D.C.'s Abasement of Wonder Woman
Messing With Icons
For those who remember, Lynda Carter was graced with a fine pair of legs. She wore the original Wonder Woman costume to great effect. The fairly recent alteration of Wonder Woman's costume is a curious thing. The transition seems to go beyond a matter of conservatism, however. From where I stand there is a subtle/strange effort occurring in the comics and in movie adaptations of comics to tone down the American flag reflected in certain costumes, such as Wonder Woman's.
In D.C. Comic's latest permutation, the stars on Wonder Woman's blue briefs have disappeared. In fact the briefs have disappeared entirely for a pair of spandex leggings.
In Marvel's film version of Captain America, his stars and stripes are muted to the point of unrecognizability. Being American and anything connected with it is apparently highly unpopular outside our own country. You see, we are all supposed to be ashamed of the stars and stripes -- I suppose because of our misguided involvement in Iraq. What else?
Marketing experts understand this; therefore, our comic book characters must camouflage or dispense with the stars and stripes entirely -- in order for our products to be semi-marketable in other countries -- even Western countries. I strongly disagree with this trend, but the marketeers are just trying to increase or maintain sales.
If it were up to me, I'd emphasize the stars and stripes on the characters who carry these flag-like symbols. Perhaps America has screwed up its foreign policies and practices, but hanging our heads low and de-emphasising the fictional representatives of America is a gut-wrenching form of cowardice.
Yeah, you can get spit upon if you go to certain areas of Europe, but Europe never created these fantastic creations who stirred the imagination by kicking butt during WWII. And there was a reason for this. Americans have the greatest sense of humor on earth. We are easy-going and possess the rare ability to laugh at ourselves. The only other country that comes even close is Russia -- which most people would not believe. During the communist era it was pretty hard to do anything that seemed "trivial" such as writing and drawing comic books, but within their published writings and word-of-mouth anecdotes you will find an amazing amount of humor -- very much of it highly sarcastic.
But, in any event, masking the brilliant (and perhaps corny) symbolism of our comic characters is revolting. These characters are not fashion models and shouldn't have to change their attire -- neither at the whim of some new writing/artist team nor because America itself is going through tough times. Somehow, by altering or shading our star-spangled banner characters, we acquiesce to a sense of shame. I beseech Marvel and DC to NOT submit to this climate of shame -- even if it costs you revenue.
The worst thing that our publishing industry can do -- and comic books are a part of it -- is to kowtow to scorn. We expect perfection from ourselves, from our leaders, from our endeavors, but when we fail, we have to lift ourselves out of the mud and proceed with a positive and proud spirit -- because what is the alternative -- to debase ourselves, our symbols -- flog ourselves in public as an offering of forgiveness to world opinion? The aura of greatness comes from within -- from within each of us. More than ever this is a time to look to our lasting models of Americanism for the strength to keep our heads held high. America-bashing is self-defeating and myopic. Put the stars back on Wonder Woman's briefs. She is our heroine -- not some trendy Vogue model. Put the strap-around the sandals/along with the unlikely high heels. She is a derivative of Greek mythology -- the Amazons would never have considered wearing boots or spandex pants. The high heels -- well -- the character was intended for young men. Despite the current trend, it's okay to still be proud of this country and to continue to love our fictional inventions just as they were invented.