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Old September 22nd, 2006   James Melanson is offline   #33
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"And, in the end of the day, what really weakens Diana as Wonder Woman is not a lack of singularity but the absence a specific and consistent point of view."

But the lack of singularity contributes significantly to the absence of a specific and consistent POV. Particularly given the vast differences in the various Wonder Women. I find it slightly inexplicable when people say they don't see the connection between Superman and Batman's singularity, and their status as rare and unique characters who are significant because they are irreplacable.

And it does render her a second tier character. Which is the top tier character-the immortal princess/messiah who fought the Nazis, served in the JSA, and co-founded the JLA? Or the ex-princess whose mother was the Wonder Woman in the great, golden age of America; who has been replaced countless times by every single member of her female supporting cast with powers? Easy answer there.
 
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Old September 22nd, 2006   reasonablefan1 is offline   #34
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But the lack of singularity contributes significantly to the absence of a specific and consistent POV. Particularly given the vast differences in the various Wonder Women. I find it slightly inexplicable when people say they don't see the connection between Superman and Batman's singularity, and their status as rare and unique characters who are significant because they are irreplacable.
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With all due respect, that argument collapses in on itself. If anything, singularity contributes to the problem as writers try to insert every piece of the Wonder Woman concept they like into the character - even when it makes no sense.

The Batman & Superman examples fail because there is NO REASON for an antecedent for either character. Besides, Batman and Superman have evolved in such a way that their current versions can encapsulate almost their entire history. You can't do that w/ Wonder Woman.

Batman and Superman are very different examples of children arising from loneliness and tragedy.

The Amazons are meant to be the ultimate expression of womanhood. Wonder Woman is the best of the Amazons. And the best of the Amazons was Hippolyta UNTIL HER DAUGHTER IS CREATED. I'd argue that Hippolyta works as Wonder Woman in the Golden Age (before Diana is created) better than in the modern age.

Each generation embracing and suprassing what came before - a very core cultural concept and one that works well with the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship.

And it does render her a second tier character. Which is the top tier character-the immortal princess/messiah who fought the Nazis, served in the JSA, and co-founded the JLA?
ddf
Two main problems with that - once again it obsesses over the details of in-story continuity rather than recognizing that iconic status is confered outside of stories not in them.

Second, and most important, that character you described can't exist - not as a 3-dimensional character that makes sense and fills the rolls the character is expected to fill. The Golden Age, Silver Age and Modern Age Wonder Women are radically different characters and forcing them into one person in the name of singularity will only hurt the character by contributing to a lack of coherent point of view.

The modern, JLA-centered Wonder Woman would not work as a character in the 1940s.

Or the ex-princess whose mother was the Wonder Woman in the great, golden age of America;
ddf
Even if I accept your in-comics approach, I don't buy it. I think it is because you and I have a very different idea of what makes characters special. I think greatness and heroism are defined by what the character does and how the character behaves, not where they were born. If, according to your argument, the only way that Diana can be special and iconic and "first tier" is to have no competition - then I read that as saying that Diana is not a character worthy of her iconic status - because to achieve it, we must lower the bar as far down as possible.
 
