Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

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

March 26, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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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Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #9: Chris Sims

March 19, 2014

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It’s week nine 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 Chris Sims!

Chris is the world’s foremost Batmanologist, and he writes regularly for Comics Alliance.  He writes comics as well, including Dracula the Unconquered, Subatomic Party Girls, and just out from Oni Press, Down, Set, Fight! with Chad Bowers and Scott Kowalchuk.  Chris also co-hosts the podcasts War Rocket Ajax and Movie Fighters with past “Wonder Woman Wednesday” interviewee Matt D. Wilson.

Chris chatted with me about Wonder Woman, presumably from a Waffle House:

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

Chris Sims: I’m almost positive that the first time I saw Wonder Woman would’ve been on Super Friends (I remember already knowing who Batman and Superman were when I got my first comics, so it had to be that), but the first thing I really remember was a storybook that I had when I was a kid. It was about the Justice League satellite being attacked and infiltrated by a villain who turned their trophy room against them, I think? That sounds familiar. I can’t remember what it was, but I do remember just sort of assuming that Wonder Woman was romantically linked to Superman, probably because of the similar color scheme of their costumes. It’s a silly assumption to make, but, y’know, that didn’t stop DC comics 25 years later.

Oh hey, I asked on Twitter and someone found it:

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TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

CS: This is a tough one. I’m not exactly a Wonder Woman fan, when you get right down to it.  I do like different versions a lot (particularly the Justice League Unlimited version), but my favorite is far and away the Wonder Woman of the comics, during the Greg Rucka/Dave Johnson run a few years back. She was tough, smart, didn’t have that stilted relic-from-the-past speech pattern (a recent invention that’s really annoying in a universe trying to make its characters seem young again), and got into some amazing fights.

TH: As the world’s foremost Batmanologist, what do you think is the best Batman and Wonder Woman team-up?

CS: Oh, far and away The Hiketeia, by Rucka and J.G. Jones. Such a great plot, so simple. Someone kills someone in Gotham, so Batman’s not going to rest until he brings her in, but she also performs an ancient ritual that compels Wonder Woman to protect her as though she were a guest in her home, so she can’t let Batman take her in. Just two people who are driven to beat the heck out of each other.

TH: Over the past 25 years, Wonder Woman’s been relaunched and rebooted far more often than the average superhero.  Why do you think that is?

CS: Okay, this is a controversial opinion of mine, but I think the reason here is that Wonder Woman is more important than good. Wonder Woman has this position as the first great female superhero, she represents so much to so many people, but the actual stories are, well, very rarely any good. The Golden Age stuff is more weird than enjoyable, rooted in wartime imagery even more than Superman (the American Flag costume is one of my biggest problems with her), the Silver Age stuff is pretty hard to get through (in his run, Robert Kanigher tried to evoke the feeling of the Golden Age, which unfortunately included creating racist caricatures like Egg Fu), the Bronze Age had the misguided attempt to update it (the “loses her powers and wears a pantsuit” years that attempted to make her [ugh] a strong female character by taking away her powers), and in the Modern Age, nothing has really clicked.

Part of the problem, I think, is that Wonder Woman has never had that classic, timeless story that a lot of characters have had. You can point to stuff and say “this is what Superman is about,” or “This is what Batman is about,” whether it’s from the Silver Age or the Bronze Age or Year One or All-Star Superman, but with Wonder Woman, you can’t really point to one and go “this is it, this is why she rules.” There’s stuff that comes close — again, The Hiketeia is awesome — but there are so many competing ideas of what she should be that you get creators projecting conflicting ideas onto her more often than anyone else. And so often, they return to the imagery of the TV show, which a) is forty years old at this point, and b) was not actually very good.

