Janelle Assellin on Wonder Woman and the new team writing and drawing her.
DC has a Wonder Woman problem. Or perhaps more accurately, Wonder Woman has a DC problem. The idea of Wonder Woman as a feminist icon is so imprinted in her history, and in analysis of the character, that separating her from feminism should be near impossible. But that hasn’t stopped people trying.
Much has been written over the years about the ebb and flow of feminism in the Wonder Woman comics, the relative feminism of her appearances on the small screen, and her role as an icon for the movement. A recent interview with the new Wonder Woman creative team of Meredith Finch and David Finch has brought the topic back into focus.
Why do I suddenly find myself remembering Jaclynn Glen disavowing feminism while saying feminist things?
It’s great to see DC hiring a woman to write Wonder Woman, and it’s impossible to guess how she’ll do on the book until it begins in November. David Finch’s art has a bombastic Liefeldian pin-up quality to it that is a severe contrast to Chiang, who drew Wonder Woman as strong, realistic, and sexy — but not sexualized. The real problem, however, stems from this exchange from a CBR interview:
Is there a favorite part of the mythology you’re getting to play with in your first couple of issues or any part you’re really excited to touch on with this book?
Meredith: For me, it’s just being able to write Wonder Woman. She’s really a female icon from way back in the ’70s when females were stepping up and taking such powerful roles. Being able to take on that quintessential female superhero who represents so much for myself and for millions of people out there — especially at a time where comics are coming more into the mainstream — I feel like it’s really special, and that’s really where I’m coming from when I’m writing this. I want to always keep who she is and what I believe her core is central to what I’m doing.
David: And for my part, I’m excited to be drawing Meredith’s story and to be drawing such an icon. That’s something — since I’ve been at DC, it’s been an incredible privilege to be able to draw characters like Batman, and to the limited degree I’ve had, to draw Superman, and now to get into Wonder Woman. I think she’s a beautiful, strong character. Really, from where I come from, and we’ve talked about this a lot, we want to make sure it’s a book that treats her as a human being first and foremost, but is also respectful of the fact that she represents something more. We want her to be a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.
Feminism is not a dirty word.
I’ll say it again, because it comes up a lot. Feminism is not a dirty word. There has been a decades-long political and cultural effort to confuse and undermine the meaning of the word — and it’s a bad look for anyone associated with Wonder Woman to fall victim to it — but the word’s meaning nevertheless remains the same: women should enjoy social, political and economic rights and privileges equal to those of men.
Well sure but – don’t be a feminist about it.