Tag Archive: DC comics


Image result for wonder woman 2017

When CBS has first announced their decision to run with a Supergirl TV show, I was – needless to say – very excited. As a hardcore DC fanboy and an even harder-core Superman fanboy, I was excited. But the feminist in me was also excited. Supergirl would mark another step toward female superhero domination. And for the feminist hoping to see some great female storylines, Supergirl delivered. Before I knew how great Supergirl would actually be, though, I penned a little opinion piece called “Why the world Needs Supergirl,” which was, of course, a play on the article written by Lois Lane in the 2006 Superman Returns “Why the World Needs Superman.”

When wonder woman was announced, I was, of course, excited – but nervous, too. DC had been making some odd creative choices with their holy trinity in the cinematic universe, and I wasn’t totally sure if I would like their interpretation of Wonder Woman. I was much happier when I learned that a woman would be directing the film, and that Christopher Nolan was not going near it. Zack Snyder is a producer, which is concerning, but Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg are writing the script. They are two big names in comics whom I have faith will be writing a great Wonder Woman. Johns, due to his great work on Smallville and also for his overall great job as CCO for DC; and Heinberg for his experience with the character.

When Batman vs. Superman came out (which I loved, so shut it), I cannot tell you how exciting it was to watch Wonder Woman fight Doomsday. Her theme music sounding in the moment she is first shown in her armor and bracers is one of the most powerful feminist images in modern history. I remember bringing the extended edition to watch with my parents and seeing how excited my mother got when Wonder Woman appeared in battle was one of the most exciting moments in recent memory. She probably didn’t even realize it, but I watched her body language change from “slightly interested” to “heavily invested” in what was happening as Wonder Woman entered the scene.

And then they released a trailer. It was good, but it didn’t give much away. But then they released another trailer, and OH MY GOODNESS did that trailer give me so many feels. I have never seen a movie trailer that literally gave me hope for the future. After watching that trailer for the third or fourth time, I sat back and said to myself, “This movie may literally change the world.”

It sounds exaggerated and extreme, but after thinking about it more, I am even more certain that this movie has the potential to be a massive catalyst for change, in a way that no modern female-led movie has before. Below are the reasons why:

 

This can open the door for female-led superhero movies, as well as more female led movies overall.

Superhero movie goers are all too aware of the lack of female leads in superhero movies. Marvel fans have been begging for a Black Widow movie since the first Avengers film and so far there are no plans for it. It is difficult to get original movies with female leads to be created unless they are rom-coms.

I foresee wonder woman bringing in large scores of women. I foresee Wonder Woman being successful and therefore teaching the movie producers that action and superhero movies are – in fact – marketable to women. This, in turn, will result in more action movies with female leads, and will most likely result in more female roles in action movies – outside of the roles we are already accustomed to. This in turn, will lead to a larger female cinematic audience, which will hopefully result in more women involved in the production and creative levels.

 

Wonder Woman will be a feminist dream!

Maybe dream is a bit of an oversell, but I believe, based on my knowledge of wonder woman and my knowledge of this movie, that they will have strong feminist themes in the movie. And, if it is anything like the comics, this movie will not hide its feminism in undertones like Frozen and Tangled did, requiring the viewer to be very critical to learn the basic message. It will be in your face and quite possibly patronizing at times. We’ve already seen some feminism in the trailers, particularly in the scene where Etta Candy explains who she is to Diana, and Diana says it’s like a slave.

I’m very confident in the theming of this film, mostly due to the scene in the newest trailer of Diana climbing out of the trenches and walking into No-Man’s land, deflecting bullets off of her bracers. This woman, walking out into a land the men feared to enter. If that doesn’t set your little feminist heart alight, then I don’t know what will.

I just think of the message that she will be sending to young girls and women everywhere about their own power and determination to succeed. I just think about women and a mainstream message about women working side by side, hand in hand with men, each building each other up.

 

This will reinvigorate the DC Cinematic Universe

I think it is safe to assume that DC is expecting there to be a large Wonder Woman demand after this movie comes out. I think that, if they are smart, they are already planning to make Wonder Woman a key player in the future DC Cinematic Universe. They would be wise to give her a lot of screen time to appease the desire for Wonder Woman that will exist if the movie does well.

