After the July 1st announcement that Meredith and David Finch would be taking over Wonder Women with issue #36 in November they sat down for an interview with Comic Book Resources (read it in full here). Unfortunately, towards the end of the interview, David sort of stepped in it as it were. A MotherJones article quickly made the rounds reporting hat he doesn’t want the character to be a feminist. Of course, he didn’t actually say that. What he did say, however, speaks directly to the complex nature of women in comics, our conceptions of feminism, and the history of Wonder Woman in particular. For quick context here’s the entirety of the question and answer from both of them:
Is there a favorite part of the mythology you’re getting to play with in your first couple of issues or any part you’re really excited to touch on with this book?
Meredith: For me, it’s just being able to write Wonder Woman. She’s really a female icon from way back in the ’70s when females were stepping up and taking such powerful roles. Being able to take on that quintessential female superhero who represents so much for myself and for millions of people out there — especially at a time where comics are coming more into the mainstream — I feel like it’s really special, and that’s really where I’m coming from when I’m writing this. I want to always keep who she is and what I believe her core is central to what I’m doing.
David: And for my part, I’m excited to be drawing Meredith’s story and to be drawing such an icon. That’s something — since I’ve been at DC, it’s been an incredible privilege to be able to draw characters like Batman, and to the limited degree I’ve had, to draw Superman, and now to get into Wonder Woman. I think she’s a beautiful, strong character. Really, from where I come from, and we’ve talked about this a lot, we want to make sure it’s a book that treats her as a human being first and foremost, but is also respectful of the fact that she represents something more. We want her to be a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.
From what I can see he’s searching for a word and doesn’t feel like feminism quite fits but isn’t quite sure what else to use. Strong isn’t enough. Beautiful isn’t enough. Feminist isn’t enough. What he seems to be reaching for, and falling short, is that he wants her to be a complex and well rounded individual. He’s excited about getting to draw his wife’s interpretation specifically because she’ll be writing the character as a multi-dimensional human (well, amazon or goddess or whatever). There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to understand what he was attempting, and ostensibly failing, to articulate.
- Wonder woman has one of the most complex and interesting histories of any comic character ever.
- People still don’t really understand what the word feminist means and even if they do it’s a risk to identify yourself or your creative works that way.
- DC hasn’t exactly been an ally to women since the launch of the new 52
I’m going to expand on each as well as how they relate to why what Finch said was a mistake, but why his heart is likely in the right place.
Hat tip to the artist at Tinosaur for the image. Wonder Woman is just so done.