#WonderWomanorBust: Issue #2

Remember the Twilight comparison for the Superman/Wonder Woman romance at the DC Panel at Fan Expo? Apparently, even The Hollywood Reporter picked up on it after social media erupted. That is where I spotted this post from Ami Angelwings at Escher Girls:

The whole thing comes off like they just have this stereotype of what female fans are like and want, and they won’t be knocked off it, even by actual women.

More than that, it’s the idea that women are all this one giant whole, we all want the same things, we all want romance and love triangles and etc, and not that women interested in the genre of superhero comics might want something different than those interested in another genre of fiction.  Also, that the female superhero comic fanbase apparently can’t be interacted with, and hasn’t been writing and creating sites for years and years about what we want, and instead companies have to speculate by looking very superficially at a film/book series aimed at a different audience.

This reminds me about how the creators of the new Star Trek reboot said that they had the birth of Kirk scene to appeal to women because otherwise women would never watch a sci-fi show.

In last week’s #WonderWomanorBust post, I missed this article from Atlantic Wire, “Wonder Woman Can’t Have It All,” that discusses the reasons, flawed or otherwise, for the lack of a Wonder Woman movie.

That’s promising. But the other big concern with Wonder Woman is explaining her wacky creation myth. Some people don’t even know what her origins may be. As Nelson told The Hollywood Reporter, “She doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes.”

“And the bondage/feminism problem is only the beginning of the character’s idiosyncrasies,” wrote Wired’s Noah Berlatsky. “Wonder Woman is explicitly supposed to be bringing peace — but she comes from an Amazon warrior culture and spends most of her time fighting,”

I don’t really buy these arguments. Superman is just as idiosyncratic (underwear on the outside) and inconsistent (for someone who is genuinely good, he gets into a lot of fights, too) as Wonder Woman. And as for being afraid of screwing up a comic book legend? There was no such concern with that horrific run of Batman movies that included Alicia Silverstone and bat nipples. Well, but what about people buying tickets? Recall that Wonder Woman is continually voted as one of the most iconic characters of all time. Buy tickets they will.

Last week, Brian Azzarello talked with MTV about the big changes for Wonder Woman following Wonder Woman #23.

Geek: Wonder Woman #23 featured the death of War and Wonder Woman herself taking on the mantle of ‘God Of War’.  I imagine this is something that could have far-ranging affects in the DCU?

Azzarello: She’s the God Of War now… But what does that mean?  There’s a lot of room to work there.  I wanted to give her real power, build her into something even stronger, and as for how that affects other books, that’s not something I’m too worried about.  This is the story we set out to tell.  It could have greater repercussions, and there’s certainly room to expand on the idea.  We’ll see who else takes it and runs with it!

While I haven’t read this issue yet, I have previously expressed concerns with Azzarello’s approach to Wonder Woman. It’s interesting that he feels the character needed “real power” and to be “stronger” and that in order to achieve this she needed to become a “god.” Nothing in the way Azzarello talks about the character changes my opinion that he’s trying to change her into something she is not.

Over at Women In Hollywood, Melissa Silverstein wrote a piece, “Summer’s Final Thoughts: Wonder Woman, Strong Women, Indie Women and All the Women in Between.” The entire article is worth a read, but in the meat of it she discusses strong female characters and why past movies with female superheroes haven’t succeeded.

There are so many reasons why Wonder Woman has not yet come to the screen and they are emblematic of the problems we have with getting strong female characters onscreen at all.

I’m going to digress a moment and get into the conversation about strong female characters because there have been several pieces written about this issue most notably Sophia McDougall’s very good piece in the New Statesman: I Hate Strong Women Characters.  What I got out of her piece is that strong has now become the default and also an apology for a lack of nuance and depth for females characters.  It’s like we should be happy with the crumbs we are thrown when a princess gets to kick some ass, but then the story makes sure that she still needs to be rescued at the end of the story.  Sophia is right.  We shouldn’t only be happy with strong female characters.  We should demand more, but we have been so bereft for so long that strong is better than weak and we take the crumbs because that is all we get.

Many people grew up watching the TV show about Wonder Woman and are surprised and incensed that while we have had multiple incarnations of the male superheroes we grew up with we still can’t get Wonder Woman onscreen. Quite frankly part of the problem is expectations. Without many other female superheroes, we have all our beans in the Wonder Woman can. Hollywood is very wary of the female superhero film even with Wonder Woman because the other movies with females in these types of leads have sucked.  Let’s be honest, they have sucked and they have sucked because they were throw aways.  The studios never invested in them in the way they have done the male superheroes.

Through all this reading I discovered a Film School Rejects piece that covers the challenges facing the movie, which to be honest aren’t anything different than what any superhero movie faces. We’re still on the silly costumes and mythological origins problems, apparently.  Has anyone seen that movie about Thor?

Amid the repeated concerns of Wonder Woman’s origins being too mythological, we heard the following from Man of Steel director Zack Snyder:

“I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in ‘Action Comics’ in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”

Interview in Japan Times

So myth is good for Superman, but not for Wonder Woman?

Related posts:

#WonderWomanorBust is a campaign to see a Wonder Woman movie made eventually.

Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and strong female characters. She also writes about Star Wars for Random House’s science fiction and fantasy blog Suvudu.com and Star Wars Insider magazine and is a contributor for Her Universe’s Year of the Fangirl.

Tricia is putting the finishing touches on her first novel, Wynde – a military science fiction with a fantastical twist that features heroines Vespa Wynde and Gemini Reed. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.

For updates on all things FANgirl follow @FANgirlcantina on Twitter or like FANgirl Zone on Facebook. At times she tries the Tumblr.



Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.