What’s Wrong With Wonder Woman, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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10 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    I would go so far to say your next to last paragraph applies to all politicians – men and women.Frankly, I'm tired of the candidates ripping each other and dragging their opponents through the mud, all the while saying they've been friends for years (Biden and McCain), or Hillary saying Obama is the man for the presidency when, only a few months earlier, she was strongly against him.I sincerely wish the candidates would simply stand up, share the virtues of their own (and their running mate's) records and experiences, and request our votes – without ever mentioning their opponents. It would be refreshing (and considerably more honest) than the current method of campaigning. It would also speak better of their characters.My head's been spinning so much from the flying insults of recent weeks that I'm now doing what I've never thought to do before (Don't ask why. I guess I was just a lazy voter). I've been studying the individual records of Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin from reputable sources – no lies, just documented truth. What I'm learning is quite interesting and I'm spared the negativity of the campaign.

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    Dave – Amen to your post.Mike – Wasn't Marston 'asked' to create a male Superman? I also think DC suffered from an internal lack of enthusiasm. No one wanted to to a 'girly comic'. I got the feeling there was nothing in it for you career-wise to try sell Wonder Woman. From the sound of things it was partially due to having to share equity (of which there is none in a low selling character) with the Marston estate. Attitude comes frome the top down and up until recent efforts (which they scewed up, too) I feel she got a bad rap. So they 'suppliment' that by doing T and A covers. Not that they aren't GOOD T and A but T and A all the same.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Hard not to do a T & A cover on WW, given those T's and that A. Marston, one of the great American wackies, was on that DC/AA advisory panel: a bunch of titled humans whose presents indicated wholesomeness. The idea of one of America's leading bondage practitioners landing that gig is a bit amusing. But Marston worked for All-American Comics; I guess it's possible that Gaines or Meyer asked him to come up with a female Superman (which, I presume, is what you meant) and that's what the legend says, but given Marston's predilections and work habits, I'm more comfortable with the idea of him coming up with it on his own. Besides, his estate owns reversion rights.Then again, you know how these things go. Somebody says "I dunno, let's try a broad" (it was 1941; we don't talk like that anymore) or "Ahh, we could never sell a broad" and that turned the little light bulb on over Marston's head. But either way, Gaines and Meyer — who were quite liberal, compared to DC's conservative and even isolationist management — went whole hog for the character.There's one more theory, one more sinister. DC wanted a Wonder WOMAN as a quite public "eat me" gesture… but they didn't want to pay for the risk. That's because their ex-accountant, Victor Fox, saw the sales figures on Action #1 and promptly quit DC. As the story goes, by the close of that day he already had new offices for his new comic book publishing company, which promptly released a superhero named The Wonder Man. The character was so much like Superman that DC immediately sued and won.That's because Wonder Man's young creator testified that his work was done at the express orders of the publisher who said, in effect "go copy Superman." Interestingly, that creator had earlier rejected Superman (and The Spy) from Siegel and Shuster.That young creator/editor? Will Eisner.

  3. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    Amen and Kudos Mr. Gold. For being a member of the highly touted "BIG 3" of DC… well, she's really just placed in there for posterity at this point. To me, there was a glimmer of hope when she killed Maxwell Lord. It served the purpose of the story, and it developed her character as a 'do-er' whereas Batman and Superman are more or less 'reactors'. Despite the fact that Joker will kill, and kill, and kill again, it's never in Batman's nature to end him. Lex Luthor will overthrow governments, launch missles, and ruin lives from here to eternity, but it's not in Superman's nature to do more than break his robots, float above him, and humiliate him. At the crossroads of this similar situation, Wonder Woman took a stand; one different than she's had before. And in that moment, I wanted badly to be a fan of hers. But as with so many other things… they created a bloated crossover for her in the wake of Issue 219, and now, here we sit, years later, on yet another reboot, waiting for someone (the so-very-talented Ms. Simone) to redefine the heroine that's been lost as you noted, for years now. Personally, I think her heritage with the Olympian Gods is something that could be interested for her, but at a "superhero/villain" level, if you will. Bruce Timm's Justice League cartoon used the gods and goddesses during Wonder Woman centered episodes, and they were quite entertaining. Much like Aquaman, it's hard to have her be "human" in the eyes of the readers, and as such, the best may still be yet to come for her. Of course, if this book was ever in my lap, I have a whole hell of a lot ideas on how to bring her into the spotlight, but as with anything… patience is a virtue.Here's hoping the best is yet to come for what should be a pin in DC's lapel, instead of a pain in their preverbial ass.

