There’s a terrific new book by Jill LePore, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, which draws a direct line from the suffragettes who fought for the rights of women in the early 20th century to the creation of Wonder Woman as “the four-color embodiment of the women’s rights movement,” to quote Art Spiegelman in his review.
Yet DC Comics cannot run far enough away from Wonder Woman as a feminist.
While Marvel is positioning Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and the new Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan to be 21st century female icons, DC Comics is pushing Wonder Woman back to the 19th.
And this week’s issue of Wonder Woman #37, featuring the panel above, is the final proof of it.
When DC Comics rebooted several years ago, Wonder Woman, the most recognizable female superhero in the world, lost her origin as a being sculpted out of magical clay and imbued by the goddess with the love and longing of the Amazons for a child.
Instead, she became just another demi-god, the product of a liaison between Zeus and Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons. At the time, interviews with the creators said this opened up new plots for Wonder Woman because she now would have daddy issues and be more “relatable,” according to DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee. Oh, and she became Superman’s girlfriend to pump up his studly cred.
Now, there are many positive things that can be said about the stories written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Cliff Chiang for the first 35 issues of the rebooted Wonder Woman, starting with Chiang’s amazing art and Azzarello’s re-imagining of the pantheon of the gods.
But one element stains the entire body of work, one that was introduced early in the run. That was turning the Amazons of Paradise Island, once the paragons of peace and knowledge, into rapists and baby-slavers.
So not only did Wonder Woman lose her unique origin raised by a society of women dedicated to peace but those self-same Amazons were tarnished and trashed as well, as it was revealed that in order to procreate, the Amazons would attack random ships that passed by Paradise Island, seduce the men, kill them, and wait nine months to see if the product of the murderous liaisons were boys or girls. If girls, all good. if boys, they were sold into slavery to another god and it’s said if this option wasn’t available, the boys would’ve been murdered for the crime of being male.
Nice to have the Amazons turned into evil feminist castration-happy male haters. And by “nice,” I mean freakin’ awful.
All this was done, I suspect, to make Wonder Woman sell better in the direct market because, traditionally, female-led titles don’t sell well in the male-dominated direct market. Whether this was a choice of the creative team or editorial edict, I don’t know, but I have been told that DC’s original plans for Wonder Woman’s reboot were even more egregious.
Which leads us back to Wonder Woman #37.
The new creative team is a husband and wife, Meredith and David Finch, with Meredith scripting and David on art. Finch is well-known for his cheesecake and his brokeback poses and tends to draw Diana as a 16-year-old teen. That should have disqualified him from Wonder Woman. Meredith Finch is an unknown with few comic credits. Originally, I thought that perhaps she might have talent and hidden potential. An interview she did with GeekMom before her first issue dropped seemed to indicate she had some inkling of the character. But the Finches also gave troubling interviews in which they ran away from Wonder Woman as a feminist.
And then Wonder Woman #36 came out. Not only did it feature wince-inducing art from David Finch, and not only did it start with a gratuitous shower scene, and not only did it have Wonder Womam whining about how hard it was to multi-task, and not only did it feature two women arguing in what seemed a parody of feminist viewpoints, but it featured the death of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, Diana’s mother.
Does Wonder Woman #37 follow up on Diana’s grief for her mother? It doesn’t. It features her sword-fighting with her boyfriend Superman, fighting off some evil birds attracted to Paradise Island, and generally whining again about how hard her life is. And the Amazons aren’t sympathetic or helpful, they’re angry.
So angry that one of them, a female witch with a cauldron of evil, sacrifices a young mother to raise Wonder Woman’s sister, Donna Troy, as detailed above. Donna is apparently a mind-controlled zombie now, raised for the purpose of fighting her sister and defending the Amazon way of life against that multi-tasking and seemingly neglectful Wonder Woman. Donna Troy, once one of the happiest of the Teen Titans, Diana’s beloved sister, is there as an instrument of evil representing man-hating Amazons.
As I said on Twitter, the good news is Donna Troy is back. That’s also the bad news.
This is where the hashtag #icanteven would come in handy. Not only is Wonder Woman the product of a murderous, male-hating society now, her mother’s been killed off, and an evil female witch from that society commits human sacrifice to drive Diana away for daring to care about men.
