Hey, you! Name a female comics-based superhero!
..actually, you're reading this blog, so you're probably not representative of normal people. Turn to the person at the desk next to you and ask them to name a female superhero.
Who is not just a female tie-in of a male lead.
Who is well known in her won right and not just 'the love interest of...' or 'a member of...'
Whose name will not, in most to any areas in Western consciousness, be greeted with a blank look and the phrase 'who'?
Do we know who I'm getting at? Good.
I'm a recent convert to Wonder Woman - even in terms relative to how recently DC comics have become my fictional supplier of choice. My gateway into Earth-Zero was Birds of Prey
, which led to me drinking up everything I could find on Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance, and had me quickly hooked on Bats and Arrows. While I'd seen and admire Diana in her guest appearances and team books, I didn't pick up the title until I heard Black Canary was going to be in it and I wanted to catch up* before those issues came out. And I’m not ashamed to admit - unsurprisingly, I know, that I absolutely adore it.
If you're not reading Wonder Woman
, that’s your own look out, even if the title’s currently being written by Gail Simone - one of the best writers on DC’s roll at the moment - with beautiful art by Lopresti and Ryan. I’m not, today, talking about the book’s worth as a top quality piece of sequential story telling, but instead about Wonder Woman the icon, so forgive me.
Wonder Woman is, as, I implied in the opener, unique in being a female superhero who has crossed the geek line to permeate the mainstream consciousness on her own -without being packaged in a male superhero’s logo or on a team. She’s who she is, on her own - the most famous female superhero hands down, and also the most iconic.
Wonder Woman has been featuring in her own solo title since 1942, and has been continually published ever since (except for a year long hiatus in 1986-7). She’s well known as DC’s Big Three, along with Superman - whose title series will have its 693rd issue this month and Batman - issue 691. The issue of Wonder Woman
coming out is…37.
The thing is, that Wonder Woman
‘s numbering has been reset twice - in 1987 and 2006, so this is the third time she’ll have reached 37. It’s actually the 592nd issue of a comic to bear the title Wonder Woman
. It doesn’t affect the quality of the story within, and it doesn’t change the position of Diana, the character, in the DC Universe. It also doesn’t change the fact that Wondie’s one of the Big 3 and is staying there.
It does, however, mean that the comics bearing that title have issue numbers that look pitifully low against Batman
(the title characters, don’t forget, also have strong associations with DC‘s two long standing flagship titles, Action
- and Detective Comics
, even though the latter is being headlined by a lesbian upstart, it’s still Batman’s logo on her chest.)
It doesn’t affect the story, and probably not the numbers buying the title; anyone put off buying the comic because they’re intimidated by the volume of backstory are going to get that with Wonder Woman anyway, and if that were a factor, why don’t they reset Batman and Superman? Batman: Reborn
would have been an excellent opportunity to do so.
But. It would be nice if the little number on the front page next to the title reflected Wondie’s iconic status for the publisher, the mythology, and the comics industry itself.
This is why, today, I wrote the words
Wonder Woman #45 should be renumbered to #600
on a postcard and sent it to DC comics. Because apparently, if they reach 600 postcards, they will renumber it.
Well, actually, that’s not the full reason. A lot of the reason has to do with the fact that I wanted to stand up and support one of my favourite titles and a character that’s growing hard on me. DC have, on occasion, listened to their fan base (hi, Batgirl!) and while postcard poll is a amusingly archaic way of doing things, at least this time my stamp isn’t paying for the death of a Robin.
*Yes. In order to prepare for adding a title to my list of comics I pay money for, I made use of internet piracy to catch up. Without, DC simply would have my money. Deal with that, anti-piracy people