This will reinvigorate the salty fanboys who can’t get over the very logical and literary “Martha” scene. It will draw new fans in who have been waiting for a female headed superhero flick. It will give the DCCU the momentum it needs to propel forward.

 

If Wonder Woman fails, so does hope of female lead superhero movies.

If wonder woman does not succeed in the box office, or in our hearts, we may be looking at the last superhero film lead by a woman in a while. If it is determined that “female superheroes don’t sell” then the field will stick to that assumption. Studios will not be as willing to make a movie with a female superhero as the star. Marvel is already apprehensive about giving Black Widow a movie and she’s got as high off a following as the other Avengers. DC, fortunately, has faith in Wonder Woman, but if that faith is not rewarded, we may not see another female superhero in the titular role for a while.

If Wonder Woman succeeds, we can probably expect to see more female DCCU superheroes.

We already have confirmation that Supergirl was on the crashed Kryptonian ship that Superman finds in the arctic. We just don’t have her in universe. We have a large group of people who are obsessed with Catwoman and Poison Ivy comics. We have people straight up demanding a solo Harley Quinn movie. If Wonder Woman succeeds, we will get more of this. They may not get their own movies, but they will become important. We will be more likely to see Supergirl in a movie with Henry Cavil if Wonder Woman succeeds. Harley Quinn will be more likely to get her own movie if Wonder Woman succeeds.

If Wonder Woman succeeds, the DCCU will become much more queer.

Wonder Woman is not only a feminist icon, but a queer icon. DC’s current cinematic universe like to take a lot of direction from the Earth One comics. As I explain in my Wonder Woman: Earth One review, Wonder Woman: Earth One is incredibly queer. If the Universe continues to take creative freedoms from the Earth One stories, expect to see a LOT of queer characters in the future, at least in Wonder Woman titles. If there isn’t a queer character in the movie, I’d actually be surprised, even with its WW1 timestamp. Wonder woman is both a feminist icon and a queer icon.

 

Well, I have rambled on enough about Wonder Woman. Please take the time to view the trailer if you haven’t already (or if you have, too!), and buy some Wonder Woman comics! She’s great!

Image result for wonder woman earth one

 

Spoilers ahead for Superman: Earth One, Batman: Earth One, and Wonder Woman: Earth One.

I was a major fan of Superman: Earth One when I first read it sometime in 2011. I was such a fan, that when Man of Steel came out in 2013, I immediately recognized the similarities between the two stories (Man of Steel was Based on Superman: Earth One). Much to my delight, DC announced they would be doing Earth One renditions of other DC Superheroes. They released Batman: Earth One, which is currently unfinished with two volumes, and Teen Titans: Earth One, also presently with two volumes. The most recent release was wonder Woman: Earth One (with Aquaman and Flash in production!). I was pretty excited to read Batman: Earth One, and after reading, just had to get my hands on Wonder Woman: Earth One.

I had heard that Wonder Woman was not as good as the other Earth One stories, but I wanted to make that judgement for myself. I ordered it from Amazon (which in itself is ironic) and it arrived this past Sunday with Volume 3 of Superman: Earth One. As I’d been dying to see Earth One Superman face off with Zod, I read that one Sunday night. Last night, when my internet decided to fight with me, I decided to read Wonder Woman.

I was not disappointed. Well, sort of. I was disappointed because, unlike Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman doesn’t really do much in her story. However, what I wasn’t disappointed about was the feminist, queer story that I read. Let me start with the bad of the story. Which really isn’t much, and really is only bad when related to other Earth One stories.

The BAD

Superman: Earth One focuses on Clark Kent, with his amazing abilities, trying to find his place in the world. He’s smarter than the smartest scientists, stronger than the toughest body builders, more deadly than the best trained military – yet he cannot find a place in this world. When an alien menace, Tyrell, arrives, searching for the last Son of Krypton, Clark Kent emerges as Superman to take down the menace (and, in turn, discover his true calling).

