Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why Aren't You Reading Wonder Woman?


Wonder Woman
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
At this blog, I tend to talk about Wonder Woman quite a bit. As you know, she has been my favorite female comic book character since I was eight years old, and I continue to be a big fan. I have every issue of her series since the first incarnation, beginning in 1965. Prior to that, I have either the hardcover collections or have various runs on the book.

Where I am going with this is to say that I haven't missed an issue since 1974 and I have collected older issues in filling in my collection. Through the good and bad, I have been a "dream reader" for DC in that I haven't dropped the book.

My question today isn't about why you read Wonder Woman. I want to know why you DO NOT read the book. I want to know if you ever have or ever will and why. Please humor me and answer some or all of these questions.

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book? If not, why?

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

4. Have you read the current series? What is your take on it?

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

I am really curious, so if you would help me out I would really appreciate it. I will give a couple of days and be back this weekend to talk more about this. Your input is critical!

13 comments:

Drew said...

I'm interested in reading the 70's Wonder Woman because I've read so much about the run and it seems to be something worth reading; but beyond that I have no real interest in the character.

While Grant Morrison did an amazing job at making the JLA seem like a pantheon of gods, Wonder Woman is a goddess that just isn't interesting. Where the Greek gods are incredibly interesting because of the huge soap potential and their off the wall stories, Diana just doesn't have an interesting enough backstory and cast of characters to allow me to be interested in the character.

While my response sounds like a distaste for the character, I actually really enjoy Wonder Woman. I just think that there needs to be a closer connection to her successors, heritage, and a solid ground to walk upon (that doesn't make her seem like a lone soldier in an army).

Gail Simione is amazing, but I didn't like her first arc. I can't wait to read more from her and I hope that she kicks up the action. Anyways, thanks for the question!

Swinebread said...

1. I‘ve read a random issue here and there years ago, but I’ve never bought her comic.

2. George Perez’s reboot in the 80s was the only time I was tempted to buy her title.

3. I was never following WW to drop it or start it again.

4. I haven’t read it.

5. Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore (like that would happen)?

6. Wonder Woman gets into a serious relationship with She-Hulk.

mengblom said...

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book? If not, why?

I've read Wonder Woman off an on (3 to 4 issues at a time) for the past twenty years or so, with a couple of extended runs (more on that with #2).

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

My favorite era was during the late 80's reboot by Len Wein and George Perez. In addition to the artwork being the best it's ever been on a Wonder Woman title, I loved how they essentially started from scratch and rebuilt the Wonder Woman character with much more of an eye toward her Greek Mythology connection and the willingness to toss out many of the creakier elements from Marston's original vision (i.e. the invisible plane).

I was also pleased that Diana was "freed" from her eternal connection to Steve Trevor, something I thought took some creative guts to do. However, one of my favorite stories did have Steve Trevor connection: Remember the one where his mother crashed on Themescyra, died fighting against a monster, and then became the inspiration for the Wonder Woman costume? Just incredible.

I continued buying it long into George Perez's writing stint (loved Jill Thompson's art), but dropped it after a really lousy artist followed her ("Chris" something?).

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

Like I said, I've picked up and dropped it a number of times over the past several decades. I usually drop it when a storyline doesn't interest me or if an especially bad artist comes on board. I usually pick it up again when either a new team starts, a crossover with a book I already buy, or if there's some big event that warrants my attention.

4. Have you read the current series? What is your take on it?

Yes, I liked it a great deal, but unfortunately, I missed the third issue into Gail's run (and my store never got any additional copied) so that kinda killed my connection with the story. I looked at the new issue yesterday, but the new (or stand-in) artist didn't do much for me....so I don't know if I'll keep reading.

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

Someone who writes her more as a flat-out adventure character with plenty of mythological elements. I have no interest in writers who continually harp on Wonder Woman as an "ambassador of peace" or get too immersed in her political personna (this is what turned me off from much of Rucka's run). Bringing Wonder Woman too far down to Earth really bogs the character down.

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

A cover price of $1.00. Seriously, I'm not sure. I'm definitely not looking for more "Trinity" stuff (that guitar string has been plucked one too many times already...we get it...Wonder Woman is a cornerstone of the DC Universe....next!). I guess for lack of anything more concrete or coherent, I would say "more mythology". I've always felt Wonder Woman should essentially be DC's version of Thor, where the world Diana exists in is a much more fantastic, mythic environment and less about the more mundane stuff like Diana trying to comprehend text messaging or who Donna Troy is this week.

James Meeley said...

I continued buying it long into George Perez's writing stint (loved Jill Thompson's art), but dropped it after a really lousy artist followed her ("Chris" something?).

Mark:

That would be artist Chris Marrinan. I've often felt his style is one of those that is totally dependant on the inker who inks him. His style just won't mesh with any inker.