  4. Rick Taylor says:

    FEmale version is right, sorry.Marston is one of the great American wackies.Today they'd say he was running a cult.A few years ago I was taking a seminar and we took one of those Myers-Briggs kinda tests. We were told that Marston helped develop. When the instructor asked what else Marston had been known for and I answered with he was involved with helping develop the lie detector and he was known for Wonder Woman.He didn't know he had a fanboy in the class.

  5. Glenn Hauman says:

    Wonder Woman has proven to be a seriously tough character to write well as a lead– witness the number of first class creators who have been unable to make the book popular.I actually think I have a solution to the character's problem, and I'd write it up if I thought there would be any interest in me doing it.

    • Mike Gold says:

      It's the approach, not the character or the talent. She's not a god. She's a superhero.

      • Marc Alan Fishman says:

        She is technically not a 'goddess', this we know. But her character's heritage is rooted in the Olympian pantheon to-a-point. But I agree, the approach of her character can't be in "god" mode, ala Marvel's Thor or Hercules. While I'm loving what JMS is doing over in Asgard, it wouldn't apply towards a better Wonder Woman. She needs a super-kick-in-the-pants. Much as Geoff Johns has done for other heroes, I think Wonder Woman's rogues gallery simply needs to be revisited in order to better define her as a superhero. Where (some) of Batman's gallery are mainly focused on their inner psychosis', Superman's rogues are generally over-powered thugs, and Flash's are an odd little Chicago-style-union of crooks… Wonder Woman's rogues are unique in that many of them are merely fixated not only on crime, but on HER.Cheetah has been redefined far too many times, but, she seems to be fixated on ruining Diana. This can be explored! Giganta, Dr. Psycho, Circe… all of them have stayed semi-relevant over the last few major crisis crossovers… No reason why they can't be utilized strictly to fuel a more superhero centric Wonder Woman. The secret agent style books for her just don't resonate with me. I mean, she is (supposed to be) on par with Superman in terms of strength and speed. She has easily the most recognizable costume amongst female superheros… with all this on her side, I agree with Mike. Redefine the approach of the book, and Wonder Woman can take her seat on top of the DC pile once again.

  6. Lon Levy says:

    I couldn't disagree with you more, Mike. Wonder Woman has been of interest to me during two periods. During the first, her "Emma Peel" phase, she was an adventurer but not a superhero. The second phase, George Perez's wonderful run in the 1980's, again directly challenges your contention. She was never a "god" but her mythological origins and her outsider status were emphasized and resulted in some absolutely *wonderful* tales. This is what makes her truly distinctive. Otherwise, there are plenty of super-heroines with much more personality.

    • Mike Gold says:

      The Emma Peel stuff is being reprinted right now. I sort of liked it at the time, but, again, it wasn't Wonder Woman. It was Diana Prince. That's interesting, but it's something other than Wonder Woman. If DC did a book called "Superman's Alter-Ego Clark Kent" it could have been interesting (sort of like their Big Town comic a decade earlier), but they'd still have done Superman.As for George's run… I loved it. Big fan. And he used the mythological underpinnings quite well. But even within that context, he still treated Wonder Woman as a superhero. And, sadly, few have been successful in his footsteps.I'm also quite fond of the New Frontier version. But it's easier to do something spectacular in a stand-alone self-contained universe mini-series.