It’s as if Rush Limbaugh came up with a Wonder Woman storyline.
So why does this matter, beyond a horrible story in a comic book? Go back to LePore’s book and note how Wonder Woman was specifically created to inspire women and was herself inspired by women who fought for their rights.
And for those who say, well, hey, that’s the market, DC needs to make money and this is the way, go look at Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick, aided by a costume redesign for Carol Danvers by Jamie McKelvie, made Carol relevant by embracing her feminism and her strength. DeConnick created a female squadron of pilots who inspired Carol to fly, literally and figuratively.
That series inspired a swath of women who spontaneously became the Carol Corps. You can’t buy that kind of fanbase.
If you’ve wondering why Marvel announced that Captain Marvel will be their first female-led movie, Kelly Sue DeConnick and her embrace of Carol’s feminism, her strength, and her friendship with other female characters is why. Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers is set to be a female icon far into the 21st Century and make Marvel truckloads of money. (And you should all be reading the fabulous current series while waiting for that movie.)
Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, created by Sara Amanat, G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, is a book that everyone agreed would die in the direct market. It starred a female, minority character, was written by a woman, and the character was taking on a female superhero legacy. Doomed.
Except the first collected edition of this wonderful series hit the New York Times graphic novel bestselling list this year. DC Comics is running away from Wonder Woman and her appeal to this ever-growing market.
Will the announced Wonder Woman movie for 2017 be any better? Hard to tell this far out, thought it’s a hopeful sign that Warner Brothers has hired an incredibly talented female director in Michelle MacLaren of Breaking Bad. But if they’re of the mindset that the way to make her movie successful is to appeal to men and break Wonder Woman away from her feminist roots, it’s going to be an utter failure.
But a Wonder Woman movie that appeals to women, who’s someone they can aspire to be, one that shows them how to embrace their best selves?
That Wonder Woman movie could be a cultural phenomenon.
It better be, because there’s no hope left for the comic to lead the way.
39 thoughts on “DC Comics Doesn’t Want a Feminist Wonder Woman”
I have read Jill Lepore’s book. It is truly insightful and meaningful to me as a comic book fan, and a woman. Clearly the redesigners of this generation’s Wonder woman don’t understand, or care for the positive nature and female inspiring legacy of Wonder Woman. They are out to make a buck, and unfortunately are stooping to the low moral standard. It’s sad that the words feminist and feminism have negative connotations in today’s world. Giving Wonder Woman social problems, and real world struggles doesn’t have to take away from who she is as a symbol, or a woman. Truthfully, this revamped version is a regression for Wonder Woman and women in general. In reality, for those who “get it”, feminist, and feminism are words of love, empowerment, and inspiration, things all women should have, and aspire to be. I won’t be reading their comic.
I don’t think many people will be reading it.
Unfortunately, I think the current interpretation of WW is as close to the prevalent sentiment of modern American Feminism as I have witnessed myself in the last decade. I agree that it is not true Feminism, and that’s the sad part. Wonder Woman and her Amazons seem to be treading down the path of man-hatred. So, shine a light on what’s happening in our society as a result of these trends and you’ll better see why the same thing is being reflected in comic books. This is nothing new in comics. Trends always manifest like looking into a mirror.
For evidence of what I’m typing about, Google: THE SEXODUS, PART 1: THE MEN GIVING UP ON WOMEN AND CHECKING OUT OF SOCIETY
William Moulton Marston the original creator was for Women’s rights…he was the creator of Wonder Woman…He was feminist… He believed woman should have rights to serve in World War 2, she should have the right to be part of any sport activity. He believed woman have the right to protect herself. He was against a women being raped. He was married two women which known back then most people back then believe he was Muslim..although he stated he believed in no religion. Women have the right to love her man without being a shamed and without being married.
Why does DC comic does not Wonder Woman to be feminist? So Wonder Woman going to become a house-wife? A slave to men? A property of men? A property of her mother Queen Hippolyta or great grandmother Hera?
Wonder Woman today is favor of women not having an education, not allowed to vote or have a voice in government, not looking pretty, not able to wear in what she wants and she already jobless since Diana Prince is gone.