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Old September 22nd, 2006   Anthem is offline   #35
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Wonder Woman is now, and always has been, a second tier character. In the Golden Age she was the equivalent of Flash and Green Lantern, except she didn't get to really play in the JSA until late in the series. Probably the only thing that saved her in Comics Code era was that she was the feminine superhero - an archetype by reason of her gender.
Nowadays, she is supposed to be one of the Trinity. Yeah, right. Who has multiple books with her name on them out every month? The answer is Supergirl, if you are wondering, and that's just there to support the Superman franchise. Superman and Batman sell. Wonder Woman is a symbol.
And as has been pointed out, good luck figuring out what she is a symbol of. Feminism? That would be why she is wearing the swimsuit. Peace? That would be why she's a "warrior." America? That would be why she has all the Greek God trappings. Womanhood? That would be why she has been essentially asexual, except when written by a gay male writer.
Aside from some vanity projects like Trina Robbins' Wonder-Woman-as-Little-Lulu exercise just before the Perez launch, have any women actually written the character? Do any women WANT to write the character?
Why is Hippolyta so popular as Wonder Woman surrogate? Well, for one, she's a woman. She has had romances with real males, she has had a child, she has a real job (being queen). But she's not just a standard second-class citizen woman. She has a fairly direct way of handling things. She has the respect of her male co-workers. And they seem to think she's a real person. We get a good picture of who a person is from how they are treated by their colleagues. Everyone *****-foots around Diana (with some exceptions). Polly is one of the guys.
Diana has a lot of baggage that Polly managed to avoid. So now she's dead, and adding to Diana's baggage into the bargain.
If DC writers started writing Diana as a real woman (and there is some hope that is happening with OYL) her popularity might skyrocket. Or it might finally hit bottom. Since the Golden Age, WW has never been a first tier character. I don't know if she ever will.
 
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Old September 22nd, 2006   Mackaybear is offline   #36
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Boy this got fun awfully fast.

I do think that the almost constant reinvention of WW has hurt her character. There are a mulitude of interpretations of her.

And while I do like Perez's interpretation I still hold that the "immmortal" Diana makes for a better character and would make for better stories (In my own opinion) The fresh, dewey eyed approach was the weakest aspect of Perez's run.

However as has also been said, she really isn't a top 3. She was closer to GL and Flash in the GA. And did well. Her status as a member of the trinity has only to do with her having been continously published by DC thru the fifties. DC never really put the energy into her stories they should have. Well maybe in fits and starts. Most of the time writers from Kanighter on did whatever they wanted to with her and her stories. (yes that does sound a bit dirty)
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Anthem is offline   #37
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And DC did not put the energy into her for two reasons.

1 (and probably most important) she did not sell as well as Bats and Supes.

2 Until Jeanette Kahn came in, TPTB were all male and, with all the good intentions in the world, had no real idea of how to promote a female hero. I'm not convinced Jeanette had a clue, either, but at least she tried, and the Wonder Woman foundation (is that still around?) at least put the character - contradictory and hard to figure out as she was - into the public eye.

Actually, I do have to acknowledge that the Wonder Woman TV show also helped. I never watched it (I didn't have a TV through most of its existence) but it apparently did make people aware of the character. Something WW owes to Linda Carter. But I have no real idea of how she was treated there and whether there were intimations that a real woman existed inside the swimsuit. I have seen a grand total of one Wonder Woman TV episode, and that was a mystery sort of episode that concentrated on the mystery, not the characterization. I don't know if that was typical.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Mark MacMillan is offline   #38
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And DC did not put the energy into her for two reasons.

1 (and probably most important) she did not sell as well as Bats and Supes.

2 Until Jeanette Kahn came in, TPTB were all male and, with all the good intentions in the world, had no real idea of how to promote a female hero. I'm not convinced Jeanette had a clue, either, but at least she tried, and the Wonder Woman foundation (is that still around?) at least put the character - contradictory and hard to figure out as she was - into the public eye.

Actually, I do have to acknowledge that the Wonder Woman TV show also helped. I never watched it (I didn't have a TV through most of its existence) but it apparently did make people aware of the character. Something WW owes to Linda Carter. But I have no real idea of how she was treated there and whether there were intimations that a real woman existed inside the swimsuit. I have seen a grand total of one Wonder Woman TV episode, and that was a mystery sort of episode that concentrated on the mystery, not the characterization. I don't know if that was typical.
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Actually, from what I understand, WW sold very well up until the late 70's. Especially, to her target demographic of 10-15yr old females. It wasn't until the age of "Marvel Zombies" that grew out of the 70's that DC got drastic and decided not only to simplify it's universe, but showcase their other heroes with COIE.

