I bought Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman: Earth One in hopes of snarking about it online with bluefall, with whom I deludedly imagine I have some kind of fandom-based friendship.

Yeah. Well, it shows some research, but then so did Phil Jimenez's Wondy run, and we saw how that went. But I hadn't been real pleased with the first volume of Superman: Earth One, and my expectations were low. I was at first kind of pleased that someone had actually picked up on some of the Marston & Peter strangeness and pulled that out and interpreted as no one else has done.

Anyway, at some point I decided to read the second and third volumes of Superman: Earth One to compare. You know what? They're so much better. Oh, the villains are pretty stupid, but the supporting cast feel like people. There's some good work there.

By comparison Morrison's Earth One project is a muddled mess. Stilted dialogue and narration all out of order. It's visually somewhat slick, but I think it's a weaker piece.

That said, yes, jousting on kangaroos is in the source material, and fans who complained about that sounded hilarious to me.
philippos42: (scared)
Recently, I found a graphic album of something called Fever Moon at the public library. It had art by the late Al Rio, so I checked it out. When I finally, weeks later, sat down to read it, the author's foreword surprised me:
Karen Marie Moning:
When Del Rey told me I could pick my artist, it was a done deal. I would have written anything to get a chance to work with Al Rio, whose art I've long admired.
Fever Moon ended up being more than I'd hoped for, but the path to completion was difficult, and not everyone survived. We lost Al Rio along the way....
So this was some of his last work, and he didn't even finish it. Wow.

This hit me.

I had long harbored an idle fantasy of writing Wonder Woman, and in that fantasy I wanted Al to draw it. I figured he'd pull me back. I'd write a script where Diana's in civvies, he'd put her in the costume, probably with the booty shorts that show the bottom of her buttocks. I'd want to be kind of off-kilter, he'd bring the book back to a classic superhero look. Stuff like that.

I think Al dying in 2012 was one of the things (alongside my own clear inability to actually write a decent Wonder Woman story, and DC basically telling entire fandoms of its characters to get lost with the New 52 revamp) that made me just give up on the idea and move on.

And here I was reading the book he was working on before he died--and which he never finished. So it was kind of like mourning.
philippos42: (clover)
I'm back from my local comic shop. They seem to have an iffy relationship with my orders, but the proprietor is trying.

Last week I mentioned that I didn't get the second issue of an miniseries I'm following (and not naming here, apparently).
Today he handed me the second and fourth issues. "And do you have this one?"
"No, not yet."
OK, so it looks like I'm caught up on that one.

I asked about Brandon Graham's Island Magazine, which I had ordered the first issue of and not gotten. He said that they'd sold out. (But I'd pre-ordered it because they sell out of things.)
He found a copy. So I guess I have someone else's copy and he'll have to re-order it for them.

He also handed me the second issue of Prez, a series which I had wanted to order and chickened out on for budgetary reasons, but as of last week I am starting (with #4) to pre-order.

And an issue of Sensation Comics, which technically I'm not pre-ordering anymore. I guess I could have handed it back, but oh well, I took it. That four dollars gets me close to the end of my money for the month, so I didn't get a Diamond Previews. Maybe I should have gotten that instead. Then again, this issue has a Georges Jeanty story, which sounds cool, and it's #12, so if I switch to the trade paperbacks (which means waiting even longer for stuff that came out earlier in digital format) it'll probably be in a trade with one I already have? I don't know.

So far I've read Prez #2. And there's a "Preston Rickard" who apparently is this timeline's Prez Rickard? Wow, cool! This is maybe-fix-the-scanner stuff.

(Oh, and like three pages of the miniseries--which I may talk about when it's finished? I don't know.)

I don't know if I'll ever see the Rocket Girl and Yostuba&! albums I ordered a few months ago.
I've probably said part of this before, back when Rucka was writing Wonder Woman, but I'll say it again. Wonder Woman is not a "Greek tragedy," nor are the Amazons in Wonder Woman meant to be "consistent with their portrayal in Greek mythology," whatever "Greek mythology" means.

Wonder Woman is a modern pop-culture concept, and if anything an American concept. Wonder Woman was created by two Americans, as a kind of feminist children's-fantasy hero. The book uses pseudo-classical tropes, but if you try to make it thematically match Ovid, or Hesiod, or Homer, you may be missing the point. Wonder Woman doesn't get "more correct" for getting closer to ancient Attic culture, or to whatever you think "real" classical mythology is supposed to be, let alone some simplistic stereotype.

