Wonder Woman has left an indelible mark on many of us. Whether we read her comics as kids, saw that infamous Ms. cover, or grew up watching Lynda Carter become Diana Prince on television, Wonder Woman's strength, independence, and optimism has made her a iconic superheroine for over 70 years. Now imagine being a Wonder Woman fan who gets to actually write her story. Amanda Deibert and Cat Staggs are two lucky comics fans.
Wonder Woman first hit the comics page over 70 years ago—but her story and personal history has changed dramatically with each new generation of artists, writers, and fans.
This show explores Wonder Woman's origins and impact over seven decades. The LA-based Homemade News crew talks about the strange story of her creator William Marston, then we analyze her Amazonian origin story with an excerpt of an article by Stevie St. John. Then, author and scholar Jennifer K. Stuller heads to San Diego ComiCon to talk with comics fans and publishers about what Wonder Woman means to them. Finally, we look to the future of Wonder Woman, as DC comics team Cat Staggs and Amanda Deibert talk about the new Wonder Woman comic book they're creating right now.
More ways to listen and individual show segments are below the cut.
Where will you not see much of Rogue this summer? In the new X-Men movie.
Every time I type “superheroine” into Microsoft Word, it’s underlined with a red squiggle to tell me that there’s no such term. “Superheroine” is as made-up a concept as “asdfjlad,” and the computer’s all-knowing dictionary adds insult to injury by asking whether I really mean to type “superhero.”
I was a feminist before I was a geek. Unfortunately, this summer's comic book blockbusters make it tricky to be both.
This is a dark summer for geek girls. Though superhero and comic book-based films are all the rage these days, it's male crime-fighters who get all the attention: there are no films starring female superheroes on the horizon.
I've asserted several times in this series that bars were, traditionally, male spaces. It wasn't until checking Christine Sismondo's phenomenal history America Walks Into a Bar out from my local library that I found out this was not just an informal taboo: in the decades after Prohibition, many bars explicitly banned women, or banned them from visiting during certain hours.
There were a few reasons for this, depending on the region and the bar: first, during World War II, as was the case in many other fields, women went into traditionally male occupations, including bartending (in some cases forming barmaids' unions). When men came back from the war, they formed their own, all-male unions to muscle female bartenders out. But bars did employ women during the postwar era – just not to pour drinks. Instead, "B-girls" employed by the bar would show up, pretending to be nurses or secretaries on their way home from work, and charm the male clientele into buying them drink after drink. After several drinks, the woman in question – usually called a "B-girl" – would disappear, leaving her companion with an artificially inflated bar tab: he'd be charged for cocktails even as the in-the-know bartenders had been pouring one glass of juice, soda pop or iced tea after another.
The ensuing moral panic (which focused on protecting the male victims, and didn't concern itself one way or another with the women involved in the work) had the result that many bars banned women from visiting, or just from visiting during certain hours. And, of course, there were the bars that had never opened their doors to women in the first place, or just refused to serve unaccompanied women.
To be fair, based on the above image alone, I did not fully appreciate the outrage. It appeared Wonder Woman's ass kicking capabilities did not seem diminished despite the lack of star spangled panties and glamorous accessories. However, when I saw this picture of the new costume, then the ire made a lot more sense. The new Wonder Woman looks like an extra on the 90s version of Melrose Place with her small hair and velvet choker.
One of the most exciting events of New York Comic Con this year was the world premiere of the new Wonder Woman animated film that will be available on DVD March 3, 2009. No, it's not the big screen action film that Wonder Woman deserves. A whole mess of people - including Joss Whedon - have tried to make that film over the past several years, and all have failed. But this Wonder Woman adaptation is an important milestone for the title, as it joins the ranks of Superman: Doomsday and Batman: Gotham Knight as the fourth installment of the highly successful line of direct-to-DVD movies created by DC and Warner Bros.