I’d argue your point that she’s been rebooted more than others (Superman has that honor, I think, with four or five competing origins in the span of 20 years, and the Legion has certainly been overhauled more than Wonder Woman), but again, it think that’s part of the projection. So many people want to go in and explain all the quirks, whether it’s the American Flag suit (which Perez had to go out of his way to address in his run) or the bondage stuff from Marston (which was reportedly Morrison’s sticking point with the character that he couldn’t get around), and they all have different explanations. They get stuck on trying to piece it together rather than just moving on with a story, which I think is why you don’t get that “classic.” I was critical of Azzarello and Chiang’s run, which I like, because it was a weird introduction to the character, but say what you want, they just barreled right into telling an epic story about Wonder Woman battling the Gods, and while they worked some origin stuff in there (which itself was pretty controversial), the focus was on the NOW.

And it’s really tempting to want to fix stuff based on your own perception. Like I said, I’m not a Wonder Woman fan by any means, I have an idea of what I’d want to do with the title because I can see the potential there of having a character who’s SO RESONANT and SO CULTURALLY IMPORTANT. I look at these stories and, with very few exceptions, think “no no no, you’re doing it wrong,” and I think a lot of people approach the book like that. We have a consensus of what Superman and Batman and Spider-Man and the X-Men are about, and should be about, but I don’t think we have that with Wonder Woman. We just have a lot of individual ideas that are competing with each other, trying to distance each other from some and move closer to others. It’s complicated. So of course I think I could fix it, but so does everyone else, right?

TH: You’re also a 60s girl group enthusiast.  If Wonder Woman were in a 60s girl group, which would it be?  Are there any girl group singles that have a Wonder Woman vibe?

CS: Ha! You know, I don’t think Wonder Woman would like a lot of girl group songs, since most of the big ones tend to be about girls pining over boys who have broken their heart, and I’m pretty sure Diana would be telling them they need to get back out there because they don’t need someone else to validate their existence. There are, however, a couple that spring to mind. There’s one called “Looking For Boys” by a group called the Pin-Ups that’s all about how when summertime hits, the girls are just as into the boys as they are, and they are out there looking for love. It’s this crazy ode to embracing female sexuality in a genre that’s usually marked by dependence on men, so she’d probably be into that one.

 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?

CS: Depressingly, I think she’d be surprised by how far we still have to go, just like she was back in the ’40s.

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Big thanks to Chris Sims!  Chris is @theisb on Twitter and you can learn more about his projects on his website and his tumblr.

The interview series concludes next week with a double interview spectacular!  We’ll be talking to the amazing Colleen Coover and the fantastic Kate Leth!  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #8: Molly McIsaac

March 12, 2014

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It’s week eight 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 Molly McIsaac!

Molly is a comedian, cosplayer, actress, model, writer, and was recently a star of Syfy’s reality series Fangasm.  She’s written for iFanboy, Ain’t It Cool News, Official Cosplay Magazine, and much, much more, including her own site, The Geeky Peacock.  She’s also a part of THREE Youtube channels: Hey! Listen!, Snake Charmers, and The Geeky Peacock’s own channel.  In short, she’s very busy.  And she describes herself as “an active princess against patriarchy,” so she’s my kind of people.

I talked with Molly about Wonder Woman, cosplay, feminism, and the various intersections therein:

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

Molly McIsaac: Honestly, I can’t hone in on this memory. Wonder Woman just seems like an entity that was always there – she was so ingrained in pop culture that she just seemed to ALWAYS exist. I remember doodling pictures as a young girl of me grown up and donning her outfit – perhaps these were my earliest cosplay dreams!

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

MM: When people ask me what Wonder Woman they need to read to get into her, I generally direct them to Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but that’s probably it – the Alex Ross art so perfectly encapsulates her as the larger than life woman she is.

TH: Having cosplayed as Wonder Woman, what do you think is most essential about capturing the character?

MM: It actually takes me a lot of preparation before I cosplay Wonder Woman. First, I go to the gym and do weight training (I’m still working on perfectly defined muscles that would do her proud), make sure the costume perfectly represents many things about her – is it practical to be a badass Amazonian in? And finally the ATTITUDE of cosplaying her is definitely the most important – the entire time I’m in my Wonder Woman costumes I’m thinking “Strength, poise, power”.