Stephen said...

The only Wonder Woman comics I ever picked up were infinite crisis tie-ins and they didn't hook me(although the infinite crisis teen titans crossover did).

I'm planning on picking up Gail Simones run once it hits paperback since everyone is speaking of itso highly.

Other than that I feel like I get enough of a Wonder Woman fix in JLA.

Carl said...

Hmmmm, let's see, not getting it (for myself, my eldest daughter collects it though) currently 'cause the endless reboot/issues-never-on-time problem really irked me. I read the series off and on during the '60s/'70s and then really got into it for a time under Wolfman/Perez. And for a bit under Bryne and then fell out after they just seemed to change the book with every new team. And at first I liked Rucka's time on the book but then it just seemed to be too day-to-day drama and a step away from the goddess mythology. And Rucka just gave us too much Greek as it were, too hardcore on the history for a comic book to me. And I was kind of pissed that one character was not what they seemed to be and left a bad taste in my mouth. And on the current series, well, I've cut back on all my comics, maybe getting like 6 titles. Unless Gail Simone can really ring the WW bell, I am not buying more then one copy for my daughter (I never get to read them, she puts them up in her comic box asap)...

Johnny B said...

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book? If not, why?

While I've never been a regular reader, I've picked up an issue here or there over the last four decades.

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

I can really only reference two; first the deliberate "Back to the Golden Age" direction that Bob Kanigher and Ross Andru/Mike Esposito took her in in the mid-60's- I bought maybe a half dozen of them as a kid, attracted by the art, no doubt, and the O'Neil/Sekowsky "Diama Prince" era, which I've only read bia reprint. Of the two, both were fun but the Sekowsky run at least tried something different, which interests me more.

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

Like I said, the only time I ever bought WW on anything like a regular basis was as a 6-7 year old, and if I dropped it it was probably just because I only had so much money to buy comics with, and other stuff caught my eye.

4. Have you read the current series? What is your take on it?

No, I haven't, but from an outsider's POV it certainly seems like DC is trying very hard to give their readers a realistic-feeling WW, but also satisfy the fan base...and that's a very difficult balancing act.

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

Even though I'm not a fan of her writing, my first guess would be Gail Simone- and apparently she's alienating as many Wondy fans as she is pleasing. I don't really know. I'd like to see Alan Moore get a crack, but I've already read Promethea, and I think Mike Carey would be interesting. Paul Pope, although I can't see him doing it for more than 2-3 issues.

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

God, I don't know. If they assigned a favorite artist of mine, perhaps- a Sprouse, Doug Mahnke (the Kelly/Mahnke/Nguyen Wondy from JLA is a version I liked a LOT), J.H. Williams III. The character just doesn't do all that much for me these days, and as I've said on many occasions she often just comes across as incongrous and even silly sometimes. Obviously, I'm in the minority.

I don't begrudge those who love the character their fix, but I just can't make myself get interested.

Michael Bailey said...

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book? If not, why?

Yes. I actually collected the book off and on from about 1996 until last year. I also have a near complete run (missing one lousy issue) of the 1987 launched series.

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

I really enjoyed George Perez's run. I thought he blended the super hero aspects of the character with the mythological aspects to near perfection. I was also a big fan of Greg Rucka's run because I loved his take on the character.

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

I dropped the book because I wasn't enjoying Phil J's run all that much. I picked it back up because of Rucka.

4. Have you read the current series? What is your take on it?

I read the first ten issues or so. I thought that what Allen Heinberg tried to do was the wrong direction to take. The lateness bugged me as well. Plus, the whole Amazons Attack thing was pretty awful, so that didn't help.

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

Perez. Rucka. Simone.

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

A large influx of cash. Things are tight at the moment and I am trying and mostly succeeding at not picking up any more books.

The Watch Dog said...

I am a big-time Wonder Woman fan. I love Greek mythology, always have, and the concept of the immortal Amazons on their beautiful island sets her apart, and seems to me like a wonderful "story engine."

George Perez's post-CoIE reboot was certainly my favorite run of the series. Amazing concepts, wonderful stories. My only complaint was that he did a very bad job of integrating Donna into the new mythos. The idea of a Wonder Girl who came before Wonder Woman, was about her age, and in fact had very little to do with her (the similarities in their names, costumes, equipment, etc., largely being treated as a coincidence) did not appeal to me. 22 years later we STILL don't know who Donna Troy is....

John Byrne's run on the character was probably my least favorite. He was just making up story elements, without any justifaction or explanation. My "favorite" is when Hippolyta, fighting alongside the JSA in WW II, convinces the JSA to LET HITLER GO because "you shouldn't change history." (What American solider is going to buy that story?) Three panels later, she announces she's going to stay in the past and fight WW II with them - even though she knows perfectly well that this will change history.