Feminist does not mean a women hates men. she love men. she believe men should have rights too.
Yes! Perfect! Wonder woman fell in love with Steve and wanted to help him back in america!
I hope this does not mean Wonder Woman is helpless, and she cannot defend herself…she believe women should go back being a house-wife…she has to have proof she is virgin from medical doctor this is how it was in 1940 if she wanted to marry a man.
If Wonder Woman stops being feminist…so she against the women right to vote and have an opinion?
William Moulton Marston please curse DC comics writers…haunt whoever is charge of Wonder Woman be damn.
Does this mean Wonder Woman does not want defend women’s right anymore? she is not an Greek Amazon…so she learns to become helpless, weak…she believes she should be covered from head to toes…wear long dresses to her ankles. she must become married or she is an nobody
All Feminists all over the USA and all over the world explain to DC comics what is a feminists? Feminists do not hate men…Greek Amazons in historically did not hate men..they loved to fight swords with men and make them make love..Queen Hippolyta had two husbands, Roman Hercules and Greek Thesis.
I take a slightly different view of the new Wonder Woman. I think that the complexity of her character and her background is a sign that women can be much more than just sugar and spice and everything nice. They can have dark backgrounds just like we see in the vast universe of male characters. The new Amazons finally show women can be bad just like men. We are finally seeing some actual equality instead of just an idealized male idea of a woman.
The complex Amazons already *existed* and were integrated into DC’s Wonder Woman mythos. There’s Artemis, the leader of a group of Amazons originally cut off from their sisters, and their integration into Paradise Island was a long-running story thread in the comics. Artemis even took over for Diana as Wonder Woman for a time.
And Gail Simone’s more recent “The Circle” which is a beautiful story about love and motherhood featured villains basically driven somewhat insane through their desire to protect Queen Hippolyta.
What you suggest already exists and has been done incredibly well. What’s being done now reads like a parody of “male-hating feminists” who only exist in cardboard arguments
The Amazons are roughly based on the Scythians who did (according to myth) reproduce with captured male enemies and kill their male offspring. I think the DC writers are just trying to tie the Amazons more closely to their inspiration. I like this interpretation! Tough and ready to hold their own. Not doe eyed, sweet virgins playing in the surf.
Though I do agree that Finch’s drawing of Diana, with her pug nose, is annoying.
Yes, but my point, right in the first paragraph, is that when Wonder Woman was created, the Amazons were also recreated for the new feminist myth and based on real feminists of the time period.
That’s where WW’s Amazons come from. It’s a great book, btw. Very readable and fascinating.
Wow, I understand what you are feeling, but you clearly haven’t given it any thought. Of course I do understand. You accept it easily, because it’s completely out of context. In context just how repugnant that choice was is undeniable.
You blithely accept that one (of several) origin myths for the Amazons without wondering if one of the others where they were portrayed in a better light might have worked better for the Wonder Woman comic book is a great example of how easily we all will accept outrageous misogynistic claptrap, because it’s only describing a woman.
Unless of course, you can imagine enjoying the same origins being ascribed to an island of men. LOL
Would you also enjoy a comic book about an Island were populated exclusively by men with only a few changes to fit the gender change.
Male warriors who rejected all contact with women save for when it came time to bring forth a new generation to carry on their culture.
At that time they’d drug and rape a multitude of women hoping it resulted in the birth of a male child 9 months later.
If not then both the mother and female baby would be murdered since they were no longer useful.
I know the comic could be called the MANAZONS. LOL
Of course, you’d enjoy it. It would be a comic book, and making it a comic book would make it just as entertaining as the actual Amazon one you do enjoy 😉
Seriously, that Scythian/Amazon origin is a bit of ancient propaganda that took on a particularly wretched angle, because the ancient Greeks, the original misogynists, found the whole notion of a female warrior loathsome.
What most people have read has been prettied up quite a bit to fit our tastes, but the original myths about Amazons always describe them in the worst possible way, and suffering tremendous humiliations at the hands of the iconic Greek male warrior.