Marv Wolfman explains all of this on his website.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Mark MacMillan is offline   #39
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"I came up with the basic idea for Crisis because, in 1980, DC needed something to bring attention to itself. Unlike today where the sales of all comics are down, in 1980, Marvel was selling quite well but DC wasn’t, with the main exception being George Perez and my New Teen Titans comic. In fact, Marvel zombies at the time would never even think of looking at a DC Comic as if it were covered with the pox or something. Something drastic needed to be done.

Unless you’d been following DC for any length of time, our continuity was difficult to wade through. It was my feeling that if we were going to draw Marvel readers to DC we needed to A: Do something big and flashy, and B: Make the DCU easier to follow. We needed a jumping on point." - Marv Wolfman

He also goes on to discuss how well known the Trinity was, but how the rest of the DCU really wasn't to outsiders.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   reasonablefan1 is offline   #40
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He also goes on to discuss how well known the Trinity was, but how the rest of the DCU really wasn't to outsiders.
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I do think you're misconstruing the timeline based on that quote. Wonder Woman sales problems started long before the "late 70s." By the late 60s, "Wonder Woman" was doing so poorly that DC pretty much chucked the character and made her over for what we now refer to as the I-Ching/white jumpsuit era.

Wonder Woman's sales woes have been going on now for decades. I guess it says something about the character that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, fans still believe she has the ability to headline a top-selling book.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Anthem is offline   #41
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Wonder Woman more or less disappeared off the general radar until her TV show in the 70s.

One could say that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman have had TV shows because they are the most popular characters, but it could also be said that they are the most popular characters because they have all had TV shows.

The Flash doesn't seem to have followed this paradigm, but that may be more of an observation on the condition of modern TV, or just the general quality of the show. For some reason the producers took the character with the most colorful set of Rogues in comics and decaffed the lot of them, so that they had no flair (with the exception of Mark Hamil's Trickster, and he was a pale imitation).
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Anthem is offline   #42
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And while I am at it, I should say that Wonder Woman in the 50s and 60s actually had a very distinct presence. Robert Kanigher tapped into a real dynamic of the character. It's just that his version had nothing to do with the usual memes of superhero comics. It was all romance and strange creatures and girls' adventure - the real superhero fans like thee and me hated it. So it got taken out of his hands and DC has been trying to make a superhero out of Diana ever since, with decidedly mixed results.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Rajah1 is offline   #43
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The Jor-El and Thomas Wayne examples underscore just how much this situation is different. Both men are created-for-comics characters who as of the first appearance of their sons in costume were dead.

Diana was CREATED to be the daughter of a legend. Marston could have created an original character, but he chose not to. Instead, he reached out and pulled a character out of myth - a character who had a stature all her own. And he continued to have Hippolyta play an active role in Diana's life.
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I completely agree with this. That's why I like the Hippolyta retcon. She was indeed a legend already and there was just something so right (to me) about the mythical Queen of the Amazons fighting beside the legends of World War II. It's why I like seeing Thor or Hercules in the Avengers, a direct tie between the myths of the past and the heroes of today. In the absence of a Multiverse counterpart of Diana, this was the best alternative.

What screwed it up, I think, was John Byrne's rather convoluted time travel story and the fact that the public of the DCU considers Polly the first Wonder Woman historically. If it were up to me, I would use Infinite Crisis to slightly tweak this but not remove Polly altogether (which would only get us back at square one with a big empty space in JSA history).

In my version, a Steve Trevor analog would crash on Themyscira during the war, thus alerting the Amazons to the desperate state the world is in. Most would vote for isolationism but Hippolyta (who watches the outsider die) is spurred to action. Leaving General Phillipus in charge, she departs for Man's World, takes part in the fight against the Nazis, and joins the JSA-- but as Hippolyta. No codename, no star-spangled uniform, just Amazon armor. Her teammates sometimes comment that Polly is "a regular wonder woman" but that's as far as I'd take it. When the war ends, she returns to Paradise and Diana's origin proceeds as already told.

