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D.C.'s Abasement of Wonder Woman

Updated on November 26, 2011

Star-Spangled Trunks

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.


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    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 19 months ago from Irvine

      I'd be interested to know why you do not think that American-based superhero films are not subdued to reduce the stars and stripes if it is not for a political/economic reason. I can understand modernizing superhero costumes (to a certain extent), but I disagree that Captain America's costume was "beautifully designed." America has become a kind of stink boat -- floating democracy (even though we live in a republic and not a democracy) and our various ill-conceived interventions abroad seems to be about nothing more than creating American hemogeny. Look at the various ways we spend ten times the amount used by the next ten countries combined on military invention and intervention. Is it any wonder that the US label has gone sour? I cannot help but believe that Hollywood, seeing this souring, has deliberately downplayed the costuming of its characters. Compare Gal Gadot's costume to that of Linda Carter. The day seems to be gone when we can dress our superheros in the american flag without losing lucrative bucks in foreign countries.

      I appreciate your comments and wonder what you think about this odd juxtaposition of old-time costuming versus the politics of the modern-day world ... and the opportunity for Hollywood to rake in greater bucks by downplaying the one-time patriotism of some iconic heros. Today it seems that unless you can get nations like China and Russia to dish out the bucks at a theater, your film is bound to fail. The studios spend so much in their productions that they literally depend on a foreign box office success. This is no easy task. Of you have characters parading around in the american flag, that's just not to cut it. America is reviled, but audiences like the high-production costs and action of seeing these american-born figures battle for justice. It's a weird phenomenon.

    • Lapse profile image

      Lapse 6 years ago from East Coast Rules

      I agree with the costume updating. When these comic characters were born in in the mid 20th century it was a simpler time and the whole genre was brand new so the pure idealized images were what the kids were drawn to. Those kids being the primary consumer didn't care as much about the details and realism of the crazy loud colored costumes. Now with far more mature audiences wanting realism injected into the stories a guy (even though he has superhuman abilities) running around battling evil doers in the loudest red, white, and blue suit you can think of just defies common sense. Besides you'd never draw new readers in with garish costumes. He should be more camouflaged. I like the updates in general.

      I do however admire the strong sense people have of protecting the spirit of the characters. No one wants to see the characters they grew up with abased...

      Enjoyed the hub!

    • Tim Matthews2011 profile image

      Tim Matthews2011 6 years ago from Huntsville, AL.

      This is a very good read, and you've got some valid points. But in my opinion, these changes aren't really to hide the "American" aspect of our comic book heroes, but rather to modernize them. The suit in Captain America: The First Avenger, was beautifully designed. It's design matched the era in which the movie is based. Chris Evans portrayed e real American hero in Steve Rogers. Showed courage, vallor, heart, and faith. The suit was rough, armored, colorful(sort of), and was exactly what it should have been. In 2012's Avengers, Cap's suit is even more vibrant, and shines in all of it's red, white, and blue glory. As to Wonder Woman... I see the DC's new 52 as a chance to modernize our heroes. Wonder Woman's new suit may be far from what we're used to, but in today's world, neccessary for the times. Tho, the black tights, I agree, are a bit much, I can't help but wander why they didn't go for blue instead. Again... Great read. Voted up, for sure. Cheers!