Of course, describing a woman who hacked off her breast, and Hyppolita being brutally raped and humiliated all to steal her gift from her father may not seem that big a deal to some considering the context.
But in the proper context it was a big deal. While the notion of a single breasted warrior woman makes sense to many people, to the Greeks it was a sign of their insanity. Cutting of one of their breasts turned them into monsters, wild animals in the eyes of the Ancient Greeks.
The depictions of Amazons in Greek myth was overwhelmingly negative and unforgiving, because they were women who dared to fight men and fight like men as if they were equals instead of the clearly inferior creatures Greek culture mostly believed them to be.
While there were exceptions within Ancient Greek culture, the most notable one Sparta was so reviled by Athens and other Greek City, because it accorded women duties that made them equal to men and thus a city run partly by women.
Amazons clashed with the prevailing belief back then that women were meant for making babies, keeping the home and to serve as prostitutes, but not to love.
The misogyny of ancient Greek was so extreme that many leading Greeks justified rampant pedophilia with the belief that males were capable of giving, receiving and deserving of a man’s love.
There is a reason Hercules brutally raped and abjectly humiliated Hyppolyta and that was to put her in the place the extremely misogynistic Greek culture felt women belonged.
The misogyny of Ancient Greece was so absolute that almost all tales about women are about her being raped or humiliated with only the female Gods being spared the nonstop degradation.
But there too as Greek culture matured, the portrayals of female Gods like Athena became more and more indistinguishable in form from portrayals of male Gods in an effort to erase all obvious signs of inferior female traits.
Bottom line is when it comes to the most recent retcon of Wonder Woman’s origins CONTEXT matters, and what I wrote is just a glimpse of the overwhelming, inconceivable misogyny that was a big part of Ancient Greek culture (no other cultures were NOT as bad).
That is why I and many others find the new Amazon origin story so repugnant.
to be honest, i think she looks like Gal Gadot in the face. Could be DC wants to have people see WW as Gal Gadot ?
Unlikely. All of David Finch’s women look like that and he drew WW like this before Gadot was cast.
My only question is why a female is moaning about an imaginary assault on feminism on Geekdad? Does no one on Geekmom care about this issue? Why don’t YOU try to be a role model for your daughter instead of relying on an fictional character to do it for you. Are you even a mom? Your bio seems to be missing that pertinent piece of data.
It’s been covered extensively on GeekMom. (In fact, one of the articles linked is to one on GeekMom.)
But it’s also preaching to the choir.
Well, that makes me glad I have never read GeekMom. If it’s just a bunch of whining wrapped in the theme of “Woe is me, misogyny is THE plague of the 21st century” and filled with personal attacks fueled by your political agenda, it may be better if its writers are corralled there and not allowed to spread their vitriol to other sites. I doubt many people would visit a “geek” website to hear your social agenda.
“Your Knight, M’Lady”? That’s your preferred handle?
You have t have honor to be a knight, darlin’. And the only vitriol I see spouted here is currently coming out of your fingers.
“why a female is moaning about an imaginary assault on feminism on Geekdad?”, “a bunch of whining”? I don’t see any vitriol in the original post. If anything, it’s a considerate and smartly written article. Your responses, however, good sir, strikes me as misogynistic, which, as a father, disturbs me tremendously. I am also uneasy with the current run of Wonder Woman, for the reasons Corina Lawson lists. I would rather have my daughter read Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Batgirl or any other comic featuring an empowered woman.
“I don’t see any vitriol in the original post. If anything, it’s a considerate and smartly written article. Your responses, however, good sir, strikes me as misogynistic”
No, you probably don’t see it as you too are also chasing that misogynistic phantom.
Your tone and attitude produce outright prolonged laughter when paired with your user name. Is this what you think chivalry looks like?
As a father of two women, I can only hope they never have the misfortune of ever knowing anyone like you.
Your Knight M’Lady ( You really need to change that handle with you attitude by the way), I just love your entire argument of “There’s no sexism or misogyny here so go back to your side of the internet you stupid woman”. I’m honestly surprised at how much one person can be so blind to what they are writing. Wow!
