On -isms: The "Ideal" Wonder Woman

By | Thursday, June 01, 2017 Leave a Comment
Wonder Woman, like other characters who've been around a half century or longer, has seen more than her share of interpretations. While this could arguably dilute the character too much, like Superman and Batman, it's help given her a more iconic status, allowing different people to easily read different elements in her. William Marston saw her a lot differently than Denny O'Neil. She came across very differently on Super Friends than she did on Justice League Unlimited. Lynda Carter's portrayed her a lot different than Ellie Wood Walker. (Yeah, look that one up if you don't know it!)

And no one version is less valid than any other!

As I noted the other day, most of my early encounters with Wonder Woman are from her television appearances throughout the 1970s. But, as I also noted, those encounters weren't very impactful on me and I've all but forgotten them.

So my impression of who Wonder Woman is does not stem from any of her actual stories -- at least, not directly. Instead, it's more from what I've read about her. What Marston intended when he created her, what she meant to any number of female fans, how Gail Simone approached writing the character...

And I tried finding a picture of "my" Wonder Woman -- one that I'd never actually read before. For me, she's all about a love. Not romantic or sexual love, but that "unselfish love for just about everyone" that Star-Lord tried to claim in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy 2. And though she has the body of a finely toned warrior, the warrior's path is a secondary and somewhat reluctant one she's sometimes forced to tread. The image I included here, by Kris Anka, is the closest approximation I could find to conveying that. Most everything I could find either portrayed her as too grim and angry, or as too soft and stereotypically feminine. Carter tends to fall too far in the latter camp for me, and Gal Gadot too far into the former.

But that's just me and my interpretation!

Whatever you get out of the character -- whether that's compassion, strength, integrity, truth, whatever... -- in whatever combination suits you is the right one. And whatever anybody else says doesn't mean squat.

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