely. I'm worried because the whole concept seems like a failed Earth One graphic novel pitch to me (more "modern", discovering powers, new villians, etc). And I think I would have read that graphic novel since it would be outside of continuity. Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark should worry for their own existances right now.

I showed the costume to my parents (who are not comic readers) and the first thing my dad said was "It's too modern..."

I wrote up a bunch about this on my own blog (take a look if you like). I hope that this all turns out well and surprises all of those with doubts, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here for those of us not on Twitter!

Anonymous said...

I think concentration on the costume misses the point a little, the origin reboot concerns me far more.

If I wanted to read about the last child of a strange culture finding out they have amazing powers I'd read superman. Wonder Woman is a very different book, and that's what I like about it. Wonder Woman is supposed to be an ambassador, a representative. Without a Paradise Island she's not really a representative of anything. It seems like it basically cuts the heart out of the concept.

That said, going back to the costume for a moment, if they wanted a costume that showed less skin, why not just give her some species of hoplite armour? It'd cover more, be practical, still look good and stay faithful to her origin story.

I'll probably pick up a few issues, but after sticking with Wonder Woman since Greg Rucka's run this makes me want to drop it.

Zexuz said...

I don't really like the new outfit, and I doubt it'll last very long on the pages or in our minds.

I was so sad when I heard Simone was leaving Wonder Woman, but incredibly happy to learn she was returning to Birds of Prey, which is probably her best work.

patchoblack said...

I have said this before to folks, and I will say it again now: JMS should not be let near super-hero comics.

When he was given Fantastic Four, he ignored a good chunk of a major (and, in my opinion, incredible) story arc, and reversed the rest of it within a few pages!

He, of course, helped to created the train-wreck that is known as One More/Brand New Day. He does say that his original script was changed, but he got that ball of stable-dropping rolling.

Now, he wants to "revamp" Wonder Woman...by altering her origin story to where it is almost unrecognizable! I know it is suppose to only be temporary, but it absolutely reeks of "Make It Mine" syndrome. That is were a person is handed an established character or on-going series, looks at it, and decides that changes must be made, stating that it is to "make things fresh", but really it is change for the sake of change, and so that they can point and say "This is now MINE!"

To be fair, I like Babylon 5, and his episodes for The Real Ghostbusters were very good. But when he is giving a super-hero comic to do...dear lord...

Will Staples said...

For what it's worth, Gloria Steinem had some interesting words to say about the new look and new direction. Regardless of what one might think of Ms. Steinem as a person, she raises some very good points (and it's worth remembering that the last time she came out against a "new direction" for Wonder Woman, DC listened.)

Ryan Keys said...

I have to say I can't really disagree with any point you raise with the new Wonder Woman story or design.

I love JMS, I still hold his run on Spider-Man in my top 10 but I don't think he has the right grip on Wonder Woman. I will say that the story sounds like it could be really interesting, and really well executed especially if it ends with Wonder Woman back to being... well, Wonder Woman, but it seems more like he's taking the idea, that their fresh approach for her will be through changing the timeline, and not through building a strong story and characterisation like he did on Spider-Man

RocMegamanX said...

I read the article that Will Staples liked to, and they said that the backstory was basically "Superman 2.0".

That's definitely worse than just the new costume.

Anonymous said...

Actually, this might be the first time I'm even considering reading Wonder Woman

Carol A. Strickland said...

Excellent analysis, and your link to nrama leaves me more concerned for Diana's fate than reading the rather generic ten pages in issue #600 did. If you don't mind, I'll include a link to this from my review/synopsis of the issue at http://www.carolastrickland.com/comics/wwcentral/post-C_index/synopses/synop600.html .

Anonymous said...

I do have one issue with this, and that's that you state that people should get costumes based on who they are. The thing is, I don't really see why Wonder Woman wears that thing.