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Molly McIsaac in her steampunk Wonder Woman cosplay.

TH: When you’re in costume as Wonder Woman, how does it feel? Do you take on a different persona?

MM: Yes, absolutely. Cosplay helped me find a lot of self confidence in general, but when I lace up my Wonder Woman corset I transform. I am untouchable and stronger than I have ever been. All insecurities fall to the wayside and I BECOME her. It definitely makes me feel amazing when little kids run up to me and scream “WONDER WOMAN!!!”, because I know I’m doing a good job.

TH: As a vocal geek feminist, both in your writing and on Fangasm, what does Wonder Woman mean to you?

MM: So much. We all know that Wonder Woman was created by a man who had a dominatrix fetish – she wielded her lasso like a whip and whenever she was captured she was chained spread-eagled in basements. It makes sense to me that feminists in the early days of Wonder Woman weren’t too thrilled about her being a female role model. However, I am of the modern day feminist model that believes that in your face sexuality is something that we need to own and embrace – and Wonder Woman is oozing with it, whether she means to or not. She completely owns everything – her body, her thoughts, her abilities, her costume. And if you really think about it, the mere fact of her existence breaks gender roles – bad guys have to admit they were beat up by a GIRL. A hot, STRONG girl who made them feel weak for the first time in their life. That’s awesome.

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?

MM: I actually wrote a rant about this a long time ago on my old Facebook and I wish I could find it but that account has long since been deleted due to Internet trolls. The gist of it was this… I believe if Wonder Woman came to our world today she would be shocked and sad by the way women are treated. If she looked around and saw rape culture so prevalent, women still not making equal pay, the abuse women suffer at the hands of people every day JUST FOR BEING WOMEN she would be shocked and appalled. Can you imagine her walking into a convention where women are emulating her costume and seeing men groping them with no thoughts of consequence or self awareness? I think her brain would explode, honestly, and she’d probably bust some heads.

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Big thanks to Molly McIsaac!  Molly is @MollyMcIsaac on Twitter, and you can learn more about her many projects on her website and her Facebook fan page.

The interview series continues next week with Chris Sims!  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #7: Yale Stewart And Cat Staggs

March 5, 2014

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It’s week seven 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 two fantastic comic creators who have been involved in two unique takes on Wonder Woman, Yale Stewart and Cat Staggs!

First up is Yale, the writer and artist of the fantastic webcomic JL8.  The series is about the adventures of the Justice League in elementary school, and it’s adorable, hilarious, and far and away the best Justice League comic out there today, even if it is unsanctioned.  He’s also the writer and artist of the upcoming, and fully licensed, The Amazing Adventures of Superman, which comes out this summer.

Yale chatted with me about Wonder Woman and his young Diana:

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

Yale Stewart: That’s a good question. I’d probably assume it was through comics. Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come, to be specific. If it wasn’t that, it would’ve been the Justice League cartoon that aired on Cartoon Network, but I’d put my money on Kingdom Come.

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

YS: I’m not sure if I really have a “favorite.” I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that she was in and saw it as hugely definitive, in the way that I viewed Batman: The Animated Series or something. However, her portrayal in both Kingdom Come and the two Justice League shows –the original and then Justice League Unlimited — have been the most informative in how I perceive the character.

TH: For those who aren’t familiar with JL8, can you tell us about your Diana?

YS: Diana in JL8, is just that: she’s Diana (not yet Wonder Woman), an 8-year-old Amazonian who resents the fact that she’s a princess, because of how she believes she’d be perceived by society if people discovered her lineage. She’s loyal, blunt, a little bit stubborn and she can be fierce when she needs to be.

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Diana is unimpressed with Bruce’s behavior at her birthday party in JL8 #108.

TH: What past versions of the character informed your take on Diana?  Were there any other, non-comic inspirations for her?

YS: I’ve already mentioned Kingdom Come and the Justice League shows. I’d probably toss in New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke, at least in terms of attitude. Aesthetically, I just really wanted to make sure she came across as Greek, so I wanted to make sure her skin was a little more olive and she had a broader nose that is seen on a lot of Greek sculpture. Her outfit is a fairly straightforward re-imagining of the traditional Wonder Woman costume, so there’s nothing too notable there. I think that’s about all there is to it.

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Diana ignores the Flash and Green Lantern’s shenanigans in JL8 #144.

TH: Lately there’s been a considerable lack of all-ages comics for Wonder Woman, and for superheroes more broadly. Why do you think this is, particularly given how successful JL8 has been? Do you think it’s detrimental to the industry?

YS: I honestly don’t know. I’ve thought long and hard on this and simply don’t have an answer. I’d probably be lying if I said I DIDN’T think it was detrimental. Obviously the industry isn’t collapsing from a lack of all-ages titles, but I’m a very firm believer in the strength and importance of variety. To me, it just makes sense to have comics for a wide range of audiences, and when you’re not producing all-ages content, you’re cutting off an audience. That’s how I see it.

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?

YS: Haha, this is a little tricky because I’m not that familiar with the mythology of Paradise Island, which is to say I don’t know what they do and don’t have or are or aren’t exposed to. If they don’t have any modern technology on the Island (which I’m assuming they don’t), I think the Internet or a smartphone would be pretty mind-blowing. Or just modern technology in general, I suppose.

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Big thanks to Yale Stewart!  Yale is @YaleStewart on Twitter and you can learn more about his projects at his website.

Next up is Cat Staggs!  Cat has been the cover artist for Smallville Season 11, including the recent Olympus arc which introduced Wonder Woman to the Smallville universe.  She’s also done interior art for several issues of the series, and has worked on DC’s The Vampire Diaries series and IDW’s Star Trek series.

Cat talked with me about Wonder Woman and what it was like to draw her:

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

Cat Staggs: Definitely Wonder Woman from Super Friends. My brother and I had a strict Saturday morning ritual which included Super Friends and bowls of Cookie Crisp cereal.

Honorable mention to the Super Friends waterski show at SeaWorld Florida when I was four… that was pretty amazing and a big influence on me getting a Wonder Woman bathing suit.

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

CS: Lynda Carter from the Wonder Woman television series. I grew up with her and she had a huge impact on my feelings about Wonder Woman… and women in general.

I also still want the entire Diana Prince wardrobe from that series.

TH: What is the best part of drawing Wonder Woman? The hardest part?

CS: Officially getting to draw Wonder Woman.

Officially getting to draw Wonder Woman.

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Cat Staggs’ Wonder Woman covers from the “Olympus” arc of Smallville Season 11.

TH: What qualities do you aim to capture when you draw Wonder Woman, and how do you do so?

CS: The important thing to me is capturing the fact that she is an Amazon, which means *muscles* and beauty. I try to focus on giving her a muscular frame and strong poses… and great hair.

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A great Wonder Woman piece by Cat Staggs.

TH: If you could draw your dream Wonder Woman comic, what would it be about?

CS: Honestly, I feel spoiled because I feel like I actually got to draw covers for my dream Wonder Woman. Brian Q. Miller wrote a fantastic arc. I loved how he connected her into the Smallville universe without compromising her mythos.

My other dream would be to draw a Gail Simone Wonder Woman story, because, duh.

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?

CS: I think the sad shocking thing for her would be how much we aren’t taking care of the rest of the world. That, and the constant wars… and smart phones… smart phones are amazing.

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Big thanks to Cat Staggs!  Cat is @CatStaggs on Twitter, and you can learn more about her projects at her website.

The interview series continues next week with Molly McIsaac!  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #5: Kimi Hughes Of Golden Lasso Cosplay

February 19, 2014

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It’s week five 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 Kimi Hughes of Golden Lasso Cosplay!

