Last weekend included the debut of the Wonder Woman feature film and, for once, I actually got to go see it, a comics-based movie on its opening days!
I found myself again and again saying, “Wow!” as Diana took on gods, armies, and the Amazons. She inspired those around her and made things others thought impossible happen before their very eyes.
I really enjoyed it! I wasn’t the only one, apparently, since it’s been the #1 film for two weekends in a row.
I couldn’t help but think that this motion picture shows the comics industry how to handle the character!
LARGER THAN LIFE
Wonder Woman has always been one of those heroes bigger than many of us can imagine. She’s not only strong, but she’s also a role model for her gender as well as the rest of us!
It’s always a conflict with the character, though – Should the focus be more on the “wonder” or the “woman?”
I think the film did a great job of balancing both, with Diana being someone who can make things happen on many levels.
This hasn’t always been true, such as the time in the comics decades back when Wonder Woman was turned into a version of Emma Peel from The Avengers, with I Ching as her mentor and guide. Thankfully, that didn’t last long. Hey, if you want to make a character like this, make this a new heroine, for pity’s sake!
A HEROINE FOR ALL TIMES
I realize that comics these days has a lot of female heroes, and I’m grateful for that. But as much as I like Storm, Captain Marvel, Photon, Batgirl, Supergirl or the rest, there’s something classic about Wonder Woman that makes her shine above the rest, in my opinion.
It’s that she represents the best of female characters in that she can be both uplifting and action-oriented. She’s not just a “man with tits,” as the expression goes. There are times when she’s maternal, but she’s also someone who can pick up a sword and fight when that’s needed. I really think that’s terrific!
While her costume has undergone some changes over time, from a flowing skirt to more battle-ready armor, I think she’s a character that comics struggle to portray at times. That’s been worse than her “wardrobe malfunctions.”
It doesn’t make her any less a woman if she must pick up a sword and fight. It doesn’t make her any less a woman if she wants to talk her opponents down from battle, either.
Still, in the early days of the Justice League of America comic, she was their secretary. She also paired up with Batman more than the greater-powered heroes, subtly indicating that she wasn’t up to Superman-level, for instance.
I never understood that. She was as strong as the Man of Steel, but to be more ladylike, she took the back seat when it came to taking on villains. How dainty of her!
I know a lot of women who feel Diana is important to how females should behave. I’d like to go one better – Males should look at how she does things, too!
Wonder Woman had sequences based on the recent animated film from DC/Warner Bros. That direct-to-disc movie showed her as more of a warrior, and I was down with that, as they say.
One important similarity between the motion picture and the comics was its use of the Greek gods, including Zeus and Ares, for instance. George Pérez used them a lot when he was creating the book (a lot of the film reminded me of those comics), and we saw more of that recently when Brian Azzarello made it one of the best-selling comics of the New 52.
I like the use of these characters because they make her different from the other DC heroes – in fact, nearly all the other comics heroines.
Superman has Krypton, Batman has Gotham City, and Diana has the gods. It’s the base from which she functions, and it makes her stories work in ways unlike the others. It makes her stand out from the rest. Since Ares holds the patent on war among the Greek gods, the rest are more peaceable, and that is an important part of how Diana does things.
MAKE THE COMICS MORE LIKE THE FILM
It’s frustrating on many levels that Diana has several “origin stories,” and it can be as confusing as Hawkman’s beginnings. The current books have been working to straighten all that out, but if I could make a suggestion, look at how the movie does it. If her comic was more like the film, I think it would sell more copies when released. Really.
I often point out that DC heroes appeal to me because they are goals we can aspire to be like. Well, I like the “wow” factor as high as the motion picture does things. Surprise us! Engage us! Make us care about the characters while also giving us great stories! I know that’s a lot to ask, but it can be done!
What do you think? Do you like the Wonder Woman comics or the film better? Would you rather Diana be more maternal or more warrior-like? Whatever your opinion, please share your thoughts in the space below!