And Wondy's Amazons are not meant to be sinister enemies, according to Marston and Peter's design.

As for association of Greeks with tragedy, remember that "comedy" is a Greek word too. In any case, Wondy (who is a product of American pop culture and not exactly any kind of real-world Greek) inhabits a different genre mix, one of light heroic fantasy—or a sort of "comic opera" approach in between Calliope and Thalia.

The present focus on grim and messed-up Amazons gets the Wonder Woman property wrong. I also think Rucka's "tragic" approach got it wrong—and maybe it got what it means to be Greek, or indeed what it means to be human, wrong.

Don't blame the ancient Greeks for your drek. If you make the book super-grim, that's on you.
philippos42: (spider-man)
Why Steve Trevor is the best male role model ever - Will Shetterly
...Wonder Woman has been saving Trevor's butt for as long as she's existed, and he's never been threatened by it, nor has he ever been emasculated by it. As I've said before and will say again, that relationship is my model for my relationship with Emma.

(I understand why lesbians want Wonder Woman to be a lesbian. What they don't understand is that a lesbian on Paradise Island is no different than a straight man in the US. To Amazons, Wonder Woman's love for Steve Trevor is queer.)

Will Shetterly gets it.

I am not a Steve/Di shipper (outside of the period in the 1970's where he was back from the dead and in on the secret identity). I got into Wondy in the 1990's, and that version of Steve was basically out of the book and married to someone else. But that dynamic, of a female lead who is a powerhouse with a male significant other who is closer to baseline, still holds for other Wondy boyfriends like Trevor Barnes and (to a degree) Jonny Double, and it's a good dynamic that pop culture could use a lot more of.

I reserve the right to prefer Shetterly's own super-couple in the Captain Confederacy Comics to Steve and Di, as characters. There the guy wasn't so much physically weaker as willing to concede power and position to his girlfriend, and actually did so. That's a good theme too.
philippos42: placards (placard)
Here's the link: http://www.themarysue.com/wonder-woman-36/

I personally favor a more human and less goddess-like Wonder Woman, but I agree that this issue had a bit too much JLA and DCU, and an odd sudden teddy bear! I also found Finch's Amazons a bit weirdly divergent from usual.
philippos42: (despair)
I probably should make notes of when I bought particular comics, if only for my own reference.

I went to the comic shop today to drop off an order from Diamond Previews.

I looked around the racks. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 is out, but I am avoiding SIXIS, so nope. (Yes, I know it's meant to be AXIS.)

But I said to the propietor, "I may regret this, but I want to see what the new beginnings have done to my star-spangled characters." Here's why:

I got All-New Captain America #1, after thumbing through it and wondering who Nomad was. I wish I'd just read the introductory first page, which explains it--and it's not Jack Monroe, it's Ian Rogers, I think. And I would have noticed that Remender wrote this. I hate giving him money.

I got a LEGO-cover Wonder Woman #36--first issue of the Meredith Finch/David Finch run. And it'll most likely be the last of that run I get. It's not just that it's not how I would do it, it's wildly at variance with what I think it should be. The visibly decaying Amazon crone was a weird, tropey touch.

However, I did get Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #4, which continues the Gilbert Hernandez story from previously; pretty fun. It also has a vaguely Bronze-Age-Earth-1-like story with the Bronze-Age Hawks and Byth, drawn by Tom Lyle, which is OK. And a who-even-knows-what-continuity story with a vaguely Golden Age Wondy and Etta fighting Ra's al Ghul, helped by Deadman; drawn by Dean Haspiel; Etta is HUGE.

So, yeah, Sensation is staying on the pull list. The others, I think not.
philippos42: (green)
A couple of days ago I decided I'd been sitting around the house too much, and I walked downtown and bought a stack of comics:

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #1: Wow, I was not real happy with this. I don't like Ethan van Sciver's art in general, and the lead story was illustrated by him. I wasn't really that impressed with either script, either. Lots of weird fight scenes, not a lot of coherent story story, to me. Of course, I may have been in a bad mood because I read it right after three issues of...

Captain Marvel #5-#7: Three issues of this, mostly OK, and I like Tic. But I may have to give up on it. The cat really was a Flerken? That means the raccoon was right? That really changes the whole interaction we saw earlier, and I don't like it. I may be slightly angry about it. I guess that is one way to subvert the Power Girl parallels (blonde flying brick with energy projection and a surly cat).