By day, Kimi is a professional educator, but by night (and weekends) Kimi is the creative mind behind the highly detailed and much lauded costumes of Golden Lasso Cosplay.  She’s cosplayed as Big Barda, Sif, a steam punk Batgirl, and many more, including Wonder Woman.  Kimi also worked on Rainfall Films’ Wonder Woman short, helping to design the costume and starring as one of the Amazons.  She’s planning a big Wonder Woman armour cosplay for this year’s ComicCon, so follow her on Facebook, Instragram, and Pinterest for updates on what is sure to be an epic costume.

Kimi stepped away from what I assume is a Hephaestean forge where she makes her fantastic armour to chat with me about Wonder Woman:

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

Kimi Hughes: I have always been tall, and until high school I towered over both the boys and girls in my classes. I was also very athletically built from years of competitive swimming and horseback riding. Add my long, dark hair to that combination, and I often felt like I was looking at myself when I read Wonder Woman comics. She showed me that a tall, powerful woman was a thing to be celebrated. It was a lesson I really needed in those awkward school years, when many boys reacted badly to being beaten by a girl at sports. I felt the pressure to hide my talents or let them win so I was more feminine, and Diana helped reassure me that being an Amazon wasn’t a bad thing.

I remember seeing Wonder Woman for the first time when I was about eight years old. A family member gave me a stack of comic books when he went away to college, and included in that stack was a few copies of George Perez’s run of Wonder Woman. While I had certainly been aware of her, and even probably owned some Wonder Woman merchandise, that was the first time I really learned about her as a character. I distinctly remember reading Wonder Woman #17, “Traces”, even though it was missing a page or two. Watching Wonder Woman take a trip to Greece and spend time worshipping at the Acropolis was amazing. She visits many historical locations, each of them linked with her Amazonian heritage and the powers she received from the Greek gods. It really gives her depth, and links her to our world.

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

KH: I really love the 1980’s reboot of Wonder Woman, because they were able to make her powerful and yet still feminine. She stepped out of being a token female in comics, or a male fantasy, and became a viable hero in her own right. She is strong and a great fighter, but still incredibly kind and gentle. They managed to capture the strange dichotomy of the fierce warrior who comes to the modern world as a diplomat to preach peace. I also love the way they brought Diana’s Greek roots to life. The historical and diplomatic connection is something that I really love, and is too often brushed over. Greg Rucka’s The Hiketeia addresses this connection perfectly by balancing the modern role of Wonder Woman with the ancient Greek mythology. She represents her homeland at the United Nations and deals with being a celebrity, while balancing an unwinnable situation between Batman’s idea of modern justice and her duty to an ancient oath. It’s basically a modern Greek tragedy that really knows its historical roots and is a really great read for any Wonder Woman fan.

TH: You’ve worked on a couple of great Wonder Woman costumes. What was the inspiration and process for your own costume? And for the Rainfall costume?

KH: I made my costume as a response to the terrible promotion shots that were released for the Wonder Woman TV show pilot that popped up a few years ago. The plastic-looking costume was despised by almost everyone who saw it, and many people started using the incredible amount of bad press it got as evidence that a Wonder Woman movie could never succeed. They claimed that the costume could never be made believable, or exist in the same universe as Nolan’s Batman. Basically, the world’s most famous superheroine couldn’t transfer to live action because of her OUTFIT.

I refused to accept that excuse. While I agreed that latex and plastic wasn’t the way to go, there had to be a way to make a believable Wonder Woman. Drawing on my roots as a historical costumer, I decided to make a more Greek/Roman inspired design and created the final outfit out of leather and steel. I replaced the trademark boots with greaves (metal shin guards) and sandals, and designed a skirt with metal stars to fit a more historical warrior design. I’ve changed the cosplay since that original design, but I’m incredibly proud of the final outcome.

The Rainfall costume was the incredible accomplishment of director Sam Balcomb, and costumers Heather Greene, and Sarah Skinner. Sam’s vision of Wonder Woman started with my costume as a base, and he even used pictures that he had taken of it to help get the Rainfall Wonder Woman project rolling. The idea was to make Diana’s Greek and warrior origins apparent from the first time the audience lays eyes on her. There were two separate looks for Diana in the short. The sleeker, comic-inspired Wonder Woman look was used for the city scenes, while a more armored look was used for the battle on Themyscira. With both costumes, the familiar Wonder Woman look is still there, but taken to a more believable direction for live-action. It is honestly one of the things that fans love most about the short, and something I will forever be proud to have helped bring to life.

