Posts Tagged ‘Origin Stories’

Wonder Woman Unbound Preview #6: New Beginnings

February 17, 2014

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Every Monday until Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine comes out this April, we’re taking a look at a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.

The Golden Age Wonder Woman was rooted in her matriarchal utopia, a product of an advanced society where female rule had led to progress, prosperity, and peace.  The Amazons were disgusted with the world of men and its patriarchal aggression, and so they left to build their own, superior society.  They were rebels and warriors who decided to create a better world.

In the Silver Age, all of that changed.  Writer Robert Kanigher and artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito retold the origin of the Amazons in Wonder Woman #105 in April 1959, and went in a new direction:

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Before leaving for Paradise Island, the Amazons had husbands, brothers, and sons, and they were the warriors.  The women stayed at home and the men went off to fight.  When all the men were killed at war, the women were overcome with grief.  Unable to bear the pain of their war-filled world, they chose to run away from it.  The gods took pity on them and led them to Paradise Island, where they formed a new society where no one could ever hurt them again.

This extreme shift in origin entirely changed Wonder Woman’s mission and meaning.  It took out the very core of Marston’s aims for his creation, and did so on a complete whim; years later, Kanigher didn’t even remember writing the story.  Despite the many complications of his era, Marston was a man with a vision.  Kanigher was just winging it.

To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out this April!  Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll look at the Silver Age Steve Trevor, and also check out the fifth installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with Kimi Hughes from Golden Lasso Cosplay!

Wonder Unbound Unbound is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.

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Wonder Woman’s Origins Revised – She Has A Dad Now

October 10, 2011

So last night I made a remark about how there hadn’t been much Wonder Woman news lately, and then I wake up to this from DC Comics

Oh, SPOILERS and stuff.

So yeah, here’s the news:

In DC COMICS-THE NEW 52, Wonder Woman will have a new origin, in which she is the daughter of Hippolyta … and Zeus! In recent interviews, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang have teased that readers should expect the unexpected in this edgier, horror take on the superhero genre ­and the king of the gods will ensure that nothing goes as planned for his defiant daughter.

Originally created by the goddess Aphrodite and raised to perfection on the Amazon island of Themiscyra, the newest incarnation of Wonder Woman has a new costume and now a new origin ­ but she remains Wonder Woman. Strong. Proud. Fearless.

First off, CALLED IT.  Way back in August even.  Where do I pick up my prize?

Second, a lot of people seem wary, displeased, or even outraged about this news, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal.

I know that origin stories are huge, and that Wonder Woman being made of clay and imbued with life by a female goddess is all sorts of cool and feministy… I love that origin story.  However, I don’t think this is a particularly radical change.  Allow me to explain:

1) All of the other Amazons have fathers: Wonder Woman is the only one made of clay and brought to life by Aphrodite on Paradise Island.  The rest of the Amazons were normal ladies, albeit with mad skills, who became immortal when they took off after the whole Hercules debacle.  I don’t recall the comics ever really getting into the parenthood of the other Amazons, but it had to be through normal procreation.  The myths and legends about the Amazons usually involved them fighting and enslaving men, having sex with them to get pregnant, and then ditching the male babies while keeping the girl babies to perpetuate the Amazon tribe.  So now Diana has a dad too.

2) Impregnating someone doesn’t make you a father: With the pre-Paradise Island, mythological Amazons, the slave sperm “donors” were not at all involved in raising the kids on account of they got killed once the Amazons got what they needed from them.  All of the Amazons were raised in an entirely female society.  It sounds like that’s the case with Wonder Woman as well… since she’s just now finding out now that Zeus is her father, it would seem that he wasn’t a very hands on dad.  And it doesn’t change the fact that Wonder Woman was raised in an all-female utopian society.
All of her values and beliefs and whatnot come from her Amazon upbringing.

3) Wonder Woman had a dad before: Way back in the 1950s, Robert Kanigher wrote Diana a new origin story in Wonder Woman #105.  In it, the Amazons lived with men (presumably as husbands), and when all the men died at war (while the women stayed home), the Amazons, including the young Diana, moved to Paradise Island out of grief.  Check it out:

Not only did Wonder Woman have a father, but…

4) Wonder Woman’s powers came from men before: Presumably, with Zeus as Wonder Woman’s father now, her divine parentage will account for a lot of her superpowers.  A man being the source of Wonder Woman’s power is an odd idea, but again has precedent.  Turning back to Kanigher’s origin, after the baby Diana was given powers from Aphrodite (beauty) and Athena (wisdom), two other gods dropped by.  First, Mercury popped in to give her speed:

And then Hercules, the dude who imprisoned the Amazons, granted her strength:

At least now it’s only ONE male god.

5) It’s not a HUGE change: Wonder Woman having Zeus as a dad isn’t a massive change to her origin story.  The core of her origin is that she’s an Amazon raised on Paradise Island, and it looks like that’s all intact.  It’s not like Superman not being from Krypton… it’s like Superman being Zod’s son instead of Jor-El’s (that might make for an interesting story, actually).  The clay baby thing is a small component in a larger origin story, and the larger origin story remains.  It’s a change at the very beginning of the story that doesn’t affect anything that happened after.

6) Did you all read Wonder Woman #1 And was it not the best Wonder Woman issue you’ve read in, like, FOREVER?  We need to have some faith in Azzarello and Chiang.  If Zeus is Wonder Woman’s father, then there’s probably going to be a good reason for it and it’s going to make a really cool story.  Based on all of the interviews with Azzarello and Chiang, and the first issue, they both seem to have a really good handle on who Wonder Woman is and what makes her tick.  And, most importantly, they get that…

7) She’s WONDER WOMAN: She’s an Amazon, raised on Paradise Island, the perfect exemplar of Amazon ideals and values, and a simultaneously bad ass and kind superhero who no one can equal.  Who her father is doesn’t change any of that.  I understand the we all get attached to origin stories, and that aspects of Wonder Woman’s story mean a lot to people, but she’s still Wonder Woman.  She’s ALWAYS Wonder Woman.  She’s gone through tons of revamps and even re-origins, and they’ve meant different things at different times.  But no matter the source of her powers or how she got here, she uses those powers for good.  She’s an Amazon, and her parentage doesn’t affect that.

Anyway, I’m curious to see what Azzarello and Chiang are going to do with this.  It’s a big change for Wonder Woman, but I trust them, and I’m excited to see how it goes!!


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