Second favorite, however, is Ares' sudden, inexplicable announcement that Hippolyta is his daughter, which everyone (Zeus, Hippolyta, etc.) just accepts as though it made any sense.

I could go on and on....

I dislike the tendency of writers to destroy thousands of Amazons at a go, destroy Themyscira, and have the gods getting beaten by some enemy (Granny Goodness?!!?) every third issue. Some things are meant to be the infrastructure for stories, and should only be changed/destroyed rarely. Otherwise it's just the equivalent of killing a character just to bring him/her back, over and over again - it trivializes the drama.

There are many things I love about Gail Simone's writing, particularly her characterization and dialogue. She's tremendously creative, and she's treating the Amazons like people with a culture and history, rather than like myrmidons.

However, I had trouble with her first arc. I simply tripped over the idea that four Amazons could be imprisoned in barred pits around the island for decades without:

- Diana knowing about it.
- The Amazons not trying to reform them, letting them out for a day, showing them what the island is like SINCE Diana came along, etc. (The Amazons are people who try to reform Nazi baronesses and costumed villains, through love and compassion.)
- Getting killed when the island was destroyed.
- etc.

This particularly bothered me because I thought the same story (more or less) could have been told without these problems, if the Queen's Guard had simply escaped to another realm/dimension, where they were trapped until recently. (This can be fleshed out without difficulty.)

Being thus disappointed, I was primed to be really annoyed the see Diana "courting" the immature, sexist pig Nemesis. (However, I liked the details of the courting, which were were another example of Gail's inventiveness and interest in Amazon culture.)

But I've read that Gail understands this concern, and in fact has built the story to deal with it. Given that she's such a good writer in general, I'm willing to go with it for now.

Yedna said...

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book? If not, why?

Yes, but only since this past summer.

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

Loved the Simone/Dodson team up on 'The Circle'.

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

Not yet. I'm hanging in there through this, latest two issue arc.

4. Have you read the current series? What is your take on it?

Just read 18 last night. Overall, I like Chiang's artwork, but his doe-eyed, slope-shouldered WW is not my idea of what a strong, Amazonian princess should look like.

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

I'd love to see this book in the hands of someone younger. Maybe Jamie McKelvie (Phonogram, Suburban Glamour).

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

I can get around poor art. I imagine I may nix it from my pull list if the story gets weak.

Lis Riba said...

I was a huge fan of George Perez's run (own every issue, and have a page of original art framed on the wall), but after he left -- was it Loeb who took over then? -- I left because Diana didn't feel right.

I keep an ear out for the plot developments, particularly as new creative teams were assigned, but nothing's really inspired me to pick it up again.
I was particularly upset by Byrne's retcons, which seemed to add needless complexity while undoing other elements that worked.

J. Kevin Carrier said...

1. Have you ever read a Wonder Woman solo comic book?

Yes

2. What "period" or creative team did you most enjoy and why?

I love the original Marston stories. The guy may have been a nut, but he sure had a knack for spinning creative mythology and neat characters. And kinks aside, his message of female empowerment was pretty radical and forward-thinking.

There was also a good run in the early '70s, just before the book switched over to World War II adventures (to match the tv show). I think Marty Pasko was the main writer... he did a good job keeping the traditional elements intact, while giving the stories a more modern feel.

I also kind of dig the Robert Kanigher / Ross Andru era, but more in a "so bad, they're good" sort of way.

3. Was there a specific reason you dropped the book and what made you pick it back up?

I dropped the book in the '70s, because I thought Gerry Conway and Jose Delbo were doing really bland, boring stuff. I gave George Perez's reboot a shot, but I couldn't connect with his version of Wonder Woman -- on the one hand, she seemed really dopey and naive, but then she'd turn around and cut some guy's head off to prove how "badass" she was. Bleh.

4. Have you read the current series?

No.

5. Who is best suited to write Wonder Woman?

Darwyn Cooke did a pretty nice job with her in "New Frontier"...still a little too bloodthirsty for my tastes, though. I dunno, maybe Donna Barr? How cool would that be?

6. What, if anything, would make you pick up the book?

Good word of mouth, and a creative team that sticks around for the long haul. The way comics are these days, even if you get a good creative team, chances are they'll be gone inside of six months. If they can't commit to a book, why should I?

More specifically, I'd like to see at least a little lip service paid to the original vision of Wonder Woman as strong AND compassionate, and fewer attempts to turn her into the Punisher.

RedheadFangirl said...

While I seem like I should be a huge WW fan, as are most of the women my age, I'm not. I really like her character as part of the JL, not alone.

I'm sure it's been mentioned that the supporting characters to WW are weak or unknown, particularly the villains. You are only as strong as your villains-- see the Bat Family, Spider-man.

Of course I am now reading the Gail Simone WW series, but solely because she is the writer.

But I totally respect how much you love the character!