Ms. Marvel #7-#8: Not bad. I like Kamala in her glasses for reading online, and the way she embraces Lockjaw apparently without knowing who he is. I just wish that the stories were a little denser or more complete somehow.

I think I'm getting a lot more judgemental about print comics than about webcomics. Hmmm.
philippos42: heather (superhero)
I am the worst Captain America fan. I'm one of the least flag-wavy people you are likely to meet, and thus not automatically a fan of the kind of trademark Captain America is, and I don't generally buy the book.

But I get really angry if you dis Cap the character. (This is in fact where my hatred of Mark Millar came from, and I know it's an overreaction, but it made sense to me in context.)

I know this is really strange.

At one point when I was a kid, I kind of wanted to grow up to be the Falcon. I liked Bernie, and Jack Monroe, and OK, I kind of wanted to be Nomad, too.

This is why "The Winter Soldier" (comics version) pissed me off. They killed off Nomad to bring back James Buchanan Barnes. Sales-driven shock schlock meets anti-legacy retro erasure crap.

...I just looked on marvel.wikia.com to find out what happened to Jack's baby companion "Bucky"--and man, I was really out of touch with Marvel for a while and didn't realize how much the comics had messed up Jack even before. Now I'm sad and angry.

Wait, you say, isn't Wonder Woman also a flag-waving USA superhero? A-ha no. Wondy is a foreigner who cynically strategically adopted a costume that Americans would read as "patriotic superhero," but it's all just vaguely similar motifs. It's almost like Russian or Romanian heraldry, too.

Cap is a big old heart-on-his-sleeve New Deal patriot, and I'm a lot more cynical about my country than he is. Wait, let me rephrase that. Cap believes in the dream, and fights against the perversion of the dream while embracing the heraldry of the dream. I tend to associate the heraldry with jingoism and racism, and I decline the heraldry for myself, while respecting Cap's dream as a worthy dream. Something like that, anyway.

(I also tend to like other "national superheroes" from other countries. And that's one of the fun things you can do with Captain America: have him team up with Le Peregrine, and stuff.)

I'm wondering if I'll buy Al Ewing's Mighty Avengers series when it's renamed Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.

Good points:
Greg Land will be off the book. (Hey, remember liking Greg Land, when he was basically swiping from Immonen and Jason Pearson instead of tracing whatever he's tracing now? Well, actually some of the recent stuff on Mighty has been good. Forcing him to draw men and babies and stuff helps?)

Bad points:
I'm already kind of buying Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk, and not real keen on adding more books to my budget.
I kind of don't want the Falcon to be Captain America. It's weird to me. And it's not the same as when John Walker was. I hope they can make it work. Maybe they can sell me on it.
philippos42: "Dark Vengeance!" (misfit)
A couple weeks ago, I guess, I ran across some DVD's at the store. There was a double package with Romeo Must Die, which I remember liking, and Cradle 2 the Grave, which I don't think I've ever seen but I think I remember Becca posting about. There was also the animated Wonder Woman with voices by Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, and Alfred Molina, and I had yet to see that. I picked them up.

So, Sunday I got around to watching Romeo Must Die again. I'd forgotten much of it in the intervening decade and change. A remarkable amount of it is Amthony Anderson and Jet Li beating each other up.

Also, I hadn't remembered how blatantly it was a love story between Jet Li's character and Aaliyah's. In "PSY AND THE ACCEPTABLE ASIAN MAN", refresh_daemon points out that the final cut of the movie did not have a scene where Jet and Aaliyah kiss, apparently because that didn't test well. But the movie is definitely going in that general direction, and the line, "Sorry, Romeo, you gotta die," isn't misplaced.

Since I read that article before actually re-watching the movie, I was certainly thinking about this dimension of interracial romance in an action movie. I kind of want to remake Romeo Must Die with a really hot male lead--like a Korean boy band type...who had to bulk up in prison, since it's a remake--and blatant snogging. Not that I wouldn't like a movie that really doesn't even try to put the male and female leads together--or one, that like the final cut, does put them together, but weights the emotional stuff and early flirting above (unseen) physical affection. Not that Han and Trish aren't affectionate in other ways--it's a neat movie in its way.

Even if the underlying plot involves a conspiracy to wreck Oakland's waterfront for the sake of land speculation for a project that doesn't need to be on the waterfront. Hundreds of small businessmen dead for the sake of bad urban planning. Oy.


Monday I watched that Wonder Woman movie. There is a lot wrong with that movie. I don't even want to try to pick apart everything.

