Posted at 10:00 AM May 05, 2010
By Jill Pantozzi
Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman-the Trinity of DC Comics. Or at least that's what everyone says. In reality, it's more like The Couple, and not the boy-on-girl kind. Superman and Batman have always been more popular than their female counterpart. Why is that exactly?
Take a minute and think about Wonder Woman. What comes to mind? Most likely a strong, beautiful woman with a colorful costume. Comic book fans know her as the daughter of Amazons, born from clay of Themyscira itself and sent into the world of men. She prays to Greek gods and goddesses (and sometimes fights them) and is a member of the Justice League of America. But tons, and I mean TONS, of non-comic readers love Wonder Woman because of what she's come to represent.
Created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston, an early champion for feminism himself, Wonder Woman has become more of a symbol than a superhero. It's easy to see why - she's brave, powerful, self-reliant, honorable and has a huge respect for human life. Those are all qualities to look up to and many that women have thought of in tough times. (See Wonder Woman Day). Not to mention the iconography of the costume itself.
Marston's original concept for the character: "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman." After Marston's death, Wonder Woman went through evolutions in both the comics and for television that put the focus more on her female attributes than anything else.
Sadly, Wonder Woman's comic continually sells less than Superman or Batman. At the very least, the male members of the Trinity have two ongoing titles at all times and that's not counting their protégés, Supergirl or Robin. So why does Wonder Woman only have one? My opinion is, very few creators truly understand her (hell, I don't even truly understand her!), thus making her extremely difficult to write.
The same can be said for why a live-action Wonder Woman film has yet to be made. I'm not audacious enough to think I have the answer. Wonder Woman is practically impossible to cast or write. She's almost completely selfless, rarely having an agenda to suit her personal wants or needs. And maybe that's the problem. Is Wonder Woman too good for the world she loves so much, or do creators lack the freedom to let the Amazon loose and see what she can really do?