This would remove the problem of a Wonder Woman predating Diana and would avoid potential time travel paradoxes. I think it would be the best compromise.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   curiouswanderer is offline   #44
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The Perez/Potter pitch was the one DC went with, and it's hard to argue its success. (Incidentally, does anyone know whether the reboot was an editorial mandate from on high, or whether there were other pitches for the series, not including a reboot, that were considered and rejected?)
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The reboot was a mandate with Editor Karen Berger at the helm. She persued George Perez for both writer and artist...something she actually had to talk him into, but which from what I can remember he is grateful for. He has a true affinity for the character and loved doing the book.

The largest problem plaguing the character of Wonder Woman over the last forty years is that even the editors of DC have no clear vision of who or what Wonder Woman is. I wish I could remember where I read it (and it was some years ago and may have changed at DC since,) but there was an interview with an editor once who made the statement that each editor has a character sheet for both Superman and Batman to make sure that their respective costumes are drawn correctly in each series they appear in. This is done so that the boots are correct, the "S" is correct, that there are the correct number of "S"'s on the costume and the colors are correct. The same was with Batman. Have you looked at the books that Wonder Woman appeared in? Even in recent years, it seems no two artists drew her the same, the most memorable for me being Doug Mahnke (sorry if I have butchered the spelling of his name.) That's not to imply that I did not like his work, I actually loved his work on JLA. But Diana's boots were not drawn to style, nor was her tiara occasionally. It's been the same through out the characters history. The artists get the basics correct, but not the details. The same can be said of writers. They get the basics correct, but not the details. Why? Because no one really seems to know the details of the character. Even readers disagree on who the character is supposed to be. Until we have a clear vision of Wonder Woman produced for more than ten years, time enough for a completely new generation of WW readers to come on board and spend time with that character, there will be a huge disparity between ideas of the character. Is she the tv show Wonder Woman, the Super Friends Wonder Woman, the post COIE WW or the Rucka era. (It's really interesting that Rucka actually seems to have gone the most distance in creating a personality for the character especially given such a relatively short run on the character.)

Personally I have no problem with Hippolyta being the Golden Age Wonder Woman. For me, that was the best thing to come out of the Byrne run. I hate that DC decided that she should die and feel that she really should be brought back. Not necessarily to be Wonder Woman currently, but for the strength of her character and what she adds to the book. (But of course, that's not going to be too much right now as the Amazons aren't even to be found.)
So who is Wonder Woman? Who knows! She's written differently in every book she appears in unless written by the same person. I mean...right now...we dont even have the same Wonder Woman appearing in different books. Oh, I know, Diana will return to the title of Wonder Woman, was there really any doubt? But honestly, we have Donna Wonder in Wonder Woman proper, and Diana Wonder Woman every where else. And then...after Diana returns to the role...a new writer for a couple or three issues and than another new writer.
Less that Batman and certainly less than Superman, Wonder Woman is dictated by the times. What are the roles of a woman, how should she look, how should she act...that type of thing. Superman will always have the same intrinsic traits...the ideal of truth, justice and the American way. Batman will always be the Dark Knight seeking to protect others from what happened to him. Wonder Woman will be....what? Depends on what the public view of women is. Depends on what the view of the writer or editor is.
As for Hippolyta being Wonder Woman and why she was never more than decoration during her time as Wonder Woman...I believe and Geoff or someone else can correct me if I am wrong, but her appearances in JSA were running close to her demise and they were told not to do too much her as she was slated to die. I may be wrong and this is all from memory. BUt were there more stories set during the WWII era or had she lived through OWAW, there may have been more done with the character. It is interesting to consider who things might have gone during the whole Infinite Crisis deal and the murder of Maxwell Lord had Polly lived.
But those are just my thoughts.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Jeff Nowicki is offline   #45
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Polly appeared in both JLA and JSA trades (which still sell very well) so it might be too confusing to just get rid of her. It made sense for her to become Wonder Woman when Diana "died."

