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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Wonder Woman and Supergirl

Shelly's Comic Book Shelf has an interesting analysis of the female characters of the DCU, particularly Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

She overlooks Wonder Woman's important career at Taco Whiz, but maybe that's for the best. Chuckle. I love Bill Messner-Loebs and his runs on Flash and Jonny Quest are among my favorite comic book storylines of all time, but some of his Wonder Woman run just wasn't very good.

Shelly has a good take on the evolution of the characters. I think that one of the main issues is that the Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne backgrounds were built on much more solid and enduring foundations. Their careers still make sense for the characters today--they're part of the characters' iconography. But the others just don't have that foundation. Linda Danvers never had much of a background outside of the orphanage (I liked the period in which she was a soap opera star--that might be kind of a fun idea to resurrect), and Wonder Woman's secret ID has changed a lot over the years; since the Crisis, in which she essentially was rebooted with no secret ID at all, it's been a much less vital part of her background. The old background as Steve Trevor's assistant in the War Department is too dated and too associated with discarded continuity.

I'm not sure I see a great solution here without substantially changing the characters and without some institutional involvement. The problem has been that the out-of-costume careers of Wonder Woman and Supergirl just lack the foundation that Batman's and Superman's have --they are changed from writer to writer and don't gain enough traction to stick around when the creative team changes. I wouldn't put it past Gail Simone (current, awesome writer of Wonder Woman) to set up a status quo for Diana Prince that sticks around a while, but it all depends on editorial support and sticking power.

I'm rambling on a bit.


ShellyS said...

Good points. :)

And I think that Taco Whiz WW storyline was during my boycott of DC (my little protest over the death of Supergirl). At any rate, I missed it and am now counting my blessings.

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

If there's one thing that's been consistent about Diana over the past few decades, its her inability to keep a steady job. I often wonder if a writer couldn't make a good story out of Diana's history of inconsistency. As in, her inability to stick to one profession is itself an important character trait. But I suppose that wouldn't go over well with most fans.

Stephen said...

ww worked at taco whiz and i believe barbie had a stint working at mcdonald's. coincedence?


ShellyS said...

LOL. That can't be a coincidence. ;)