Friday, October 14, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

Lest you think I'm nothing but angry at DC right now, I've coem to comment on good news. The truth of the matter is, I enjoyed almost (not Voodoo) all the books I bought from DC this month. (I did not even bother with Suicide Squad, Red Hood, or Catwoman.) In general, I think the relaunch/reboot was a success and I'm going back for second issues on everything. (Except Voodoo.) So I am optimistic about some things, and good news keeps coming. Ann Nocenti might get me to pick up Green Arrow. Azzarello has apparently hinted that Steve Trevor will be back. And of course, there's this:

Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman series could debut in 2012.

Now, you all know I'm a Morrison fan and a Wonder Woman fan who will give any writer a shot at her, but I'm actually especially excited for one reason.
Wonder Woman needs sex definitely because, you know, again as I said in the book [Supergods], they kind of transformed her into a cross between the Virgin Mary and Mary Tyler Moore,” he said. “This Girl Scout who had no sexuality at all and the character’s never quite worked since then. In the way that Superman’s supposed to stand for men but at least he’s allowed to have some kind of element of sexuality, Wonder Woman is expected to stand for women without any element of sexuality, and that seems wrong.

And this is the part where the fans are freaking out, especially after Voodoo and Red Hood and Catwoman. But here's the thing, Morrison is not Marz, Lobdell, or Winick. Morrison has actually addressed female sexuality in a thoughtful way back in Seven Soldiers. In fact, in that series he managed to delve deeply into the personalities and growth of varied and distinctive female characters, creating complex stories about women at different times in their lives that varied widely in tone and theme. If you have doubts that Morrison can handle sexuality with respect and complexity, check out Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer, Seven Soldiers: Zatanna and Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight.

This is not Judd Winick's sexy, sexy Catwoman.

The other thing is... he's absolutely fucking right. They are so terrified to delve into sexuality with Wonder Woman that they wrote out her love interest in the 80s reboot.. They insist she's a virgin at conventions.

Cheryl Lynn has said in the past that Marvel has no equivalent to Wonder Woman because there's not character that fanboys would freak out about if it was established they'd had sex in the past.

And for real, if you went ahead and had Diana casually mention that since arriving on Man's World and meeting men for the first time she experimented with sleeping with some of them, fandom would melt down.

If you established that back on Paradise Island there were female characters that were age appropriate and not foster mothers to Diana, and she sleep with them OR that since arrive in Man's World and meeting all these new women Diana had gone all the way with a couple... fandom would melt down.

If you established that Wonder Woman had had sex, the Internet would break in half.

And no, Kingdom Come and other Elseworlds don't count because they are AUs where she fucking married Superman or was enslaved by crazy Victorian misogynistics, and it's pretty much always in the bounds of marriage in those anyway.

And that is why no love interest has lasted since Steve left. Not because he's inherently better than the replacements (even though he is), but because writers are so fucking scared to address the sexuality of a truly liberated woman... because editors are so afraid that she'll be degraded by not being the purest woman possible.. because our society prizes chastity so fucking much that they are reluctant to even hint or explore the POSSIBILITY that she might someday have sex with someone.

And this is a character who was sexual when she was first introduced. A character inextricably associated in all incarnations with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Sexuality and Love. As long as this aspect of her personality is ignored? She will NEVER have the appeal she originally had, she will ALWAYS be a shell of her former self.

And he's right earlier. Batman can be sexual. Superman can be a symbol of sexual power. But Wonder Woman? Wonder Woman can't be sexually powerful. A strong dominant woman must be a virgin, married to a more powerful man, or subjugated in order to be acceptable.

Someone has to go there. Someone has to address her sexual nature from a position of agency and not objectification. It's how she was originally written. And here we have a writer who actuallly has the ability to do so. I acknowledge that it could suck, but I am beyond cautiously optimistic here. I want to read this and I think it could be just what the character needs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coming Soon: Daddy Issues

I read Wonder Woman #1 and thought it was a lovely dark take on the character, and Brian Azzarello's gods have such incredibly potential. Apollo has never been so interesting in this franchise, Hera is foreboding, Zeus sounds clever, and Hermes is... well, poor Hermes gets beat up a lot in this franchise, doesn't he?

Either way, it showed a lot of promise and I was looking forward to the next installment.

Until I saw (Caution: Spoiler in the article TITLE, and from this point on in the post) this.

Bastards can't let me be happy.

Okay, two things:

1) Wonder Woman had a dad in the Silver Age. It was an unnamed Prince Hippolyta had been married to. He's referenced like, twice, and mostly for Hippolyta's angst.

2) This is a terrible idea.

Even if Azzarello does it brilliant, in the end it is a terrible idea.

Not as terrible an idea as Hercules, mind you (this was the rumor for the Crisis reboot), unless they decide Zeus also raped Hippolyta. But on the whole, it is probably a mucg worse idea than Hades as her dad in that damned animated movie. And a considerably worse idea than Hermes, a character who could technically be argued to be her father from the Perez reboot.

Really, any of them suck. I'll give you, Azzarello's a good writer and can pull this off, but it opens a couple nasty doors. It leaves Diana's story open to being able Daddy issues, thus letting a male character become the central focus of Wonder Woman for a while, and it sends a message that doesn't suit Wonder Woman.

And I don't mean the icky message that Diana a product of sexual assault, though that is a terrible message and I hope Azzarello does not go there. He was doing so well with a first issue that didn't have all the Amazons being raped.

It sends the message that Wonder Woman, the embodiment of female hope and strength did not get her strength from her mother or the cooperative all-female culture that produced her, or the goddesses. It came from her ultra-powerful male parent, the very god of the patriarchy himself.

And while there's ways of turning that on itself, making it symbolic of the Patriarchy creating it's own downfall... in the end, it's just too far from how she started, and the core of what Wonder Woman is.