Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wonder Woman...street-fighter?!

Karen: OK, I bet you've all seen it, but here it is, in all its glory, the new Jim Lee-designed Wonder Woman outfit:
Karen: I don't know if I can adequately express just how much I don't like this outfit. What in the heck are they thinking? The outfit, and the direction outlined by JMS, sounds terrible to me. Wonder Woman (in my opinion) should be DC's Thor: a link to the tales and heroes of mythology, and a figure of grandeur. I'm not feeling that from this look. Now I know that WW sales have been poor -in fact, have been for most of her existence. But her costume was never the reason!

Doug: DC's Thor? What, you mean like George Perez was doing back in the post-Crisis reboot? Exactly right, and those were some mighty fine tales. Not only did he update her look and really improve the overall quality of the book, but he made it fun -- just as you said, a link to the immortal corners of the DCU. Although the book began to fade near the end of his run, I don't feel that's as much his fault as it was DC's in not finding comparable creators to step in and provide a smooth transition between creative teams.

Doug: I will fall in line with much of the rest of fandom and echo your sentiments about the costume. While I don't care for it and some of the story elements, I do understand from a marketing standpoint why this is being done. And, too, like many critics and bloggers have also suggested, this will all be undone in two years tops. In fact, I'll wager that while Diana is wearing this costume, we see some high-quality reprints of previous material -- Perez is probably due for the new DC Library hardcover treatment. After all, the tpbs of his WW material were out several years ago, and really that translates to a generation of comics fans. The suit we all know and love will live on, but just in places other than the main title.

Doug: When you think about the iconic characters, none are spared the occasional fashion reboot. Think about it: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman, Aquaman, Robin, and J'onn J'onzz have all been retooled occasionally -- but they always come back to the classic. At Marvel, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the FF, Dr. Strange, Namor, Daredevil, the Scarlet Witch... same story. In the end, it's all about attention-grabbing, and in these mass-media times, it's about hooking the non-comics fan (or latent comics fan) to get them into the shops or other comic outlets.

Doug: On a personal note, I'm just tickled that Don Kramer and Mike Babinski have been chosen to illustrate these now-high profile adventures. I've documented it here and elsewhere that Don and I worked together through high school and college (Redwood Inn, Kankakee, IL, baby!), and I had Mike as a student very early in my teaching career. Don paid his dues for a long time, dreaming since childhood to be in the business. After college, he sweated it out while working for his dad's trucking company, doing small press stuff and showing his portfolio to industry bigwigs (and some small wigs, too!) at every turn. Of course, his big break came when he landed a Startling Stories Starring the Thing for Marvel, and a Dr. Fate mini at DC shortly after. Since then, he's done JSA, Detective/Batman, some other DC minis, and now Wonder Woman. DC is certainly not afraid to put him out there.

Doug: So, while I am not in love with this particular outfit, and agree that sometimes telling a good story should be enough without busting out the dog-and-pony show every five years, I know that soon order will be restored in my comic-icon universe. We're just victims (constantly) of the big marketing machine.

NOTE: Read an outstanding retrospective of Wonder Woman's different looks throughout her history by clicking here.


joe bloke said...

one of the commentors on my own site suggested that this might possibly be a taster of the costume for the Wonder Woman film they keep threatening to release. lord, I hope not. I realise that the arc in question is an alternative reality Wonder Woman tale, and that this costume'll probably only be around for a year, two max, but that doesn't in any way detract from my overall dislike of it. it sucks. chunks. THAT AIN'T WONDER WOMAN!

ChrisPV said...

The only positive thing I can really say about this outfit is that it is nice to not have the spectre of a thong hovering about her (blame Deodato on that one). That said, the rest is just meh. I have a hard time getting really worked up about it given the obvious temporary nature of it all. But still, it's not iconic in the least. She's not a superheroine, she's just a woman in a red tank top. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?

Incidentally, if they do want to do a movie at some point, there's already a great costume design out there. Smallville used it awhile ago as a sort of easter egg/tease to the fans. Take a look.

Just add a Double W to the bodice and bam. You're good. And if Xena was able to kick butt and take names for years in a skirt like that and nobody ever questioned her ability to run you through, I'm pretty sure a woman who can throw buses around will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

They've taken all references to America out of her more stars and stripes. That's what bothers me the most about it. The costume is not the problem with WW, never has been.


ChrisPV said...

I actually can understand the hesitance to having too much American symbolism in her outfit. Back during WWII, when she was fighting Nazis, it made sense. Now that her activities are not inextricably tied into the USA? Not so much. This still feels like change for change's sake, though.

Doug said...

Methinks that, at the conclusion of Karen's look at Marvelous Ads of the 1970's, that we should look at difference in marketing strategies between the Bronze Age and the quagmire that is modern comics.

Any interest? Would you comment on such a post?


ChrisPV said...

I think it'd be interesting in that, by and large, there really isn't any advertising for comics anymore. It's all previews sent out to comics websites and images posted in Wizard. In short, preaching to the choir. I'd like to hear your thoughts on that for sure!

The Cryptic Critic/Herb Trimpe's Hulk said...

I know it's heresy to say it but, the early 1990s jacket aside, I actually like the new costume. Admittedly, that might be down to the fact that I've never liked Wonder Woman's "real" costume. All those stars. I can't be doing with all those stars...

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