Last time I talked about comics, I trashed a JMS-written comic and some poorly drawn pants, and while I had intended to follow up with a post about my visual reading habits, I had to interrupt that post with another–this one also about a JMS comic and some poorly drawn pants (since that went over so well last time). This time the post is brought to you courtesy of my mom.
Yeah, my aging mom, who mostly uses the internet to surf YouTube for James Taylor videos and Yo Yo Ma concert tickets, not to mention quack remedies for her aging kids’ various ailments, called me into her room in a quiet sort of disgruntled fury in order to explain to me (the comics ‘expert’ in our family) all about Wonder Woman’s new look.
“She’s so un-American!”
I had no idea my mom even knew who Wonder Woman is. Much less that she would care about her look, no matter how much the big corporate yahoos could screw it up. I figured they ditched her vambraces or whatever, maybe recolored her panties again, and sighed. “Yeah, OK, mom.” But she was really upset, so I went to check it out.
And my jaw dropped.
“She looks like some kind of Eastern European vampire!” my mom wailed. “What happened to her? She looks like a villain! And kind of like a Spider Man.”
My mom, god bless her, was right. She does look like some kind of Eastern European vampire, and the shirt has that weird Spidey-thing going on. It’s got some kind of nearly spider-line contour coloring. (There is no need to tell me that the lines are to emphasize her boobs; I am not interested in such trifles. It’s possible to draw generous chests without added contour lines, and if nice looking boobs were the point, they wouldn’t have replaced a freaking battle corset with some kind of tank top.)
In the interview piece linked above: “It’s a look designed to be taken seriously as a warrior, in partial answer to the many female fans over the years who’ve asked, ‘how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?’” said incoming series writer J. Michael Straczynski.
And look, I’m sorry, but no. No and no and no. She’s not going to be taken seriously in a pair of indigo-blue-black leggings if she’s still wearing a freaking lycra Spidey top and a goddamn tiara! If she was going to be ‘taken seriously as a warrior’, she’d need to be wearing fugly urban cargo pants in shades of gray and with all her metal enameled to unshininess. Also: newsflash! Indigo-blue-black leggings have been out since the 80s.
These comics are about capes (yes, yes, she doesn’t have a cape, but you know what I mean). These are people who fight in their underpants. That’s just how it is. Questioning the underpants leads either to a rejection of underpants for more civilian garb (in which case, give her real warrior clothing or give her real civilian clothing, ie American blue jeans) or to accepting the trope, in which case, at least keep the parts of her outfit that are HER.
Where are the shiny red boots that kick so hard? Where are the tap pants with stars? Where is her American flag of freedom theme? For the first time in my life, I’m with Fox news: this is an un-American change for our girl, and I don’t like it one bit. Yes, she’s an Amazon, but she’s here in America, fighting for freedom and good, and she’s the chief female superhero who stands on her own and is not a sidekick of any kind. She’s not a OtherCape-girl, or OtherCape-Woman, she’s her own hero in her own right and part of that is being American. I may not always like my country’s politics, but I quite like that we happen to have an Amazon princess who fights space kangaroos, thank you very much and I don’t want her watered down.
Neither, apparently, do most of Newsarama’s readers, who at the time of this column, have mostly voted that they hate the new look (41%, versus 12% that they love it).
You know what gets me the most? (I’m sure you’re all dying to know.) When I was a little girl, I used to have one of those cheesy kids’ Wonder Woman outfits, and so did my best friend, and we would twirl around and around until we were dizzy, shouting “Nunununununun…Wonder WOMAN!” and then strike a pose. We used some ancient garden rope for our lassos of truth and we used to fight bad guys and we used to have a great time being the Power For Good in the World. And I just cannot imagine that little-girl-me buying a pair of black legging and a boring 80s style jacket (reminiscent of those terrible MembersOnly jackets) and red tank top and doing anything like that. No. Just no. Which is a shame. Cause twirling around and being a kid and thinking those thoughts just seem part of the whole point of the capes genre.
Call me old and cranky, but I want my old Wonder Woman back, dammit.