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The Wonder Woman Rant – Monthly Musings

Wonder Woman is too much of a fan-boy's wet dream. Until DC and other writers make her a believable woman, most projects will continue to fail. Do you agree? Sound off!

Make the costume realistic. OK. We’ve been here before and Michael revisited it last month; so, I don’t need to re-visit it again …. but I will. Wonder Woman’s costume doesn’t fit the personality of an uber-strong Amazon kicking male ass. Also, it isn’t even the costume suitable for an uber-weak person committing non-strenuous labor. Look at the costumes of female athletes out there like gymnasts, dancers, tennis players, or ice skaters. NONE of them rock the strapless top. I used to dance and the biggest part of the costume was the bra, WITH straps. If you’re doing backbends or shimmies you definitely need support. I remember my former ballet  teacher complaining about dancing in Swan Lake with a strapless costume which FELL DOWN. And, studies have revealed strenuous exercise without sports bra support can cause the breast tissue to sag. Yea, that’s right, guys. Imagine Wonder Woman with droopy breasts. Not attractive, is it?

Plus, what self-respecting Amazon (don’t say Xena) would rock a bathing suit, heels, and a red manicure to a battle? DC tried pretending the bathing suit was a  traditional “war'”costume but later developed an actual Greek-inspired war costume. Once Wonder Woman claimed the US patterned its flag on her outfit; although I vaguely remember the Cheetah on the Prowl narrator stating that Wonder Woman’s mother based the costume on Steve Trevor’s country.  Sometimes, I wish they’d let Wonder Woman acknowledge the elephant in the room: “Dudes, I wear it ‘cus I’m hot.” All the same, I have no idea how Lynda Carter pulled off the costume. Considering Adrienne Palicki, a professionally pretty actress, didn’t look good in ANY variation of it … there’s something wrong.

Remove the cheesecake factor. OK. This is basically the previous point, but after age 13 Wonder Woman ceases to serve as a role model for young women. Who feels comfortable looking up to a woman wearing hooker heels, whore makeup and a bathing suit? Women want to be Wonder Woman, while men want to be with her. Even Lynda Carter complained about people commenting on her body while wearing the costume. If writers write her as pure eye candy, that takes away from her realism. Luckily, re-vamping Wonder Woman’s costume helps.

Give Wonder Woman a tangible back-story. Yeah yeah yeah, she’s an amazon made of clay, blah blah blah, but writers keep retconning other pieces of her background. Her job always changes. She doesn’t have any friends outside the JLA. DC ret-conned the Holliday girls away. She doesn’t even have a hometown. Almost every single DC hero has a hometown with a personality and individual characters; but, Wonder Woman doesn’t. Paradise Island aka Themyscira is awesome, but paradise doesn’t really have too much drama.  So, how do you write for a character who doesn’t HAVE friends, a relatable childhood or any angst …. at all? David E. Kelly tried, but the friends he wrote for her unabashedly adored and supported her while her most angst-heavy moments surrounded her ex-boyfriend.

Give her better villains. Batman is scarily obsessed with ALL of his villains and Lex Luthor exists to mock Superman’s Boy Scout tendencies. But, Wonder Woman doesn’t have a crazy interdependent relationship with her villains. Wouldn’t she identify with uber-strong women given a bum deal in life? Why aren’t more of her female villain relationships more conflicted? Although David E. Kelly used Veronica Cale, I wasn’t familiar with the character, but she seemed pretty one-note. According to Wikipedia, she basically dislikes Wonder Woman’s perfection. That’s a cat-fight, not an antagonistic relationship of epic proportions.

In short, Wonder Woman needs to get a life. When you consider Batman and Superman’s back-story incorporating homes, jobs, and friends, Wonder Woman’s origins come up short. As a superhero, she’s well-defined. She’s brave, strong, fiercely determined, compassionate, loyal, peace-loving and wise. But, as Diana Prince, she’s a blank slate. No wonder David E. Kelly had problems writing her. Most comic film/TV writers have a canon to pull from; but, Kelly took on a heroine that everyone knows, but no one really knows anything about. Essentially, he created her from scratch.

The reason the DC cartoons do a great job writing Wonder Woman is because we never see her alter ego. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong; but, as a kid, I vaguely remember the 1970s Wonder Woman book-ending the show with Diana Prince at work, while the show’s core part involved her Wonder Woman investigations. Maybe the show worked because it didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it used the parts that worked and ignored the rest.

So, DC, WB, and anyone else, now you know what to do to write a decent Wonder Woman TV show or film. And, if you need a female writer, considering only 15% exist nowadays (down from 35%), you know where to reach me.

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Photo Credit: DC Comics

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14 Responses to “The Wonder Woman Rant – Monthly Musings”

September 13, 2011 at 8:58 PM

“Make her body more realistic”

See, this is where your argument breaks down (every time we have it, which is seemingly monthly at this point :P)

Comics aren’t supposed to be realistic (Well, at least these aren’t). Why can Keaton play Batman? Because a freaking body suit comes with the cowl. Heroes with superpowers can do what they do not because of muscle, but because of superpowers.