Here’s Kimi as Wonder Woman in her spectacular, handmade costume:

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TH: What is the best part of cosplaying as Wonder Woman?

KH: The kids. Thanks to WB’s successful Justice League cartoon and collection of animated movies, modern kids are very familiar with Wonder Woman, even if they haven’t read the comics. They get so excited when they see her! I think that it’s important for little girls to have good superheroines to look up to, and as comic book culture becomes more mainstream, we need to be sure that we keep that in mind as we bring female heroes to life on the big screen.

TH: What do you think Zack Snyder and the Man of Steel sequel team could learn from the Rainfall short, both in terms of Wonder Woman’s appearance and characterization?

KH: I’m really scared of what Zack Snyder will do with Wonder Woman. I love the style of his films, but I have yet to be impressed by one of his female characters. I really hope that he doesn’t lose Diana’s soul in the epic visuals of the movie.

I think the most important thing that the Rainfall Short proved is that Wonder Woman’s fantastical backstory can stay intact, and she can still interact with the modern world successfully. In his own way, Superman is equally fantastical. The idea of a super powered alien that looks exactly like a human crashes here as a baby, manages to grow up without anyone learning his secret, and then decides to wear a cape and lead a double life is equally improbable as an Amazon on a hidden island being given powers by ancient gods. Marvel has Loki interact with Iron Man, and is adding Doctor Strange, a powerful sorcerer, to their lineup in future movies. DC shouldn’t be afraid of adding magic to their universe. We don’t go to comic book movies for realism. We see them for all the same reason we love comic books; to see good win over evil; to keep the hope that if super-powered people did exist, they’d protect the rest of us; and, most of all, to feel once again like a kid discovering a pile of old comic books for the first time.

Here’s the Rainfall Wonder Woman short; Kimi co-stars as one of the Amazons:

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?

KH: That’s a great question. For most of the history of Paradise Island in comics, it has been a matriarchal society without children. This adds to the importance of Diana, who became the only child raised on Themyscira. I think she’d be shocked at how may children are not cared for and appreciated in our world. Since I work in education, this is also a cause close to my heart, and I’m sure that I’m mirroring my own feelings onto my favorite heroine. I really feel that she’d believe it was society’s calling to care for the little ones who can’t care for themselves, and thus to insure that the culture is carried on and that the future is brighter for everyone.

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Big thanks to Kimi Hughes!  Kimi is @GoldenLassoGirl on Twitter, and you can learn more about her awesome cosplay projects on her website.

The interview series continues next week with Matt D. Wilson, author of The Supervillain Handbook and The Supervillain Field Manual.  Not surprisingly, we’ll be chatting about Wonder Woman’s villains.  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #4: Tara Theoharis, The Geeky Hostess

February 12, 2014

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It’s week four 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 Tara Theoharis, the Geeky Hostess!

Tara runs The Geeky Hostess, a very cool site devoted to incorporating your geeky passions into your everyday life through parties, gift ideas, home decor, recipes, etiquette, fashion, and more.  Plus it’s got tons of awesome cupcake recipes, which are always good to have; cupcakes are where it’s at.  Tara is also nearing the end of a fun Kickstarter campaign for Geeky Sprinkles, a series of sprinkles with nerdy themes.  They come in three varieties: a TARDIS, steampunk nuts and gears, and lightning bolts (you can go Harry Potter or Shazam with those, it’s entirely up to you).  You should definitely go check it out.

After wrapping up yet another ridiculously cool themed party, this one inspired by Parks and Recreation, Tara chatted with me about Wonder Woman and geeky hostessing:

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

Tara Theoharis: Honestly, it was of Wonder Woman as an icon more than a specific instance. She’s one of the few female superheroes that’s a household name. Her strength and beauty sticks with you, and as a kid you think, “One day, I could be THAT.” Heck, I still think that.