Like you said, a girl wearing a miniskirt might just like miniskirts, but really, why WOULD WW wear her costume? It'd be useless as armor, she wears boots which would probably impede movement, the gold bits look painful to sit down in, and no matter the handwave, the star panties don't make much sense, and they're kind of silly. Unless you were familiar with her, you wouldn't think "Greek superpowered warrior", you'd think "Miss America in a bling-y one-piece swimsuit".

But yeah, for all its faults, the old one at least looked fantastical, like something you could never find anywhere else. This one just doesn't, and it says "Greek superpowered warrior" even less.

Why is there so little white?. White, gold, and red have a lot of potential, and white is a very Greek color, what with the Parthenon, togas, marble, etc. It's also a color of purity and guiding light. It's not like Wonder Woman in white is unprecedented, either, she wears white clothing as one secret identity, and a white jumpsuit as another. Whenever she wants to look spiffy, she wears a white dress and cape under her armor. When you look at the contest you linked to, many of the alternate Wonder Women had white or silver to a more significant degree than the canon one, with four wearing costumes where white was dominant.

So, of course, for the color to dominate the whole costume of this grand reboot that's gonna show everyone the best parts of Wondy, they chose black.

Why? Black is the color of anti-heroes, spies, and villains, the color you wear with muted greys to say "Nothing to see here", and with bright red to say "I WILL RIP YOUR FACE OFF." It's the least truthful color on the palette. When a character wears black, you think that he's got something to hide.

It's not a color that you use to represent truth.

And yeah, black and gold is one of the most badass color combos out there, but it's used to imply seniority over the above groups, the exact opposite of Wonder Woman.

Even when looking at the costumes, the judges expressed doubt about costumes that featured black dominantly.

So, yeah, this costume is a good costume, but it's only a good costume if you know absolutely nothing about Wonder Woman. Kinda the opposite of how the old one is only good if you know everything about Wonder Woman.

The thing is, there are dozens of ways to make the old suit say more about her, like more armor, metal skirt, more white, a sword that she uses outside of posing, actual combat boots, a cloak, etc, and the new one actually deviates from all that.











Oh, yeah, and the reboot is a terrible, terrible idea.

Orion_II said...

One thing I can agree with JMS is the evolution of her costume.

Speaking solely as a casual observer, the 4 costumes in the centre of the "Wonder Woman across the years" (starting just to the right of the oldest Wonder Woman) picture look identical, save for minor variations that can be chalked up to artistic variation at a glance.

However, there is something to be said about the timeless natures of some costumes. Batman's for instance, may have changed (at one point it was blue) but Superman's looks pretty much the same since Action Comics #1. Thanks to various media (Video Games, Movies, etc) he's pretty much married to that costume and his basic origin.

Is Wonder Woman the same way? I honestly don't know. The only place I've seen her in action was in the AWESOME Justice League cartoon. There, she was portrayed more as something out of greek myth rather than the "spirit of truth" that Linkara frequently states that she is. Based on that series alone, I'd say that a greek Hoplite (yes, that's the correct spelling) armour, minus the helm, plus a pair of bracers all painted to resemble her traditional costume would suit her best.

But that's just me. Part of this problem may just be that Wonder Woman is so poorly known. Unlike Batman or Superman, she's not had much time outside of her comics to show the public how awesome she can be, and as such there's no pressure to maintain that image or feel.

JosephRipken said...

Other than the jacket I like the new costume. I probably wouldn't like it as a permanent costume but from what I've read it seems it will all be back to normal by this time next year anyway, so as a variant costume it seems fine to me.

But hey, I don't claim to be an expert on this stuff.

Doresh said...

With blue pants, this outfit might actually look decent - for a Wonder Woman sidekick.

Why the hell did they change one of the most iconic femal superheroes? WHY?!

(Well, they'll retcon this anyway sooner or later, so don't worry)

Ein said...

She lives under a bridge now. Why would Wonder Woman live under a bridge? If she's being backed by a secret society of underground Amazons like some kind of super powered Underground Railroad, wouldn't they be able to hook her up with an apartment or something at least?