And while there isn’t enough strong female characters on TV right now, implying that Joss is the only one that can write them is insulting to a couple of people (Chicago Code, In Plain Sight, and several others are lining up outside the door to have a word with you). I get that it is a problem that needs to be fixed, but let’s not ignore those who are not a part of the problem now.

And I ask you, what self respecting male superhero would rock underwear on the outside of tights to a battle? Oh, wait, that’s right IT’S COMIC BOOKS!

Love you (mean it!)

September 13, 2011 at 9:03 PM

. . . . .

Oh … and An … ???

I swear: Ivey and I were NOT sitting in the same room writing our comments and submitting them at the same time … contrary to what the time counters on both our comments would leave you to believe.

Now … uh-hrrmmmm … I need to get back to that pillow fight … with someone … other than Ivey …

September 13, 2011 at 9:46 PM

* Sigh * Saying my argument breaks down, doesn’t make it so. Note: The point is – with male superhero costumes, even schlubby male actors can play heroes with bulging biceps. But, the way female costumes are geared, women can’t get away with that. But, wait, I shouldn’t have to say this _again_ considering I’ve typed it above and in other places. Typical male, reading without comprehending ;) …

Also, regarding In Plain Sight, it’s clear you haven’t read any of my recent posts on the matter :)

September 13, 2011 at 9:59 PM

But Spiderman didn’t need bulging muscles to be Spiderman. And the Flash doesn’t have gargantuan calves or whatever.

I guess then, I don’t understand your point about schulby guys. I mean, because Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill are walking talking bowls of lard.

I note that you ignored my other points :P

September 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Once again, that’s my point. The male superhero body types vary, but they’re all vaguely realistic and can be played by real men or approximated via suits by real men.

But, all superheroines are Barbie meets Dolly Parton cut-outs where even the most attractive actress can’t approximate the body type or look vaguely attractive/comfortable in the outfits (compare the X-men heroines to their filmic counterparts, re-review the ‘make her body more realistic’ and the ‘costume’ section ;).

Dude, I answered all of your points. However, applause is always appreciated ;)

September 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Oh, and An?

I applaud as well :)

September 13, 2011 at 8:58 PM

. . . . .

*claps heartily*

I took time out of my busy schedule [Ruby gave me homework about BR (bounce rate) and WMO (wardrobe malfunction occurrences) I’ve been concentrating on — see the second link in Make the costume realistic above], but I had to take time to see if anything new was on the horizon … especially where you’re concerned, An.

And by the by: If you need a good word for The Powers That Be regarding a WW writing gig, I’m in your corner and willing to help where I can. You’d rock that gig 9 ways to Sunday.

(We’ll deal with “realistic” talk and the “straps” issue at a later date.)

September 13, 2011 at 9:54 PM

* Nods head * Thanks for the compliment, sir.

Nothing new on the horizon. Now that I’ve finally got Wonder Woman off my chest … so to speak, I’ll try to glance over some extra material that your other half forwarded on.

P.S. Regarding the Waldorf to your Statler, sometimes I suspect you guys were separated at birth :)

September 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I would like to point out that the aforementioned homework is past due.

(Mr. Strickland voice) You’ve got a real attitude problem, McFly Noble! You’re a slacker! You remind me of your father when he went here. He was a slacker, too.

September 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM

BTW, I revisited Michael’s article with photos of the strapped and strapless WWs at ComicCon. All of these outfits are based on the old-school WW costume, and none of these women look the slightest bit intimidating or kickass.

The traditional costume is lame and makes any real-life WW look like a circus performer or showgirl. May as well stick a plume of big colorful feathers on her ass.

WW needs a costume redesign that makes her look like a warrior. Something intimidating but also functional and indicative of her Amazonian heritage.

September 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM

. . . . .

Ruby?

I think you’re just jealous. You’re not going to convince me a costume change is in order. You know my arguments. The costumed women? I agree … they couldn’t kick ass let alone fine one they could kick. But! Remember: Most of them are simply fangirls. And come on … the little girl in that one picture is the epitome of cute!

And … regarding my homework: I’m not a slacker. I’m just being real, real, real diligent.

Get off me.

Love, Michael

September 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The little girl is the most kickass of the lot. :)

I have no idea what you think I’m jealous of… the fact that you went to ComicCon? (Yes) But anyhoo, I’m not attempting to change your opinion. Just pointing out the reasoning behind my own opinion, which is that the old-school costume does not work in live action because it does nothing to make the woman wearing it look believably strong or intimidating or serious. This is my opinion as someone who was never a WW fan as a kid because the character looked cheesy to me, but who would give a WW live-action movie or TV show a chance if it shed the cheese-factor.

September 15, 2011 at 11:10 AM

. . . . .

RE: “I think you’re just jealous.”

My “super power sarcasm” was definitely off yesterday, Ruby. Ivey point this out to me several times Wednesday … with help from Bobba-Looga.

But … the “Love, Michael” sentiment was heartfelt and didn’t require any super power … for the record.

September 13, 2011 at 9:48 PM

I think the “males can’t write for females” is completely true, just look at the 17 seasons of Stargate. That is a huge problem that they need to get around. Any writer can come up with any decent backstory, but she needs to be written as a human and not some 2D posterboard.