But as I have said, I am a big Artemis fan, and I am struck that they pretty much took Artie and split her themes between three characters: "Artemis" is based on her visual design, and kind of on her personality. "Alexa" has a moment late in the film where she pulls a trick vaguely akin to things Artie did in Requiem (as in, come back from the dead and subvert the Big Bad's forces with knowledge of his magic). And "Diana" when she comes to Man's World is pretty much the cold clueless Amazon caricature Artie was early on--only more likely to kill her enemy's mooks.

So yeah. But I did like the throwaway joke about Artie carrying abnormally large swords (which comes from a lying cover, originally). And Artie and Di are my girls, so at the end I was kind of tearing up even for these versions, as alienatingly "wrong" (not to mention cold and unlikable) as they were written here.

The script is kind of a mess. Steve did not need to be a serial womanizer; vain, sure, but this Steve was a little too creepy I thought. "Etta" was pretty much called Etta because that's a name in the mythos (not much to do with most versions of Etta).

And of course, first thing, they had Ares and Hippolyta as exes, and I said, "Dude, he's her Dad." (Because in the comics, she's the daughter of War. Yeah. At least in the Byrne and Sekowsky runs.) Yeah, Ares in this was pretty bonkers.

Oh, well, Warner Bros. tried. Next time, do better.
philippos42: Sarigar (hard)
I think Artemis called Requiem is my favorite superhero. Artemis, the onetime Wonder Woman with the absurdly long hair.

I used to say my favorite superhero and my favorite supervillain were both Doctor Zero from the Shadowline Saga. Although there may have been a long stretch where if I were honest with myself I would admit I liked Magneto (the Claremont/Bolton version) better. And he's a well-known example of someone who is both.

But no, these days it's Artie. And it is almost totally because of Artemis: Requiem.

This is a character who really came into her own after she died.

(She died when she and her sister Diana--technically they're not biological sisters, but they are consistently called sisters in the text; go with it--had to defeat the thing that used to be Asquith Randolph. Diana was the star of that book, so Artemis was killed off to put Diana back in the Wonder Woman suit.)

Artemis went to Hell; and was taken in marriage (I would've said "concubine," the text says "wife." Marriage.) by a major Devil. Dalkriig-Hath was one of the Thirteen Princes of Hell, we are told. This is backstory for her series, quickly exposited when her sister Diana comes looking for her.

Then she leaves Hell with an unconscious Diana on her back. Surreally crawls out of her own grave, carrying an unconscious Wonder Woman.

A bunch of weirdness happens, I'm gonna skip to the last issue.

Spoilers, if you care: Read more... )

Later writers haven't always known what to do with Artie.
I think Gail Simone was one of the worst, writing Artie as depressed and suicidal. e_e
Byrne did OK with her, I guess. That's where her relationships with Cassie and Mike Schorr come from. (Not sexual relationships, ficcers! Well, maybe Mike.)
Jimenez sympathized with Artemis, I think. He wrote her as pretty disgusted with the chain of events that led to her getting beaten to death, and I think he was responsible for promoting her to one of the leaders of the Amazons.
Rucka and Johnson cut her hair off, because they hate good things.

I've seen fans refer to her as the evil Wonder Woman or something like that. Way to miss the point.

Artie was cold, sometimes arrogant, and due to her exceedingly weird life experiences, bizarre. But she's driven by a hero's pursuit of justice. And she had that crazy visual design.

And somehow Artemis: Requiem--which I think is generally hated as eye-bleeding 1990's excess, drawn by a young Ed Benes riffing on Mike Deodato riffing on Jim Lee--this crazy throwaway series with superheroes never heard of before or since and a very...particular...view of the afterlife--this little series wormed its way into my heart.

"Are you saying God raised you from the dead?"
"No...I did it myself!" (big smile).
philippos42: zat on stage (zatanna)
I was thinking today about times I didn't feel totally worthless, and someone quoting me on s_d as someone who knew a lot about Wonder Woman came to mind. As it happens, I googled myself, and that was a result.


I'd forgotten that I came into that thread and managed to get so many feet in my mouth so quickly I left foot tracks on my head. Argh. OK, we were a bunch of rude dogs on the old DC Comics boards, I guess. (We Wondyfen were still nicer than the Green Lantern fans I hope.)

BTW, I have looked at some of the s_d posts about the Nu Wonder Woman. She's not my character, it's not my series. So my Wondy expertise has lasped.

