WONDER WOMAN …And why I love loving her

Tabetha’s a major Wonder Woman fan. Are you ready to learn all about what makes her so great? There are also Wonder Woman facts in here that are fascinating!


 

wonder womanBefore I word vomit all over this blog and fan girl out about my long time love of Wonder Woman I need to start with a brief history on how and why she was created. I’ll follow this all up by letting you know more about her in the comics and where to start if you would like to read some of the better Wonder Woman stories.

A brief history of Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman – created in 1940 by psychologist William Marston with his wife, Elizabeth. Marston, famous for inventing the polygraph, wanted to create a hero who would not triumph with fists or firepower, but with love, justice and truth. A strong woman, not only physically but in morals and her beliefs of fighting for what is right and just in the world.

Elizabeth was a huge inspiration for this character as she helped collaborate to develop this character into who she has become today. Marston wrote: “Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” He went on to say in a 1943 issue of The American Scholar

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

So, as you see, even from the original idea behind Wonder Woman, she was meant to empower and ignite passion in us to become more than what we are or seen as. A role model for young female readers.

About Wonder Woman Herself

Born on the Paradise Island of Themyscira (pronounced Them-mes-skera) to a race of Amazon Warriors, Princess Diana, daughter of Queen Hippolyta, was (in the more widely accepted origin stories) birthed out of clay. Granted divine powers by the Gods of Olympus, she was given super strength comparable to Superman as well as an array of mental and psychic abilities (depending on which comic incarnation) including ESP, astral projection, telepathy and mental control over the electricity in her body.

Princess Diana comes to America, donning the alias Diana Prince and becomes Wonder Woman. She has been described in past comic issues as being “[as] beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as swift as Hermes and as strong as Hercules”. Sounds like a pretty rounded superheroine to me!

From Marston’s invention of the polygraph came the idea of the magic Lasso of Truth. The only weapon wielded by Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of Themyscira, which she uses to extract confessions and compel obedience in whoever is captured in its grasp. Made from the girdle of Aphrodite, it is impossible to lie under the effect of this infinitely long and unbreakable rope.

Some other amazing items in Diana’s arsenal is her magic tiara which functions as a deadly boomerang (what woman wouldn’t want this item, I know I do!), her utility earrings that allow her to breathe in outer space and her unbreakable bracers that not only deflect bullets but if removed will send its owner into a berserker rage of anger.

Wonder Woman’s introduction into the Justice League of America comics started her out as the Leagues awkward “good woman” secretary of the 1940’s, but in the 70 years since, Wonder Woman has become an icon of the liberated woman.

Over all, Wonder Woman is a powerful force of feminism to be reckoned with. A woman who has fought dragons, dinosaurs, aliens, Nazi’s and has even bruised Superman himself. Regardless of how she has been drawn or written, one incarnation has become the basis of comparison for all that is Wondy, the TV series starring Linda Carter. Linda Carter has always been a big influence for me and why I got into reading the WW comics… but that’s a story for another blog.

Start Reading Wonder Woman!

There are SO MANY Wonder Woman comics (70 years’ worth) it would be impossible to just jump right in. So here are my top 5 places to start depending on when in her history you’re looking to start. Some of these may be out of print but there are digital copies to buy out there.

Wonder Woman Chronicles Book 1 – Back to the beginning. If you are looking to start back at Wondy’s very beginning from the 1940’s and on, this is the book to read. Plus she kicks a lot of Nazi ass!

Wonder Woman – Spirit of Truth – Here is a simple yet powerful modern story of Wonder Woman. It serves as a quick recap of Wonder Woman’s origin from Hippolyta’s perspective then gets right into the heart of who Diana/WW is and her relevance in the modern world. This story is particularly strong in how Diana struggles with whether or not she can truly affect how women are still treated in parts of our world.

JLA – A League of One – This one-shot is a standalone story and I pick it solely for character portrayal reasons. If you ever thought Wonder Woman was not comparable to the likes of Superman or Batman, this comic shows you how wrong you are. The story highlights Diana’s keen intellect and battle prowess and shows us what she is willing to face to save the people she loves. Plus, DRAGONS! Seriously, she fights an ancient dragon in this one.

Wonder Woman – The Hiketeia – This graphic novel is set in Gotham City and features the Dark Knight himself. This is a darker story but one of my favourites. Batman is in pursuit of a woman suspected of murdering her sister’s killers and she pleads for Wonder Woman’s oath of protection with the ritual called Hiketeia. This pins Bats and Wondy against each other climaxing at an epic roof top fight between the two heroes. It has some pretty compelling scenes between WW and Bats and is worth the read if you can find it.

Superman/Wonder Woman (The New 52) – If you’re looking to catch up before the movie then this is where to start. Gal Gadot is playing Wondy in the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie and I’m praying to the comic book gods that she does the part justice. We need a good WW movie and I hope this is the start of a beautiful big screen adaptation.

My one regret is not adding any of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman comics to the list but I will end this saying that if you enjoy any of these stories above than check out The Circle by Gail Simone as it also serves as a re-telling of her story. And if reading isn’t your thing check out Wonder Woman: The Animated Movie as it stays true to the original story while still making the characters fresh and interesting.

 

X-Men: Where do I Start?

Brianna asks:

So, I want to get more involved in comic books.

I know that is a BROAD blanket so let me help you out. I think I’d really like X-men, to start, but I’m really overwhelmed. You’d think from working in a comic shop for 2 years I’d know where to start, but I truly don’t.

