As I’ve mentioned, we have moved our archive from our blogspot address to here. I thought I’d make use of that to start a series highlighting some of the comments from back in the day. Voices from the Archive will be an occasional series; maybe once a week? We’ll see.
Anyway. Since we’re in the middle of a giant Wonder Woman roundtable, I thought I’d start out with some comments by Gail Simone in response to a post of mine in which I suggested that her version of Wonder Woman was a Mary Sue. Gail was extremely patient and forgiving, given the post in question. She left several comments.
This is a fun read. let me get that out first. I enjoyed it, in non-ironic fashion, honestly. But good lord, your premise is absolute and complete nonsense. I don’t like Mary Sues, I don’t believe in them, and I sure as hell don’t WRITE them. I find them intrusive, amateurish and insulting to the audience. The ‘evidence’ seems to be that:
a) I like the character, and
b) I like to show her in a positive light.
Well, dang, you caught me. She’s OBVIOUSLY a Mary Sue. Along with, oh, virtually every lead character ever written by anyone in a superhero comic. ;)
If I had a Mary Sue character, trust me on this, it wouldn’t be Wonder Woman, or Superman, or any of the other icons. I have absolutely no such connection.
Additionally, I found you REAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLY stretching to make your point in this article, which is a little funny, given the smugness that it embraces. I always say, wrong is okay, smug is okay, wrong AND smug is a little weird. ;)
I’m glad you liked some of the book, but of course sorry if you were disappointed overall. Wonder Woman is very subjective, and your piece here reminds me a lot of what I read on message boards, wherein there’s some resentment that the book’s author doesn’t write the Wonder Woman that the poster holds in his or her own imagination. It’s understandable, I’ve been there myself many times.
And here’s a bit from a later comment.
As for Mary Sues, hmm. Well, while I can see your definition, I’m not certain that it is actually the prevailing one. And there’s no question that blatant Mary Sue-ism is mostly pretty hideous stuff to actually read, even when it ISN’T amateurish fan-fic.
But simply declaring a character to be a Mary Sue doesn’t make it so, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Whether or not you believe a Mary Sue is a bad thing (and I think your article betrays you here, because in it, you certainly imply uncharitable things about the practice), the evidence is far too scant to make the case. In this particular case, I find the basic argument to be fallacious on its own merits simply because the charge could be applied literally to almost every recent lead portrayal in a superhero comic. If the definition is that open-ended, so much so that it defies sub-categorization, then I’m sure you’ll agree that it loses all potency. And meaning, for that matter. If any such portrayal can qualify, then using the term at all has little meaning….
I do find it interesting that you seem to dismiss the Circle as mostly pure pulp, as I think that story has quite a lot of interesting subtext about maternity and womanhood, in an kind of blemished manner that the book normally doesn’t embrace. I hope you pick up the next volume, as it fits more with some of your complaints about this book, and I admit it was more of a personal “I love this kind of shit” story than The Circle was, all about d-list forgotten barbarians and the like.
I completely admit that I wrote it because I do love that shit, and your charge of ‘continuity porn,’ which really doesn’t apply to the Circle (most of the elements in that book are new characters with little reference to DC obscurities) apply in godawful force in volume II, The Ends of The Earth. I admit it, and if you had written this article about that volume, I’d have to sheepishly take the heat. :)
It was worth it. Diana and DC’s Beowulf make a surprisingly strong dynamic, and it was good fun all the way through to write. Hope this volume hasn’t turned you off to that one.
You can read more of Gail’s thoughts, my responses, and the original post here.
Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson The Circle