Friday, September 29, 2006

Writing Wonder Woman.

This is a little late but back on the 18th of September Blog@Newsarama had a little story, Wonder Woman defeats another foe: Writers. One of the commenters (Devon at "Seven Hells") had an interesing suggestion;

"Ummm… Gail Simone should be writing Wonder Woman. Not because Wonder Woman should have a female writer but because no one out there is doing “two-fisted” better than her."

A good suggestion I think but I have to wonder at the, "Not because Wonder Woman should have a female writer," part. Maybe it should.

Over on Mortlake on the Schuylkill, Melchior has a post (September 12) about Marie Severin. It seems that in the early 70's she was the penciler fot 'The Cat', a book Marvel decided should have a mostly female creative team on so might appeal to women more. How radical and revolutionary! How common sense and practical!

Wonder Woman is a natural title for female fans. Even for those of us who haven't closely followed her comic books, she's been an icon. TV shows, sheet sets, Twinkie commercials and, in my case, a completely awesome WW bathing suit when I was 7 or 8, placed her squarely in our collective consciousness. She represented a side to being female that rarely gets explored...The warrior. She's special. Unfortunately, a lot of guys don't get that and depressing threads seem to follow when she's discussed. Example. Example.An art thread with some great pictures and some depressing 'Wonder Woman as lingerie model' pictures.

Anyhow. Lots of guys don't get her. Lots of girls feel she represents something important about us. Why not stick a female writer, heck, a whole creative team, on Wonder Woman to explore and appeal to her natural audience?


At 10:43 AM, Blogger Timothy said...

Hmm....While Heaven knows Tammy and I are both big Gail Simone fans (and in Tammy's case friend - or at least "friendly professional colleague"), this strikes me a bit like tokenism despite Devon's disclaimer.

And now that I'm muddling this, let me worsen the muddle by saying it's not b/c WW having a female writer wouldn't rock - but it looks like DC's piled Gail's plate really high already. If I understand what Gail told Tammy correctly, there are three women writing superhero comics regularly - and only a handful more outside female writers, like Tammy or Jodi Picoult, offered a crack at a superhero book on occasion. While there are more female editors and artists, few of them get to write a book as well.

I'd like to see The Big Two hire more women comic book writers in general and bring them along - though given the deeply entrenched "fanboy conservatism" in The Big Two, I have no idea how to accomplish this feat,

Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce
- and co-writer of Marvel's upcoming White Tiger comic

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Only three. Boy.

When I left off reading comics in the 90's there were 3 that I knew of, Louise Simonson, Ann Noncenti and gosh, one that formally wrote soaps but was working on a neat little marvel title about a group of teenagers (I'll have to dig that out).

And when you said more female artists, they seem to be the colourists and inkers but not the pencilers. At least, when I look for female superhero pencilers I have to go back to Marie Severin before I have a successful example.

I think what you and your wife are doing is a great step though. I get a little thrill when I hear of another women stepping into the industry...Gives me some hope for myself in the future.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Correction...Ann Nocenti.

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

>when I look for female superhero pencilers I have to go back to Marie Severin before I have a successful example.<

Dawn - Great Shades of Elvis! I would have sworn there were more women pencillers than that.... There are some female editors - but in a way that reinforces the stereotype, b/c editors do a lot of backstage work where the fanboys can't see them, and almost never get their names anywhere on the book (Fabian Nicieza's recap page shout-outs to his editor, Nicole Wiley Boose, aside).

Problem is, too many people working for The Big Two either see no need to change, or are terrified to change for fear of losing their (shrinking) core audience. It's not just superhero comics, either - SF is stuffed with aging p.o.'d white guys who crab in SF panels or SFWA blogs about how "kids today don't appreciate good classic SF, Dammit!" That is, when they're not rewriting CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS... In Spaaacccceeee! - or grabbing female writers and fans inappropriately. (sigh)

I can only hope that somebody figures out a way to monetize web comics, so that more diverse talents can have a shot at being published. Of course, that'll also mean every breast-obsessed fanboy with a copy of WHIZZER'S HOW TO DRAW YOUR JUVENILE SEX FANTASIES will think this is his shot, too - but I think opening up the competition will be a good thing in the end.

Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce - and co-author of Marvel's upcoming WHITE TIGER comic!

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

I CAN think of other fairly well known comic book pencilers, Trina Robbins, Colleen Doran, Amanda Conners and Wendy Pini (who should be considered one of the Greats I think) but I think I've only seen Collen Doran in a mainstream superhero book ( one issue of Excalibur V.1).

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

I CAN think of other fairly well known comic book pencilers

(nods) Sorry, I meant within superhero comics - which is what happens when you type replies after a frustrating evening not really writing the outline you promised to! There are a number of female independent comic artists and writers who are doing great work in all genres - except mainstream superhero comics, which is still largely a boy's club.

Tammy pointed out to me that the "three superhero women's writers" might have been a bit of hyperbole - but only a bit. It's nowhere close to parity with male writers in the field,

Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce - and co-author of Marvel's upcoming WHITE TIGER comic!

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Palladin said...

You are on to something. I have WW on my pull list. I loved the way they used her in the Infinite Crisis story Sacrifice. Her being forced to choose to kill to save a friend and the world was well done to this guy. The first two issues of teh OYL series has been well done, but it is not capitalizing on what they built up.

I also follow Simone's Birds of Prey. I think she proves a woman can write a book that draws in both genders. Someone I interviewed in a former life online was Fiona Avery. Her background would make for an interesting WW. Thing is that I have yet to see anything from her since she was to start the independent line of books. She also has ties to JMS that might mean Marvel as well.

What about the men? Fabian Nicieza is soon to be off Thunderbolts and I always thought he did a fair job with the female heroes he wrote.

Just does not seem right that DC claims her in their "Trinity" but is not really keeping her as competitive as Bats and Supes.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Another guy that seems to get women is Brian K. Vaughn. Any writer that continually touches on menstral cycles gets my love. :)

But I still think it might be a good thing to give women preference when it comes to writing Wonder Woman. She's such an icon...Even women with little interest in comic books often have her in their personal mythology.
I'm not quite sure what I'm trying to say but writers bring pieces of themselves to their projects, don't they? Gender is a huge piece of a person and to have a shared gender with your title character might be a great tool.


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