As soon as you used the word “moaning” I knew where you were going. Here are a couple of reasons why Geekdad is right to cover this issue:
1. Many women, myself included, read Geekdad as well as Geekmom.
2. Geek men raise daughters and many of them would like their daughters to have strong female role models in comics and other media. This incarnation of WW ain’t her.
Your handle makes me want to change mine to “Self Rescuing Princess”
And also, why does it matter if the author is a mom? Do you ask every guy who writes on Geekdad how many kids he has?
First of all that is a rumor and no one knows what her origin story is. Second don’t act like marvel is doing something better when it took them 10+ movies just to make a female lead film while DC gave us one right off the bat in their beginning stage of their shared universe. Lastly who cares if her story isn’t in the twenty first century? Her story begins in the WW 2 era and she doesn’t really age. So knock this ridiculous s*** off about DC not wanting a feminist Wonder Woman. Cause they’ve written her as a feminist for years and they’ll do the same in the movie.
Marvel has it’s own issues but with Kamala Khan, they’ve managed to reach beyond the current very limited market to an entirely new set of readers, and that’s something DC has yet to do.
It almost seems as if some people won’t be happy unless the amazons are Care Bears and Wonder Woman a stiff cardboard cutout of feminism. I agree about Finch’s Diana – although there was NOTHING gratuitous about Diana in the shower. All you saw was her back, so if THAT’S gratuitous you might as well take down every Reuben or Titian hanging in any museum. As far as his overall work, though, you are TOTALLY not giving him his due. He is a damn good artist that just needs to learn to cut out the cheesecake with his women. I so far haven’t seen anything not feminist about Wonder Woman. She doesn’t hate men, her culture doesn’t trust them. There’s complexity and drama in having the hero come from a messed up culture. The amazons aren’t perfect and shouldn’t be. That’s what makes Wonder Woman THAT much better. I’m sorry to be brutally honest, but Wonder Woman was a boring joke to the majority of the population and now she’s finally getting some exposure and critical acclaim. Let’s be happy WW is STILL a feminist and getting more people to notice her based on good stories. I’ll reserve judgment on the Finches until their run is done.
Finch’s art is indeed decent in the horror scenes. He should stick with a genre that plays to his strengths.
As for this run, the reviews have already been universally negative, including one at the Daily Beast.
I think perhaps you’re using a different definition of “gratuitous” than the one I’m used to.
Finch is not a good figure artist. Good artists learn how to draw unique faces. Every single female Finch has ever drawn who is not a crone looks -exactly- the same. Remove the hair and *gasp * it’s exactly the same model, over and over. His men are no better- gaunt, fish-lipped, with cheekbones that can cut glass.
When it comes to environments, he does gorgeous things- but the human figure forever mystifies him. The ‘vegetative injustice’ panel was a riot, with Finch’s Diana sporting the face of one of the Olsen twins, her right leg doing the ‘subway thigh’ (http://atopfourthwall.tumblr.com/post/79872269032) , which is the mistake an amateur would make, not an artist who actually understands how the body works. Add to that the sub-par writing of Finch’s other half and that page represents exactly what Finch has earned as his due: derision.
There are more women than men in the United States.
And women can ALL BUY BOOKS.
If men don’t want to buy a feminist Wonder Woman? Screw ’em. The women will MORE than make up for that lost market.
What’samatta… scared of girl cooties?
“DC” must stand for “douchecanoe.”
Feminism is belief that Men and Women are equal. The creator of Wonder Woman believed Women were superior.
I’m glad to see others talking about this new Wonder Woman. I thought I was the only one who cared. Why does a man have to seed Wonder Woman? Why does Queen Hippolyta have to be weak to the “temptations” of men? As if she has time for that or would even care. Why do the Amazons have to be portrayed as child abandoning male haters? Wonder Woman is the one comic character we girls had to look up to. Wonder Woman made us little girls feel proud to be female. She showed us that woman are strong, independent thinkers, leaders, and heros. She showed us the women with well defined muscles were beautiful and that not all princesses were damsels in distress. Speaking of.. even in the recent New52, Catwoman, Batman rescues Catwoman several times in the first few issues; REALLY!?. Are we digressing in 2015? As of recent I heard Michelle MacLaren is no longer involved with Super v Bat due to “creative differences”. That is worrisome. I may be reading Captain Marvel comics now to get my dose of woman power. On the other hand DC is being very progressive with creating LGBT characters, sooooo….. what’s going on? Are some of the writers just too old to be writing for this generation?