Batman: Earth One focuses on a fledgling Dark Knight who is trying to uncover the sleazy underworld of Gotham City and discover who put a hit out on his parents. He’s got his epically savage butler, Alfred, as his partner in crime, who continually urges him to bring guns to gun fights where Bruce Wayne insists on bringing flying razors, even when the guys with guns tend to wallop him. Bruce eventually uncovers who the criminal mastermind is and wins the day!

Wonder Woman: Earth One focuses on Princess Diana, who lives on the feminist island paradise of Paradise Island (was that exposition necessary?). The Amazonian society left “Man’s World” and created their paradise in the Bermuda Triangle after escaping from the slavery of the “man-god” Hercules. The story starts with Diana facing a trial before her mother and other Amazonian sisters. She tells her account of what she did, and the story takes place as each witness tells a part of the story in the trial. Each year, they have a three-day festival to commemorate their liberation from Man’s world. However, Diana is not like her Amazonian sisters and has a whole mess of special powers they do not, because her mother claimed she was a clay statue turned to life by the gods. Anyway, Diana always plays a special role in this ceremony, but this year she stumbled upon Steve Trevor and decided to take him home to help him, since the Amazonian healing technology only works on women. Diana defeats the strongest of her sisters in combat, being named the “Wonder Woman” and claims the invisible jet as her prize. When her mother smells the scent of man on her, she realizes what Diana is going to do and sends a hunting part after her. Diana escapes and manages to bring Steve Trevor to a hospital in the USA. She goes home after seeing how bad the men treat the women in Man’s World. But not before her mother sends Medusa the Gorgon, to turn Steve to Stone so he can never tell of what he knows of the Amazons. In her time in America, Diana saves a bus full of sorority women on their way to spring break and befriends them, eventually being named an “honorary sister.” They pretty much teach Diana all bout feminism in Man’s world. Then Steve gets turned into stone, before Diana even knows the gorgon is there. Then she surrenders to the Amazonian hunting party to stand trial.

 

Do you notice a difference between those three stories, other than the fact that I went into a lot more detail about Wonder Woman than the other stories? Well, the main difference is that while Superman and Batman start their stories taking on supervillains and crime bosses, Diana starts her story convincing her mother to let her go outside and play. Now, the way it is done is good, in my opinion, but it’s still important that Diana’s first step is nowhere near the first steps of her male counterparts. It’s ironic that a story with so much feminism in it fails to so much as show that Diana is a contender. Diana is part of the “Holy Trinity” of DC Comics and should be regarded as one of the ablest and most fearsome women in the world. It’s unfortunate that her first outing into the grittier world of Earth One is barely heroic and barely shows her skills. It’s ironic that it contains its titular character bound and chained for a good portion of the story.

 

The Good

Image result for wonder woman earth one

This is a feminist masterpiece (other than what was mentioned above). It has everything you can think of. Hell, it even has man-hating radical feminists. It talks about body shaming, sexuality, and women’s roles. It puts sorority women in a loving and supportive light.

The most important conflict in this story is between Diana and her mother, Hippolyta. Hippolyta is the woman who killed Hercules and freed the Amazons from slavery. She was enslaved by men. She was used by men like an object. This created her hatred of Man’s World. We even learn that Hippolyta literally created Diana to be her weapon used to destroy Man’s World. Hippolyta is that rad fem most feminists despise being compared to. A lot of other subtle things lead me to identify Hippolyta as the radical feminist here.

Hippolyta has a magic mirror she uses to look at the world. At one point early on in the story, she shows Diana an image of a woman in underwear, wearing a collar and leash held by a clothed man, and sitting over a food dish. She tells Diana that that is how men treat women in Man’s World. Clearly, she is taking a snapshot of a situation and using it to fit her means. Is it possible that woman was actually enslaved into bondage? Yes. But most sex positive people know that sometimes women actively participate in role playing, S&M and bondage activities like that with their lovers. Was the woman Diana was shown a slave or a submissive? We won’t know, and I don’t think Hippolyta cares. Which is ironic, because Hippolyta and the Amazonian culture regularly say that willful submission is a sign of love.

