Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Wonder Woman That Wasn't

Did DC turn down an all-ages Wonder Woman comic by Darwyn Cooke?

"This year J. Bone and myself pitched an all-ages Wonder Woman book aimed at young female readers. In other words, I wanted to give them at least 12 issues of a Wonder Woman book that any parent could give their child. They couldn’t have been less interested."


You know, for a guy who practically redesigned the DCU (a template that, in terms of the new Brave and Bold cartoon, they are still using today) and sold tons of comics & ancillary products -- you'd think Darwyn could write his ticket at DC. I just don't get it.

When New Frontier was being made, I remember hearing rumblings in the office about the "fat" Wonder Woman. That Wonder Woman was drawn too "fat." Too muscular. Because, of course, the most powerful woman in the world can't have a corresponding body type. She has magic muscles that are invisible, squashed down into another dimension, affording her a svelte, Keira Knightley figure.

But you know, if Darwyn & friends did a revamp on Wonder Woman right now -- for all-ages or not -- it would sell through the roof.

via Journalista


  1. Now I'm depressed - I'd be ALL OVER a Darwyn Cooke/J. Bone Wonder Woman book - And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

    And what's really horrifying is that it was not simply "turned down" but that DC "couldn't have been less interested"...Go, DC, go.

  2. New Frontier was so GOOD looking and way more interesting to me than any of the comic book events DC put out this year. (Of course, I am someone who loved the DC heroes as cartoons before I got into the books.) I would snap up a Darwyn Cooke WW book in a second. I would even PAY for it. (Okay, you got me, sometimes I download, but only because I'm poor.)

  3. I'll give DC an advance right now on the hard cover collection of that Wonder Woman series. Absolute New Frontier is one of the treasures of my collection. For DC to not even be interested in something Cooke is pitching them is beyond baffling.

  4. When is she PD?

    Anyhow-- I <3 all those all ages stuff, & I can't get that they aren't bigger.

  5. Now i admit, turning this book down seems insane.

    But shouldn't an appropriate person at DC respond to Cooke's assertion? Maybe there's a reason for the indifference?

    Mind you, I don't think there is a justifiable reason, but I'd love to hear what DC's Official Response is to something like this.

    Oh well, the Cooke WW proposal can sit alongside the Waid/Wieringo Aquaman reboot in the pantheon of Great Comics Projects That Coulda Been.

  6. This is a major bummer. I can only assume DC has another all-ages WW book in the pipeline (Lord, it better be damned cool to trump Cooke) or they want to make more profitable use of his talent (assuming he has an exclusive deal).

    Still, even if either was the case, you'd think Cooke = major DC icon would make DC do cartwheels! I hope Cooke prevails with that book some day, as I'd love to give it to my first grader daughter!

  7. That Wonder Woman was awesome. That's as close to a definitive and simplified take on the character as I've ever seen. And she was actually taller than Superman!

    What the heck is Cooke working on now? Those IDW Parker novel adaptations? How could DC let him slip through their fingers like that?

  8. Hm, they put out that all-ages Supergirl title and I'd much rather read something by Cooke.

    Wonder Woman is one of those tricky characters for me. I know her series could be great but it seems like no one knows what to do with her. Perez's reboot felt the best because if gave her a very firm niche in the DCU. Incorporating all of the mythology was wonderful. Just don't know what other angles they can work the concept from.

  9. I'd buy it. I think Cooke's NF version of WW is probably my favorite look for her ever. I like other versions as well, but I love that one.

    A Cooke and Bone WW would be pretty great, I imagine.

  10. I once had an idea for a series of picture books, for comics fans who had grown up and wanted to introduce their pre-reading kids to their favorite heroes. I have two kids of my own and it was really depressing me that I could barely even take them into a comics store, much less buy them current titles about their favorite titles.

    I pitched the idea to one of the higher-ups at DC, and he said it was "a great idea, but look what I have to compete with." And here he gestured to the wall of murder, rape and psychological struggle they're pushing these days. His point was that DC is so invested in getting their market-share of 40-year-old unmarried men to buy their comics that they didn't have the time or editorial ability to develop a new audience of children.

    It seems like a damned shame.