The time travel part worked because it finally gave Donna an inspiration to become Wonder Girl. (Instead of all the reworking her history received as a result of the original Crisis.) Now I would assume they brought back the Donna being rescued from the fire by Diana origin? Or did they? Maybe somehow they all happened? She was an Earth 7 Harbinger or something.

Instead of saying things either happened or they didn't, DC is taking baby steps this time and thinking through all the ramifications before they make a blanket statement like 'Polly didn't go back in time.' Like when Byrne took away Superboy and the entire origin of the legion fell apart. I'm glad that the creators are thinking about what pulling this heroes past could do to the current timeline.

52 seems to be covering that with Booster Gold. I'm pretty sure the 52 website also had an article about mixed up history books contradicting what people remember. For now, I guess it all happened, but it could've happened in a different timestream. Yet...they all remember it even if it didn't happen that way.



No wonder Psycho Pirate went crazy...
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Mark MacMillan is offline   #46
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Polly appeared in both JLA and JSA trades (which still sell very well) so it might be too confusing to just get rid of her. It made sense for her to become Wonder Woman when Diana "died."

The time travel part worked because it finally gave Donna an inspiration to become Wonder Girl. (Instead of all the reworking her history received as a result of the original Crisis.) Now I would assume they brought back the Donna being rescued from the fire by Diana origin? Or did they? Maybe somehow they all happened? She was an Earth 7 Harbinger or something.

Instead of saying things either happened or they didn't, DC is taking baby steps this time and thinking through all the ramifications before they make a blanket statement like 'Polly didn't go back in time.' Like when Byrne took away Superboy and the entire origin of the legion fell apart. I'm glad that the creators are thinking about what pulling this heroes past could do to the current timeline.

52 seems to be covering that with Booster Gold. I'm pretty sure the 52 website also had an article about mixed up history books contradicting what people remember. For now, I guess it all happened, but it could've happened in a different timestream. Yet...they all remember it even if it didn't happen that way.



No wonder Psycho Pirate went crazy...
ddf
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Actually, after COIE I was simply hoping they'd have said Diana entered Man's World during WWII. She's simply an immortal Amazon Princess and therefore doesn't age like average humans do.

Wonder Woman's history could've all happened in one single timeline without the time paradoxes and constant retconning.

She'd still be a member of the JSA and founding member of the JLA.

Fury would be her daughter again.

Donna would have her origin back.

She wouldn't need to have her age retconned like Superman and Batman.

Now I don't think Wonder Woman will ever be as popular as Superman and Batman, basically because from what I understand, female characters generally have a harder time selling than male characters in this day and age, but if she's to remain a viable character, her and her world have got to become a bit more accessible, IMO.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   Captrose is offline   #47
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Ok, taking this away from the Polly/Wonder Woman arguement for a moment...

So if Polly was WW in JSA, what about Earth 2 Diana? We saw her for a page in IC and Diana seemed to sort of, kind of, in a way recognize her. So, for the Post IC DCU, Polly was in the JSA. But Power Girl, Alan Scott & Jay all remember Diana E2? So do they have like 2 sets of memories or is like when you can't remember something real well. "I think Bobby was there for that, but maybe it was Jim" type thing? Just wondering.
 
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Old September 25th, 2006   curiouswanderer is offline   #48
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Ok, taking this away from the Polly/Wonder Woman arguement for a moment...

So if Polly was WW in JSA, what about Earth 2 Diana? We saw her for a page in IC and Diana seemed to sort of, kind of, in a way recognize her. So, for the Post IC DCU, Polly was in the JSA. But Power Girl, Alan Scott & Jay all remember Diana E2? So do they have like 2 sets of memories or is like when you can't remember something real well. "I think Bobby was there for that, but maybe it was Jim" type thing? Just wondering.
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That seems to be it exactly. Only Power Girl knows for certain that there was a Wonder Woman in the JSA named Diana.
 
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