To be honest, at some point being a Wondy expert stopped meaning so much.

It's weird that I don't seem to have a Wondy icon on Dreamwidth. I still have some on LJ.
Are you interested in Wonder Woman as a character?
Are you interested in Amazons as a concept?
Do you want to play with Greek mythology?
Do you want to do a feminist book?
Do you want a female Superman?
Do you want to play around in the DCU?

If you answered, "No," to the first one, why are you writing Wonder Woman?

See also the previous Wondy rant.
Yesterday I met a kid named Keith Griggs. I did not ask, "Like the Wonder Woman character?"

He's young enough, he could have been named after the Wondy character.
philippos42: (despair)
"...the myth that Wonder Woman works as a leading super-hero."
"Oh, how is that? I'm curious to know why a character like her cannot carry a story of her own...."

Well, she can. She's just not as commercial as people seem to expect, and it's not just because she's a woman.

A self-consciously feminist character created by a bigamist (Wm. Marston) & a confirmed bachelor (H. Peter) to cash in on the 1940's super-hero craze? I suppose that such a concept could have had legs despite its origins.

But the creators had so little faith in the idea of a strong woman that they made her come from some male-free fantasy land where the women are amazingly powerful, but can only even have power due to men's absence. This is practically misogynist and misandrist at the same time.

And then they threw several different concepts into the book to try to grab as much audience as possible: She's a superscience hero (like an over-the-top Iron Man/Mr Fantastic), a mythology hero (like Thor), hangs around a college (like Spider-Man), an ersatz Captain America, albeit vaguely foreign, and a card-carrying feminist (like...Tigra?). Also she runs around in a stupid costume which just fails to be an athlete's togs due to the high boots and the evening-gown top (oh, yeah, like Harvey's Black Cat).

Imagine how much better they could have done with a magical-girl line. More titles means more alternatives for the audience if they don't like a given writer or artist. But no, they had to suck as much energy up into one title as possible.

Wondy has done well where elements get stripped out. Unfortunately, those elements don't seem to get attached to new series.

The Holliday Girls disappeared from Wonder Woman in the 1950's, never to return. Want to see college kids whimsically fighting a variety of menaces? You won't get it from DC.

The U.S. military connections have been dropped a few times. Twice they came back. But why not create a new character who has them?

The stupid boyfriend (No, really, he was stupid. I mean he was a stupid person in the text.) was killed off twice, then finally retconned into the husband of a friend of hers to stop the insanity. Fans of superheroines with stupid boyfriends have been whining ever since--but never mind Wondy, rarely do modern superheroines get boyfriends at all.

So many missed opportunities.

And Wondy is left with some mythology stuff, the bizarre gender politics of Paradise Island, some fantastic tech, and sometimes her JLA membership, while the fans of "powerful girl with stupid boyfriend," "superhero with a military day job," & "unapologetic patriotic USA superheroine," are left disappointed. And they'll badmouth the present version & hurt sales. As for the various concepts that have been attached over the years, sometimes by a single writer, such as, "superheroine with a gaggle of sorority girls following her around," "mythology-rooted character with job in a museum of antiquities," "martial artist / boutique owner with a variety of adventures," "superheroine who hangs around mythical monsters &/or nymphs," "superheroine with day job at a government agency dealing with metahuman stuff," or "whimsical superheroine who hangs out with a child version of herself," (Marston/Peter, Byrne, Sekowsky, Luke &/or Moeller, Heinberg, Kanigher, respectively)--those aren't being used elsewhere at DC either.

If you have an idea for a Wondy revamp (especially a new status quo), it might be better served as a new character.

And the Wonder Woman trademark might be more commercial if you rejected much of the cluttered original premise, but which parts do you keep? Maybe it's time to let it go, or at least acknowledge that Wondy as such is just not going to have amazing sales.

Other female characters can.
I'm not thrilled with the villainization of the Amazons again in Flashpoint. And if the rumors are true that this time they're really going to reset Wonder Woman to some semblance of pre-Pérez tropes (not that that's ever completely happened yet, really), an specifically if they put Steve Trevor back in as love interest, well, I'm done.

I was a vol. 2 fan. They want to toss that character, then I don't have any reason to care anymore. I might give some of the comics a look, but my re-alienation from the franchise should be complete by that point.

It's amazing, given how many takes on Wonder Woman have been in the comics, that some people still think there's one right interpretation & likeness for cinematic takes.



May 2017



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