When Diana uses the purple rays to restore Steve Trevor from his stony fate, Hippolyta is shocked that the purple rays worked on him. Diana tells her that she simply re-calibrated it, something Hippolyta never even cared to try doing. And it clearly only took Diana a few moments to do so, as she hadn’t had access to purple rays until just a moment before.

The main conflict between Diana and her mother is that of choice. Diana wishes to choose her role, rather than have it be assigned to her from her mother. Hippolyta believes that women have only one role, and that is to be better than men and to rule.

Diana meets Betty (Earth One’s Etta Candy), one of the sorority sisters she rescues, and Betty is a slightly overweight – but healthy – bisexual woman. Betty is a symbol of modern feminism. When brought before Hippolyta at the trial, Hippolyta and other amazons scorn her for her body. Even Diana makes a comment about it when first meeting her. Betty is always mature yet firm in her response that she loves her body, is healthy, and is happy. Diana accepts that, but Hippolyta does not.

Betty is more than just body positivity;  she is also sex positivity. She talks about her crushes on both men and women, and about how Paradise Island is a kinky lesbian sex island. I can foresee Betty’s character being the most sex positive of all the characters in future volumes.

But that’s not all Betty does. When Hippolyta is using Betty and other women as examples of why Man’s World is cruel to women, Betty fires back. Betty tells Hippolyta that the patriarchy may be bad, but they (women) are fighting against it and trying to make change. Betty uses actual feminist language to counter Hippolyta’s insults. Betty is probably the hero of this story, in terms of theme. (And well, Diana doesn’t really do anything except save Betty’s sorority sisters, so maybe Betty is the bigger hero after all).

Aside from all of that, this is a primarily female story. Steve Trevor and Hercules are the only men who actually have names in the story (there may be a named soldier somewhere but they play no real role in this volume). This story is about women of all different backgrounds. There is Diana, the social outcast who wants to leave home and see the world. There’s Hippolyta, the vengeful, bitter women with a chip on her shoulder. There’s Betty, the young, optimistic, positive and happy one. There is Nubia, Diana’s black Amazonian sister who struggled to understand her then defends her in the end. There are Betty’s sorority sisters who support Betty and Diana equally, even though they are pretty opposite people.

 

But that is not all. This story is also incredibly queer. First, we have both visual and verbal confirmation that Paradise Island is pretty much a lesbian paradise. In one scene, we see the Amazonian women asleep, at different levels of undress, after an insinuated orgy. Diana tells Steve that she left her lover on the island to save him. Betty tells us that she has crushes on men and women. This is such a queer book and I love it.

We have Diana, who at this point has shown no interest in men, and is therefore only confirmed Lesbian. We have the rest of the Amazons, who have had no contact with men for three thousand years and most likely do not lust after them. We have Betty, who is surely bisexual, and will hopefully use that language in the future volumes.

And again we get back to Betty. Betty is the one most interested in the sexual themes of the story. She is the one commenting about the Paradise Island kinky lesbian sex. She is the one talking about her crushes. She is the every-woman, and she is teaching Diana what it is like to be a woman in Man’s World.

 

And if that isn’t enough, Steve Trevor takes the cake. After being saved from stone by Diana, Steve is wrapped in the lasso of truth and asked questions by Hippolyta. When he tells them he lied to his superiors to protect them, Hippolyta assumes it is because he lusts after Diana. He tells her, under the truth of the lasso, that he did it because his ancestors were slaves (Btw, Steve is a pretty badass Black Man) to men who thought they were better than others; men with too much power. And all of a sudden you realize that this story is about so much more than just feminism. Steve says he hid their secret because he understands why they don’t trust man’s world, since he doesn’t, either.

Image result for wonder woman earth one steve trevor

So the story may not be too epic, but it is still powerful. It makes powerful social commentary – commentary you don’t need to make with a superpowered fight or badass moves. Commentary that I hope we get to see metaphorically in the future of this series, hopefully introducing Cheetah with her own idea of feminism.