Here’s Tara sporting a retro Wonder Woman look in a shoot for the Espionage Cosmetics Geeky Hostess collection:

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TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

TT: As I was thinking back on the different Wonder Women I’ve seen, my mind just kept going back to a print I saw about a year ago: The Satrun Twins’ “We Are All Wonderwomen.” A parody of Wonder Woman and Dove ads, it shows a variety of different women in the iconic Wonder Woman uniform. It really stuck with me and sums up how I feel about Wonder Woman–she’s an ideal, a bit of hope and strength that every woman can carry with her.

TH: What are some of the best ways to incorporate Wonder Woman into recipes, parties, and other fun events?

TT: For parties, it’s best to stick with recognizable tidbits that anyone would be able to pick up on. Her colors or common traits can inspire a fun theme. For instance, a Wonder Woman birthday party can include a “Lasso of Truth” game (Lasso your friends for an interesting form of Truth or Dare) and party favors can include keys to invisible jets.

I recently threw a “Galentine’s Day” party and incorporated Wonder Woman into the gifts I gave to all of my “Wonder Women.” I printed small versions of Wonder Woman covers onto cardstock and placed jewelry on them, and handed them out along with my X-Ray tote and a matching red and gold lipgloss.

Tara’s X-Ray Tote features a peek inside Wonder Woman’s tote, including the golden lasso, her tiara, keys to the invisible jet, and Amazonian Red lipstick:

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TH: As someone with a fondness for cupcakes, what do you think would be Wonder Woman’s favourite kind of cupcake?

TT: Wonder Woman would go for an ambrosia cupcake. If she could get her powers from Greek gods, she can get her taste in cupcakes as well. Many believe ambrosia is honey, so the cakes themselves would be honey-flavored, but not too sweet. This may be a cupcake I have to make in the future…

TH: Some people might argue that traditionally domestic hobbies like baking and fashion run contrary to the values of an empowered heroine like Wonder Woman, and to feminism more broadly. What’s your take on that?

TT: As far as I’m concerned, feminism is about gaining equality for everyone. So why bring me (or others) down for doing something they enjoy? Isn’t other women telling me what I can and can’t do just as bad as men doing it?

Even superheroes have to eat sometime, and don’t tell me Wonder Woman’s wearing that uniform strictly to protect herself. There’s no crime in looking good while kicking ass!

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?

TT: That we all have magic devices in our pockets that connect us instantly with everyone and everything around us?

But seriously, that there aren’t more women in leadership positions. At this day and age, it’s pretty absurd.

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Big thanks to Tara Theoharis!  Tara is @GeekyHostess on Twitter, and you can learn more about her fun, geeky projects on her website.

The interview series continues next week with Kimi Hughes from Golden Lasso Cosplay.  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

Wonder Woman Wednesday Interview #3: Janelle Asselin

February 5, 2014

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It’s week three 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 Janelle Asselin!

Janelle is a former editor at DC Comics and Disney, and is currently taking over the internet via a variety of fantastic websites.  She writes “Hire This Woman” and “Best Sequential Art Ever” for Comics Alliance, is the weekend editor for The Mary Sue, and has teamed up with the Ladydrawers to write “Don’t Be A Dick”, a comic strip for Bitch Media about the comics industry and gender diversity.  She’s also expanding her Master’s thesis, an analysis of the comic book industry and female consumers, into a full-length book, which I am very excited about.

Perhaps as part of her continuing quest to take over the internet, Janelle was kind enough to chat with me about Wonder Woman:

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

Janelle Asselin: You know, I’ve thought about this for quite some time, but I’ll be honest that I cannot remember when I became aware of Wonder Woman.  She was just always there, just a character that existed that I knew of and knew the general conceit of.  I knew what she looked like and could pick her out of a lineup. However, I didn’t ever really experience her in media other than that.

The first real exposure I had to Wonder Woman was in the Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animated shows.  Those shows were actually my first exposure to most DC characters other than Batman and Robin.  She was pretty delightful there.