So, if I were to get into X-men specifically, where would be a good place to start?


Answering this question is the great Shoshana Kessock! She’s a LARPer, game designer, writer and scholar. Learn more about her on her website!

wolverineGetting into a comic book after years and years is sometimes an overwhelming prospect- especially withs something as long-standing as X-Men! I have a few suggestions about how to get into the series, and you can try it whatever way feels best for you.

1) Start From The Beginning: Sounds terrifying? It’s not that bad. Marvel has collected the beginnings of a lot of their comics and X-Men is no different – you can find the first adventures of the X-Men in a graphic novel called X-Men Vol. 1. Now, that’s delving into some old (and sometimes dated) issues, but I would suggest with X-Men at least reading the very first one of these to get the idea of the X-Men’s first adventures. They’re still quite good and gets you in the mindset of what the X-Men are all about. If you are already familiar with their whole ‘Children of the Atom, fighting against a world that hates and fears them’ thing and want to skip over? Head down to…

2) Chris Claremont’s X-Men: When Chris Claremont came aboard the X-Men, he created and introduced a number of characters that are now considered staples of the X-Men world, like Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Storm. Their first storyline started in Giant Sized X-Men #1 from 1975 and can be a great place to get into some of the most iconic story lines of the X-Men. The upcoming movie Days of Future Past? That was a Claremont storyline from this time period. Giant Sized X-Men #1 is part of the graphic novel called Second Genesis and is a great place to start. From there, you can go on to…

3) The Greatest Graphic Novels: As I said, Claremont’s run started a period of amazing story lines in the X-Men universe, many of which are influences over the movies that are coming out right now and the awesome cartoon that went on in the 90’s as well. There is an extensive list here but the story lines I would say to read would be:

  • Days of Future Past
  • The Dark Phoenix Saga
  • From The Ashes
  • Asgardian Wars
  • Mutant Massacre
  • Fall of the Mutants
  • Inferno

These are the basic story lines that I consider the pre-90’s awesome story lines to be read. If you want to skip over all these, however? Check out the Wikipedia entries on these story lines and then skip right to-

4) The Awesome 90’s: X-Men hit a time period of fantastic stories in the 90’s. This was the time when there were so many cool X-Men characters that they actually split down to having two teams of X-Men and spawned the age of the millions of different X-Men books that started making things so complicated for us. This time period started with the relaunch of X-Men as a title with X-Men #1 by Jim Lee. Those stories are collected in X-Men Visionaries: Jim Lee and is worth the read. From this time period, the graphic novels to check out would be:

  • X-Men Visionaries: Jim Lee
  • Days of Future PResent
  • X-Tinction Agenda
  • Mutant Genesis
  • X-Cutioner’s Song
  • Fatal Attraction

There’s also story lines that come after this, like Onslaught and such, but this is where it becomes very hard to keep track of what’s going on with multiple books. X-Men split in this time period into Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, Excalibur and New Mutants, and there’s lots of great story lines in each. Lots of X-Men fans have favorite side books (I’m a fan of Excalibur myself) but going into the extensive side stories can be confusing.

In fact, even a list this long can be difficult. I’m even skipping over everything from the late 90’s into 2011, where there are years of great plots and writers.

But for a great, quick, and much easier entry point, I’d say there is a great place to get into X-Men that skips ALL of this if you’d like.

5) Just Skip To The Present Day: That’s right, I know that’s almost sacrilege to a lot of X-Men fans. However, the recent relaunch and streamlining of the X-titles have made them extremely accessible to entry right now. I point specifically to the titles Wolverine and the X-Men and All-New X-Men and the original title X-Men as three great titles to get in right now. They don’t have that many issues since their relaunch and each has a particularly strong story to their teams. Wolverine and the X-Men tells the story of the newly revamped mutant school with Wolverine as the headmaster, while All-New X-Men has the original five X-Men transported into the future (sounds wacky but it’s great reading), and X-Men being an exploration of an all-women team of X-Men under the direction of Storm. If you have the basics of some of the stories above to know more about the characters you’re interested in, you’ll be able to hop into these titles quickly. They might reference things that have happened in the past, but don’t be afraid to just Wikipedia or Google something if you don’t know what it is. (Like “When did Storm start wearing her hair in a mohawk?” or “Why is Wolverine headmaster? Where is Professor Xavier?”)

With the basics of those past graphic novels and a handy-dandy internet search as a glossary of ‘what are they talking about’ you can become X-Men savvy pretty quick.

Bonus: If you want to really get into some great X-Men stuff and learn more, check out the X-Men Cartoon from the 1990’s. That cartoon went out of it’s way to be as close to the comic books as possible in their story lines and made them super simple to digest. It was so popular that it introduced characters like Jubilee and Morph into the comic book world! It’s well written, though it has aged a little badly, but it’ll give you the short version of story arches like the rise of the Sentinals and the Dark Phoenix Saga.

Another Bonus: The X-Men are known for spawning multiple alternate realities. Why? Because they time travel and wibbly-wobbly timey-whimey, that’s why. They’re known for having story lines that are all about ‘what if’ and some of them are amazing, complex, and heart-breaking for our favorite mutants. I would suggest realities like Age of Apocalypse for reading, as well as House of M for a look at what the world would be like if the villain Apocalypse had taken over, or a world in which mutants ruled the world.