Tag Archives: superhero

Gender and Super Heroes/oines

In light of Captain America’s soon-to-be film debut, I saw this article today on the Good Men Project:

“Captain America is the Best Man” by Mark D.:

As a longtime comics fan, I find inspiration in many of the superheroes whose adventures I read every month, but none inspire me as much as Captain America. Simply put, to me, Cap stands as an example of the best we can be. He embodies all of the classical virtues that are just as important now as they were in the days of the ancient Greeks, including honesty, courage, loyalty, perseverance, and, perhaps most importantly, honor (in particular, military honor). While I can’t be as strong or fast as Cap, I can hope to be as honest, courageous, and honorable.

(Although Mark D. argues that Captain America has moved beyond his jingoist, hegemonically masculine, and paternalistic roots, in a post-911 age these historic roots cannot be denied.)

And that’s great and all.  The guy seems just swell.

But it got me thinking – where are all of the honest, courageous, and strong superheroines?  Most of them are either crazy or can’t control their powers or they’re young with teenage troubles or sex on the brain. 

Literally I can only think of Xena.  Any thoughts?

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Makeover for Wonder Woman

You heard it folks.  The superheroine is getting a well-deserved makeover after 69 years as a patriotic icon, reports George Gene Gustines for the New York Times. Wonder Woman’s wear has finally become functional.  I personally love the new look, and those you don’t – at least it’s not as bad as having nipples and codpieces added to your Batman suit.

In Issue 600 of her monthly series, Wonder Woman gets a new costume a bit more suitable for crimefighting. New design by Jim Lee.

Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski says, “She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941.”

This issue of Sensation Comics No. 1, dated January 1942, featured the first Wonder Woman cover. Credit: DC Comics

“If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”

Given Wonder Woman’s pre-eminence as a female character in the largely male superhero pantheon, her looks have always been a matter of more than casual interest, to both fanboys and feminists. In a 2006 interview about her work on the series, the novelist Jodi Picoult said: “One of the first things I did was ask if we could give her breast-reduction surgery, because as a woman, I know you wouldn’t fight crime in a bustier. But I was somehow shot down by DC.”

The new costume will almost certainly be better received than the curveball thrown Wonder Woman in 1968, when she lost her powers, dressed mod and practiced martial arts.

The cover of Wonder Woman No. 178, from 1968, is by the artist Mike Sekowsky. In this issue Wonder Woman loses her powers, goes mod and takes up martial arts. Credit: DC Comics

It took the attention of no less than Gloria Steinem to protest the change, and to help get the Amazon back into her star-spangled duds. Ms. Steinem went on to use Wonder Woman, resplendent in red, white and blue, on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine in 1972. A cover line proclaimed, “Wonder Woman for President.”

That’s the kind of attention Mr. Straczynski thinks she deserves: “Wonder Woman is a strong, dynamic, vibrant character who should be selling in the top 20, and I’m going to do all I can to get her there.”

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