This story brings you back to the golden Age Wonder Woman, but takes the terrible tropes and flips them on their head. I strongly recommend it! (even after all these spoilers!)

supergirl

It’s finally here. Supergirl has seen the silver screen, or at least a taste of it. She’s been picked up by CBS with a “series confirmation.” If this does not make your feminist heart swell up with extreme excitement, you need to think about this a little more. I’m going to go over all of the reasons why this is amazing:

She is Female.

Take a moment and think about all of the superhero movies you have seen in the recent fifteen years. Hell, think of any superhero movie or television show. Aside from the entirely abysmal Catwoman movie (which ended up being about makeup?), and the less than magnificent Elektra, the gender palettes have been entirely monochromatic, at least where protagonists are concerned. We have Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Green Lantern, Spiderman, Fantastic 4, X-Men, Daredevil, Smallville, Arrow, Gotham, The Flash, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the rest are all spearheaded by a male lead. He’s the most important one in the movie/show. There are women present, but they are not in charge. They are there, essentially, to serve the protagonists (as any secondary character is). This isn’t a problem, except that the women never take larger roles. Check out Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube channel if you don’t understand what I mean. There are plenty of other blogs, vlogs, and documentaries about female tropes in media, like MissRepresentation. you can find a bunch of different ones. Women’s roles are never center stage. They are always there to support the male protagonist. Having a show where the Superhero is female, and therefore the one who is in charge, the one who is making decisions and being important, is good. Not to say that female characters in these other shows are useless. Chloe Sullivan and Lois Lane in Smallville are often the ones pushing the story forward, while Clark is trying to keep up. But it’s not their story. It’s his.

This will be entirely Kara’s story. If they were going to stick to the comics, she’d have a lot of interaction with her cousin, but the show can have that be distant. He can be like a mentor to her who gives her advice, because essentially he’s got his own stuff to do. The release referred to Superman as her “famous cousin,” which means he is established in this world. It would even be funny if people mistook her for superman sometimes, or asked for her instead of Superman sometimes. Or, if on occasion, he asked for her help, and she just zipped over and solved his problem faster than he could have and then goes home.

She’s not Superman.

Some people will roll their eyes because they think Supergirl is Female Superman. She isn’t. She has similar powers, but varied powers. The main difference is that Kara (Supergirl) grew up on Krypton. She experienced Kryptonian culture and technology. She experienced the destruction of her planet. She experienced the deaths of all the people she ever cared for. You think Batman’s back story is tragic? Get over it. All of her worst fears were realized. In many of the stories, she left Krypton wanting one thing: to find her cousin. And then she got to Earth and it took years to find him. Depending on the iteration you refer to, she has a few different origins. Most of them have her end up in some sort of cryogenic stasis until Cal-El is at least older than her, so when she awakens, she’s looking for her little cousin, and cannot find him, and some man claims that he is the little boy she’s looking for. Crazy stuff, right? What an emotional roller coaster! Another thing about her is that, since she grew up Kryptonian, she identifies as Kryptonian. Therefore, she has full access to all of her Kryptonian abilities. Superman, on the other hand, is limited because he does not Identify as Kryptonian. He identifies as Human. The more he accepts that he isn’t a human, the more powerful he becomes. Kara doesn’t have that issue. Kara doesn’t have any identity issues. Her issue is that she’s a proud Kryptonian and she is trying to find a way to show that.

The Superfamily is All About Culture

As I mentioned, Supergirl is trying to find a way to express Kryptonian heritage in a human world. This is such an important issue. Our country is highly focused on race and culture right now. Supergirl wants to show off everything she can do as a Kryptonian, but its difficult because that makes her not human. That separates her, and it makes her an outcast. Even when she uses her abilities for good, she’s still different. We need a show about someone trying to adjust to our culture. We need a show about culture shock, and how it affects you. We need a show about how amazing it is to learn about and accept another culture, even if you don’t identify with it. This is very important.

There are some things that could go wrong, but this has the potential to be amazing! We’ll have a female lead with most likely female co-leads. This will open the door for other female Superheroes. This could open the eyes of Hollywood and let them know that a well written female protagonist can sell. Please, take some time to support Supergirl if CBS finally airs it. She deserves it. Women deserve it.

supermangirl