Saturday, October 9, 2010

Time for a Makeover: Redux

Wonder Woman was not the only one in need of a makeover.  This blog certainly was too.  Fortunately, that job is complete as of tonight.  The makeover was also applied to the Wannabe Heroine twitter.

Though in interest of keeping this entry longer than three sentences, this seems like a wonderful time to revisit Wonder Woman's new costume.  Apparently at the DC Nation panel at NYCC today Dan DiDio asked the fans what they thought of it now that it's had some time to settle in.  Second-hand reports indicate that there are still plenty of haters, but that the response seems to be mostly positive.

My opinion hasn't changed much since the last time I talked about it.  Four issues later, I still like it.  Following issue #603, I might even say I like it more.  Here's why:

Issue #603 marks the first time the jacket has come off.  I may have said something about the drape of the jacket's fabric given a vaguely ancient feel.  I admit, you'd probably have to squint really, really hard to see that.  It would have been pretty easy to argue that the new costume was very modern and didn't carry much of a warrior feel.  Apparently what's under the jacket takes care of it.  Those completely-superfluous straps around her arms are a great touch.  They really allude to the ancient Greek warrior look.

My only new opinion about the costume is that Diana should consider just leaving the jacket behind.  It covers the coolest part of her new costume.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ally McWonderWoman?

Over the weekend, it was announced by just about every single superhero news outlet that David E. Kelley is working on relaunching Wonder Woman as a TV series.  Fans reacted immediately with a range from curious to full out nerdrage.

Myself?  I'll go with skeptical.

Ignoring the fact that approximately 0.003% of the tv/movie projects somebody is "working on" ever make it to the screen, I have other reasons for my skepticism.

When I was still an undergrad working on my ultimately-useless degree, I spent a lot of time analyzing media and pop culture.  For one class, I wrote (what I thought to be) a particularly inspired paper comparing Ally McBeal to The Mary Tyler Moore Show in terms of their respective portrayals of a "progressive" woman.  I'm pretty sure my argument was that Moore was more progressive, despite being two decades earlier, because she was more focused on defining herself as an individual, independent woman while McBeal was trying to find a date.  I'm sure it sounded better under the sleep-deprived, caffeinated haze I wrote it under.

Lots of critics will argue until the end of time as to whether or not Ally McBeal was a positive or negative depiction of a woman and feminism.  In my somewhat-educated opinion, she was an excellent example of a professional woman headlining a TV series successfully.  Not every woman on TV is going to match a feminist ideal.  Ally probably didn't, but she was still important.  The worry is that Kelley (using Ally as the point of reference and completely forgetting his entire body of other work) can't portray a feminist icon without it getting more than a bit silly.  Perhaps one should argue that Ally was a bit of a feminist parody at times.  Also conveniently ignoring the fact that the last time we saw Diana Prince on TV, her portrayal was often downright goofy... most fans would hope that Kelley can take Wonder Woman, portray her with the strength and without the silly, and give her the gravitas that people expect from modern superhero adaptations.  That's something a lot of people seem to be concerned he can't handle: a strong and serious leading woman.

But is that the true source of my skepticism?  Not at all.

The real problem I have is that nearly every series Kelley has won his acclaim for is about people in a professional setting wearing suits.  There are lots of cute heels and silk ties.  How is the man going to handle a patriotic, eagle-emblazoned bustier and all of the adventures that ought to be oh-so-inappropriate for the suit and tie set?

Mythology, fantasy and kick ass fight scenes are really best when they travel outside of the office.  And THAT is what Kelley has not proven he can do.

... but yeah, I'd watch it.