I was originally going to call this piece Poseidon’s Scary Girlfriends, with Demeter the Furious and an unnamed Harpy joining Medusa. But when I began researching Medusa I found so many layers of interpretation that it seemed worth going back to the original sources and seeing what went into the myth.
In fact, it seems like there are almost two different myths, one involving a headless demon that terrified all who saw it, and another about the mortal Medusa, who either was a snaky-headed monster or became one.
Although most of us think of Pluto as the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Hades, it is one of the Greek god’s titles, usually given as Pluton, Wealthy. This referred both to the earth’s fertility and the mineral riches that could be mined from it.
The Ages of Wonder Woman: Essays on the Amazon Princess in Changing Times – ed. Joseph J. Darowski A Golden Thread: An Unofficial Critical History of Wonder Woman – Philip Sandifer The Secret History of Wonder Woman – Jill Lepore Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine – Tim Hanley
All four of these books address one central issue: what is it to be a heroine and a woman? We’ve had the philosophical take on both Superman and Batman, as well as Batman on the couch. (Hell, the philosophers even had a bash at Green Lantern.) With Wonder Woman, it seems that books are like buses – you wait for ages and then there’s four at once.
I suspect that the last thing the Amazon princess has ever worried about is wardrobe failure. Some of us mortals, however, have questioned whether a beauty-pageant style outfit is really suited to crimefighting. Batgirl and Spider-Woman, among others, have switched to more sensible, modern uniforms. (Although in Batgirl’s case she just had to lose the kitten heels.)
I assume, like everyone else, that WW is being rejigged for the movie, which is good news, because she’d look pretty silly standing next to Batman and Superman wearing a swimsuit.
The only problem I have with her new outfit is that her bracelets have these blades that shoot out to make her look like the guy in 300. I mean, this is a woman mighty enough to pair comfortably with Superman. She doesn’t need weapons. I keep imagining a weird variation on the old ads for Ginzu knives: buy now and we’ll throw in these arm blades. They slice, dice, and eviscerate! Order now and we’ll add a second set free!
Still, it’s about time she got a costume you can imagine fighting in. The artist Jim Lee came up with the look, but J. Michael Straczynski, the writer, also had input. He famously wanted the clothing on Babylon 5 to be comfortable and have pockets, because in the future people will still want to carry stuff around. We are assured that he gave Wonder Woman a place to stash her stuff, too.
I’ve been enjoying Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy’s new Captain Marvel series so much that I recently picked up Essential Ms. Marvel Volume 1 at my local comic shop. It collects the Ms. Marvel run from the late 1970s, when Carol Danvers was the editor of Woman magazine and turned into Ms. Marvel to bust up bad guys. So really, she was Gloria Steinem with superpowers. That’s right up my alley.
The stories are a good time, in that Bronze Age kind of way, but one panel in particular really amused me. It’s from the first issue, just after Ms. Marvel took down a bad guy:
That dude rocking the sunglasses is saying:
That little lady makes Lynda Carter look like Olive Oyl!
Ms. Marvel #1 came out in 1977, so the Wonder Woman TV show would have been on the air at the time. So:
Don’t get me wrong, I like Batman and all, but I don’t see why every DC comic has to be equally grim and dark. Surely each should have its own feel? (The same should be true for the movies, by the way. I remember describing Man of Steel to a friend as “Superman Batmanned”.)
So thank goodness for Barbara Gordon, whose Batgirl takes a completely different route. This isn’t to say that she doesn’t have difficulties, or face challenges. She just handles them differently.
I know I’m not the first person to comment on this, but I’m really pleased with the new Aquaman. Anyone who watched the old Super Friends show no doubt wonders what the point of our finny friend is: he can swim, right, and communicate with fish? To anyone who just watched the show, Aquaman must have seemed only marginally more useful than Bouncing Boy. (A true Ronseal hero, the name said it all.) There’s even a song, Aquaman’s Lament, in which the hero bemoans his general uselessness.