Personally I think the Finches were hired to make all of us who despised the previous storyline remember it with fondness. LOL
Brian Azzarello reimagining the Amazons as murder rapist baby slayers was an unconscionable mistake, but it has only taken the Finches 3 issues to totally trash Wonder Woman and return the Amazons back to the sociopathic murdering roots Brian created for them.
Her sharp edge and willingness to kill are poorly done efforts to make her “tougher then the males” for no good reason.
The last wonder woman prior to Azzarello was just as capable of doing what had to be done, but she didn’t devolve into stereotypical caricature of a woman overcome by her hormones who had to rely on Superman and Batman to stop her from losing control and kill her opponent.
The writer seems to be drawing inspiration from characters like Lobo and Wolverine to create a distinctly different and much more dangerous,psychotic personality and chucking every last bit of Wonder Woman’s history and that is really irritating.
It may be a woman writing Wonder Woman now, but she seems a bit too fond of misogynist tropes like the idea that men are calm cool, rational and logical and women are raging emotional creatures who can’t handle stress or multi-task.
Just as bad but not as obvious is the fact that neither have studied any history at all.
The whole notion that there is would be council that sits elevated above a ruling queen anywhere is completely made up.
In periods of time when Royalty had real power, they were at the very least the first among equals.
If they had opposition and faced them their positions would be reversed. Wonder Woman would be sitting on the throne or head of the council listening to the dissent.
They portray her as only having power thanks to some council led by an old woman who is steeped in evil witchcraft, yet she is the god of War uh yeah ok.
She is portrayed as utterly oblivious to the nature of Ares realm as other Amazons have to explain to her what the attacking creatures were. That is incredibly stupid writing.
In 3 short issues they have turned Wonder Woman into a non-stop train wreck with the zombie Donna Troy leading the Amazons in an ambush and murder their own sons.
Talk about completely out of touch with humanity. Few people are so ruthless and calculating other than sociopathic murderers.
That they don’t see that shows they are the absolute wrong team to write Wonder Woman.
I’ve visited three comic shops lately. All the feedback they have on the Finches’ WW is bad.
I have no idea why Amazons are evil male haters and child slavers. It goes against the entire point of the character plus it make no in-story sense. How did Wonder Woman grow up to be the paragon of truth and justice if the people around her are murdering child slavers? There’s no tradition to uphold.
I’m not encouraged that the first image of WW from the movie is WW with a sword. She’s not Xena or Sif. She’s something unique and if done correctly, her movie could hit the current zeitgeist perfectly.
Michele MacLaren leaving does not fill me with optimism, even if she was replaced immediately by another female director.
Diana never ending loyalty to the gods of olympus made her look stupid. These gods have killed more people than you or I could ever imagine, and she’s praising them! It makes her look like an idiot, and a fool as well.
I really did not give a crap that they changed her origin to being a son of Zeus. It’s like… okay? Whatever? It’s still greek mythology. Would you have preferred the “Kryptonian offshoot” crap from a while back?
Also, oh no! This society of ancient warrior women have done awful things? They’re not perfect, omnipotent paragons of virtue?! MISOGYNY! Get over yourselves. If anything, I kind of applaud them for having the balls to tackle the idea that a group of female warriors had to do pretty awful and unspeakable things to keep their society going. They don’t make their women out of clay anymore, people. How the hell did you THINK they kept popping out kids??
They also get mad that Donna Troy is born naked? Are you ****ing kidding me? How were YOU born, ladies? I thought so. There isn’t even anything sexualized about the image; she’s just rising from a damn pit. Honestly. And they get sooooo mad that she’s just a zombie! Sheesh, you think she’s gonna stay that way forever? Maybe you want to give the writer a chance to maybe tell a story where she comes around? Oh wait, that would imply your female hero has to show weakness for a split second, and feminists CAN’T have that.
With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or
copyright infringement? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored myself
or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement.
Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped off?
I’d certainly appreciate it.
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