Marc Alan Fishman: A WONDERful Problem To Debate
Don’t you love when a spoiler leaks to we, the misbegotten nerds, and suddenly the Internet is on fire? I sure do. And nothing has gotten our ragespew a flowin’ in recent memory like the potential spoiler (ahem… alert.) that Wonder Woman would be a descendant of the Kryptonian colonists of yesteryear in the Man of Steel movieverse. Funny enough, it didn’t phase me in the least. Whereas some of my close personal friends let loose a brilliantly recorded tirade railing against the very notion of it, I simply concluded that it made sense to me. Rao be damned!
So, Internet, why all the anger? Well, the knee-jerk reaction is to simply say the pitch is not in line with the true origins of the character in the source material. It’d be rude of me to then say completely straight-faced “Oh my gawd, you’re absolutely right! In fact, I concur that the only way to enjoy a character’s portrayal in a different medium is to ensure that his or her origin matches perfectly detail-for-detail their previously published debut!” Then you’d roll your eyes, and call me an ass.
Well, go on, call me an ass. Because you know what? I give a flying invisible jet’s patootie if Wonder Woman descends from ancient Kryptonians. Or that Superman killed Zod. Or that Batman will not be Bruce Wayne, but Dick Grayson.
Ha! Got you there for a sec, didn’t I? The simple fact is as a fan of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, what I care most about isn’t their backstory but how they are portrayed in the present of the film.
I understand the fear and outrage. We proud geeks – covetous keepers of our continuity – despise the idea that movies or TV shows depicting our wares must be muted, diluted, or otherwise repackaged to appease the lowest common denominator. But when it’s done with conviction, quality, and common sense, we tend not to get our underwear so wedged up our own asses.
Remember how much we all loved Tim Burton’s Batman? OK, remember how many of us loved it? Well, I don’t recall the masses going insane-in-the-bat-brain over the revelation that the Joker was one Jack Napier. And while I recall plenty of nit-picky problems over Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, nary a word of anger seemed to spewed over the organic webshooter after the film came out. Same could be said of the blackcasting of Michael Clark Duncan as the Kingpin, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, or Idris Elba as Heimdall. Funny how that is, isn’t it?
And where is the utter outrage at the animated DCU? Or Marvel’s Hulk Agents of S.M.A.S.H? And what are we going to do with all the yutzes who like Arrow?! I mean, last time I checked, Oliver Queen had a god-damned goatee. Interesting enough, all I hear is good things about the show. Even the notion that a Flash spin-off might occur has seemingly traveled the Interwebs without igniting civil war. And this week when someone dropped that Donal Logue might play Harvey Bullock in a pilot revolving around a police procedural Gotham show? Somehow, we all woke up the next morning perhaps uttering that scariest of phrases… “I’ll see it when it comes out, and make up my mind then.”
And therein lies my point. It’s not a factor of fear that Warner Brothers chooses to reimagine Batman in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, or change gears with Superman twice within a 10 year period. It’s all a matter of business. The same could be said with Disney/Marvel. Consider cold and calculated business that allows characters like Gravitron and Blizzard to be reimagined on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to better suit the long-terms plans of their movies and television series. As I’ve come to find here in my waning youth, the all-mighty dollar drives all that we love in the world of content creation. While true passion for characters and story may drive we the few and proud creators… without the financial backing of crazy-mad corporations, what we build may exist only on our hard drives, our sketchbooks, and our minds.
If Wonder Woman in the polarizing Man of Steel DC movieverse ends up with a strain of Krypton flowing in her meaty non-clay veins… so be it. I’ll care far more that she is portrayed as regal, strong, and self-assured. If Themyscira’s statues tribute Rao over Zeus, big whoop-dee-doo. So long as it’s filled with overly tall, buxom, man-hating women (you know, who are all like… empowered and crap) then my prayers shall be answered. Or better yet? If the character, her background, and her portrayal all lend to the forward momentum of actually realizing a cross-picture universe for DC… then we’ll soon be living in a golden age. With powerful franchises from both the big two comic book publishers in place, those evil unwashed masses who dilute our precious universes may end up loving the same characters we love.
And when they do? They might just take that bold leap to a comic shop to see what they’ve been missing all along.
SUNDAY: John Ostrander
MONDAY: Mindy Newell
TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger