Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #10: Colleen Coover And Kate Leth


It’s the final week of our interview series leading up to the publication of Wonder Woman Unbound, where we talk to cool and interesting people about their favourite versions of Wonder Woman and how she relates to their particular fields and interests. This week we’ve got a grand finale spectacular with Colleen Coover AND Kate Leth!

First up is Colleen Coover. Colleen is a comic book artist who is currently hard at work on the fantastic, Eisner award winning digital comic Bandette. She’s also known for her work at Marvel, bringing Batgirl into the Batman ’66 comic at DC Comics, and small press books like Small Favors, Banana Sunday, and Gingerbread Girl.

Colleen took a break from illustrating the adventures of her  plucky young prowler to talk to me about Wonder Woman:

Tim Hanley: What was your very first encounter with Wonder Woman?

Colleen Coover: I had a comic when I was very young that reprinted several early Golden Age stories, including her origin. So my formative impression of Wonder Woman included art by H.G. Peter, and included the whole mythology of the Amazons competing for the right to escort marooned pilot Steve Trevor back to America. It was awesome!

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

CC: The H.G. Peter version is a strong contender. Not long ago I happened to see a few minutes of the pilot episode starring Lynda Carter, and I was struck by how faithful her character was to the original World War Two hero. But if I’m honest, the Super Friends Wonder Woman wins out for her overall poise and authority.

TH: What qualities of the character do you think are the most important to capture when drawing Wonder Woman?

CC: Grace and feminine strength. I’m not a big fan of seeing her drawn as a very tall woman, because I feel like that’s a cheap way to make her physically more substantial than her male foes. I also like to see her smiling.

TH: What aspects of Wonder Woman’s design do you most like or dislike?

CC: My platonic ideal is probably the Mike Sekowsky version from his time drawing Justice League of America. Streamlined hotpants, ribboned ballet slippers, nicely stylized eagle on the bust. But most important to me are the silver bracelets: they are meant to represent the bonds of the Amazons’ past enslavement, so they should always look like shackles, not gauntlets.


Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl by Colleen Coover.

TH: You recently drew the debut of Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl in Batman ’66. Would you be interested in drawing a comic based on the Wonder Woman TV show? Do you have a dream Wonder Woman project?

CC: Oh, I think if I were to do a dream project, it would have to be a period WWII piece, with Steve as her brave but not nearly as awesome sidekick. Mostly because I’m very fond of the kind of Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!”, wartime version of feminine power, and I think that works best as a narrative when set in a time preceding the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s. The short animation from the Brave and the Bold cartoon where she rescues Steve Trevor and Batman from Nazi Baroness Paula Von Gunther was about as close as possible to what I consider a perfect Wonder Woman story.

TH: Finally, if Wonder Woman were to leave Paradise Island and come to our world for the first time today, what do you think she’d find most surprising about it?

CC: Oh gosh, I don’t know. Probably she’d be appalled at how crappy our Internet wifi is compared to theirs?

Big thanks to Colleen Coover! Colleen is @ColleenCoover on Twitter, and you can learn more about her projects on her website.

* * * * *

Next up is Kate Leth! Kate is a writer and artist, currently earning praise for her new graphic novel, Adventure Time: Seeing Red, which she wrote. Kate has also done backup stories for the Adventure Time comic, her work has appeared in Locke & Key, and she’s done variant covers for a variety of awesome BOOM! comic books. She does comics online on her own site, Kate Or Die!, and in her regular Comics Alliance column, plus she’s the founder and leader of the Valkyries, a bad ass legion of lady comic book shop employees. Finally, Kate is in Wonder Woman Unbound! She did a key illustration that you can find on page 69 when you get a copy of the book.

Kate talked to me about Wonder Woman in between traipsing around North America as she attends ALL of the comic book conventions:

Tim Hanley: What was your very first encounter with Wonder Woman?

Kate Leth: Probably at some point during the Superman cartoon that ran around the same time as the Batman: The Animated Series. I don’t think I saw her portrayed by Lynda Carter until I was in my teens, honestly, so it was all her bit parts on Superman or Batman. She was always so tough, though. I liked her.

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

KL: Visually, it’s Cliff Chiang’s. Especially his punk rock Wonder Woman. I love the way he draws her – she’s big and strong, but she’s also got a bit of edge. Adam Hughes and Alex Ross do a pretty great job, too, but there’s something about her in Chiang’s style. Annie Wu’s interpretation of her leading a JLA punk band is awesome, goddamn! Oh, and Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier Wondy! I love her!

TH: As an artist, what qualities do you think are the most important to capture when you draw Wonder Woman?

KL: Well, there are two qualities that often get too focused on… Haha. I think of her height. I love when she has big arms and big thighs. I don’t like her drawn skinny, or short, or with a crazy-small waist. Wonder Woman should, I think, be fit and kind of intimidating. She’s big!


Robin, Wonder Woman, and Black Canary by Kate Leth.

TH: You wrote Marceline the Vampire Queen in Seeing Red. If Marceline and Wonder Woman were in the same comic, would they be pals or foes? What sort of adventures would they get up to?

KL: I think Marceline would be intimidated! She’s old, certainly, but Wonder Woman is probably three times her size and physically just as strong. I think they’d make a great buddy cop comedy. Like the strong role model older sister and her goth sibling! I wish!


Marceline, Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, America Chavez, and Captain Marvel by Kate Leth.

TH: How do the Valkyries feel about Wonder Woman? Great superhero, or the greatest superhero?

KL: I think we all wish she had better representation! Everybody wants a Wonder Woman movie and it’s just idiotic that it hasn’t happened yet. She should have a dozen iterations, both good and bad, by now. Even the Hulk got, what, three movies? It’s just dumb.

TH: Finally, if Wonder Woman were to leave Paradise Island and come to our world for the first time today, what do you think she’d find most surprising about it?

KL: Probably reality TV shows. I like to think she’d be stunned by the idiocy of pop culture in general, but maybe that’s my own bias. I hope she’d get really into The Wire. I bet she’d hate iPhones.

* * * * *

Big thanks to Kate Leth! Kate is @kateleth on Twitter, and you can check out her tumblr to see more of her art and projects.

That’s the end of our interview series! Thanks so much for reading. Look for the final Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop, and is in stores only SIX days from now.

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