TH: What is your favourite version of Wonder Woman?

JA: While I’ve read a few Wonder Woman comics now, I have to say that my first Wonder Woman is still my favorite – I just love her presence in the animated shows!  The art style is simple but she’s perfectly identifiable and as a character she seems to be pretty much exactly what I want Wonder Woman to be. She’s a little thrown off by the world outside of Themyscira but she never stops being strong, smart, and sassy.

TH: While you worked mainly on the Bat-books at DC, did you ever get to edit an issue with Wonder Woman in it?

JA: Actually, I worked on an entire graphic novel about Wonder Woman that will never come out!  It was written by a couple of talented fantasy writers and focused a lot on the mythology of Wonder Woman. It was a really special project and a great experience (it was the only true graphic novel I worked on at DC as everything else was published in single issues before being collected) but there were some truly bizarre circumstances that led to the project being killed.  It was because one of the creators, the artist Justiniano, was accused and then convicted of possessing child pornography.  Internally the decision was made to halt all production on the book and cancel our publication plans immediately, which hit right as we were on the verge of finishing work on it. Justiniano was actually finished with his pencils completely, which made it insanely expensive at that point to have it redrawn.  It’s sad because it was a gorgeous looking book, but I completely agree with the decision that was made because I cannot separate the creator and how they live their life from their work. While there were a lot of other lovely people working on the project who would’ve liked to see it published, I don’t think anyone ultimately disagreed that it should be shelved given the situation.
TH: If you were to edit a Wonder Woman story, what would you be looking for in terms of the writer’s characterization of her and the artist’s interpretation of Wonder Woman?

JA: I think the difficult thing with Wonder Woman is that she’s come to be a symbol for so many that a lot of people don’t know how to make her a relatable character.  She’s like Superman in that she’s so strong and symbolic that it can be difficult for writers and artists to accept that she can also have a personality.  So I think I’d look for a writer to make her both the strong, symbolic character AND the realistic, relatable person she is capable of being. Other writers have done it. It can be done.

As far as art goes, I think she should be drawn as muscular and a warrior.  None of this T&A bullshit. I like the costume being kept close to her original costume (it’s just too iconic to really change and have it stick at this point) but I love the idea of it being more like armor.  That just makes more sense, right? I love the way Cliff Chiang draws her, too, even if it’s not perfectly my ideal. He’s just such a skilled artist that I’d be happy to see him draw that book forever.

TH: As an expert on marketing comics to female readers, what do you think that Wonder Woman has meant for the comic book industry and female fans over the decades?

JA: Having a strong female character who can and should stand up there with Superman and Batman is pretty powerful. I think just her existence over the years has given female fans hope that as readers, creators, whatever, we could stand up as equals within comics.  But the comics have also often failed female fans as creators seem to have an easier time figuring out Superman and Batman.  I think Wonder Woman’s strength lies far from her comics, in her representation in other media. The importance of Wonder Woman to most women in the world is based on her iconic look and the way she’s been seen on TV – not based on her comics.  But thanks to that importance, the character has stuck around in the comics despite lackluster sales and a great deal of confusion as to how to approach her.  I think given a great feature film and an appropriate, interesting, and high-quality comic to go with it, interest in the comics could be kindled.

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?

JA: That there’s any debate at all about women having equal rights with men and control over their own bodies?  That at this point in our history, when we should have evolved, people are still being killed because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, or their gender? That millions of people care if someone named Justin Bieber got a DUI when people are dying in Cairo?  There’s a lot of messed up crap in this world and honestly I think she’d be frustrated by a lot of it. But then, aren’t we all?

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Big thanks to Janelle Asselin!  Janelle is @gimpnelly on Twitter, and you can learn more about her many projects at her website.

The interview series continues next week, with an interviewee yet to be decided upon; it’ll be one of two people, depending on how things work out, and either way it’s going to be a fun one.  Look for the next Wonder Woman Unbound preview panel this Monday, and the book itself is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.


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