Mindy Newell: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Mythic Complications
So my fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman doesn’t have a problem with the idea of Wonder Woman being a descendant of Kryptonian colonists in the next installment of the Superman cinematic universe. Yes, I know that this may be just one of those wild Internet rumors, but I gotta tell ya, ever since The National Enquirer broke the story of Al Gore, Rielle Hunter and their love child, I don’t easily dismiss stories that are far off the media mainstream path. And besides, Warner Bros. has, to quote another ComicMix correspondent (Vinnie Bartilucci) “gone on record how ‘complicated’ a story Wonder Woman has.”
Wonder Woman’s origin is based on the myths of the Hellenic culture, the same culture that gave The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two Homeric mythic sagas that are considered epics of the imagination and central to modern Western literature. Not to mention that during the Hellenic period Athens was the center of philosophy, or that the Library of Alexandra is believed to have contained over 700,000 volumes before it was burned by Julius Caesar’s troops, or that the Isle of Rhodes harbored universities that taught politics and diplomacy. Not to mention brilliant thinkers whose names escape me – oh, now I remember: Plato and Socrates and Pythagoras and Socrates and Aristotle and Euclides.
The Percy Jackson series is based on the Hellenic myths. The BBC is currently airing Atlantis, based on the Hellenic myths. Battlestar: Galactica (both series), Xena: Warrior Princess, the video game God of War – all based on Hellenic mythology. I even read that Moulin Rouge!, which starred Nicole Kidman and Ewan Macgregor, was based on the Orpheus myth. You know, the story about that guy with the lute who attempted to rescue his beloved wife Eurydice from Hades.
I think that when Warner Bros. uses the word “complicated” in describing Wonder Woman’s story they are really saying that they believe the American audience is ignorant and dumb.
I think they are looking in the mirror.
• • • • •
While I’m on the subject of the Amazon Princess, many of my sister writers who are involved in comics either as authors or critics are dismayed that Wonder Woman has been relegated to “Superman’s Girlfriend”; hell, I ain’t so that happy about it. But I’ve recently fulfilled one ambition for 2014 and have read the four issues of Superman / Wonder Woman that are available on www.Comixology.com – in fact, I subscribed to the ‘zine. In all honesty, I don’t think it’s badly written at all; I especially like the relationship between Diana and Hessia.
I do have two major complaints, though. The first (and most important, since this is a book that is about the relationship of two people) is that so far the heart-to-heart conversations are not taking place between the two lovers, who seem to be struggling to get past their (understandable) physical desire for each other in establishing a real relationship. The honesty and heart-to-hearts are not between Kal-El/Clark and Diana, but between two other couples: Diana and Hessia, and Superman and Batman.
My second complaint is that, for right now at least (after all, the series is only four chapters in), the book seems to be a Justice League of America / The Brave and The Bold hybrid. It seems more like a team-up book than one exploring the dynamics of the relationship between these two great DC icons, with all the “guest appearances” of other heroes.
What I’d like to see writer Charles Soule do is “borrow” from Marvel’s great superhero romances – Jean Grey and Scott Summers, especially. I hope he has the “writer’s balls” to do this. If he does, he’ll be on track to writing a really great comic, imho, of course. But if the book’s pairing becomes simply a veneer of a relationship, it will just disappear into the great void that has swallowed too many comics with great promise, but which ended in boredom and cancellation.
TUESDAY MORNING: Jen Krueger
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold
“I think that when Warner Bros. uses the word “complicated” in describing Wonder Woman’s story they are really saying that they believe the American audience is ignorant and dumb.”
I saw a interview with John Legend last week in which he was asked about performing at the Grammys. He said that because Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would be performing also, his was going to be a “sisyphean task”. And then he told the interviewer to put up the definition of sisyphean on the screen for all the Americans who wouldn’t know what that was. And they did! It seemed a little self-serving for Legend to say that. I think Legend, like Warner Brothers, is under estimating the American public.
And Mindy, that was John Edwards, not Al Gore, with Rielle Hunter.
@ George: Oops!
Warner’s definition of “complicated” is clearly pointing to something other than the story itself. It’s been told in one TV show, one animated feature, and countless times in the comic.
“An Amazon princess embarks on a quest to Man’s World to learn about the modern age, what it has created, and protect it with her strength, grace and wisdom. Mostly by hitting things”
That story has remain largely unchanged for seven decades.
What’s “Complicated” in Warners’ eyes if making a movie about a dumb ol’ girl palatable to a male audience. They have bonded themselves to the percieved truism that female leads don’t sell movies, and so they must find a way to “improve” (read: “change to the point that nigh anything is left”) the character and the story so men will be willing to spend money on it.
@ Vinnie: Absolutely positively! :-)