  11. Wow, that's incredibly disappointing. I don't know how DC wouldn't think that this would work, but if there was some apprehension, you'd figure that they'd at least green light a mini series or one shot, just to test the waters. I mean, this is Darwyn Cooke! Working on one of their icons!! How could they not have any interest in something like that? Or would they rather he took on Batman or Superman? Is it because it was Wonder Woman? Is it because it was an all ages project? Or, as Val suggests, was it because Mr. Cooke's take on WW wasn't well-liked at DC? This baffles me...


  12. I'd buy it... and I'm hardly a WW fan. But Cooke? Oh yeah.

  13. There's a lot of DC choices I don't understand in the least.

  14. Anonymous3:41 PM

    Perhaps DC turned down an all-ages WW because of her origins and the original intentions of William Moulton Marston. From the Wikipedia entry on the man. Regarding WW's extensive bondage imagery in the early books by Marston:

    "The only hope for peace is to teach people who are full of pep and unbound force to enjoy being bound ... Only when the control of self by others is more pleasant than the unbound assertion of self in human relationships can we hope for a stable, peaceful human society. ... Giving to others, being controlled by them, submitting to other people cannot possibly be enjoyable without a strong erotic element".[7]

    About male readers, he later wrote: "Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves!"[8]

    As well, he said: "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." This statement seems more innocuous, but in light of his views on how men would (should) receive such a strong woman, it's hard to fully endorse without caveat.

    My wife is a Wonder Woman fan, but only based on the show and current comics. As she researched the origins of the icon, she was a bit shocked by the original implications. Not that a woman should be strong, but that the strength should be sexually dominant and blatant.

    While i have no doubt Darwyn could make a GREAT all-ages book featuring WW, I'm always a bit surprised when people disregard her feminist roots. She was created to represent an ideal of power and, specifically, dominance. WW is NOT a "conservative" character. The question is, should she be (have been) made into one? That goes the other way when looking at the changes made to other iconic characters.

  15. I just found it interesting that Cooke made the reveal on Big Hollywood, rather than the usual news sources. Hopefully they'll follow up on that soon.

  16. As a father of two girls, I hate DC, so, so, so very much. Idiots.

    (p.s. My six year old daughter loves the way WW looks in the New Frontier cartoon movie. She loves that she is bigger than Superman. And yeah, I cover her eyes during the shooting-people's-faces-off-scenes.)

  17. Anonymous4:52 PM

    When I first read Cooke's The Spirit, the writing hit me like a ton of bricks.

    Link's broken, btw.

  18. Reading New Frontier, I loved the look for WW. Definitely made a cool looking action figure. As for her being fat, no way. The picture about is the absolute definition of an hourglass shape.

  19. They turned that down? Seems almost the same as turning down free money!

    And sklabah, all that stuff is true but that doesn't mean it has to be part of every incarnation of Wonder Woman. I doubt it had any bearing on this decision. Most people don't know about it and if the domination stuff is totally expurgated-- and I'm sure it would be in an "all-ages" book-- then it doesn't really exist in terms of subtext for that particular version. It's all in how the character is written and presented. She's been kid-friendly before and has been in various incarnations for years and years without displaying any of those ideas.

    I mean, Dr. Light eventually appeared in a kid's comic, post-Identity Crisis. Was he a rapist in that as well?

    It's much more likely they looked at the art and story proposals and just decided they didn't fit whatever business model and overall direction they've got going on at DC these days. Which is a shame, because I'd rather see this book with this team as opposed to any of DC's regular ongoing monthlies.

    And, like rob!, I'd love to hear DC's official response as to why they didn't go for this. I doubt they'll say, "Because we like dark, dreary, barely competent schlock that doesn't make sense and also doesn't sale."

    But who knows, maybe honesty is in?

  20. I think DC didn't do it because they knew it would take years to recoup their investment. That book wouldn't sell 10,000 copies in the Direct Market. And it would be a year before DC considered putting it out in a format that the bookstores and outside vendors might sell it in.

    And without an animated series backing it up, it would be lost on the racks.

    It sucks; but that's the reality of comics publishing today.

  21. My 6 and 9 year old kids really enjoy comics, but my daughter has been very female conscious for 2 years. And kid comics with female heroes are few. (At least they recently debuted Supergirl, although I'm not crazy about it.) So, sadly, for the most part, she waits for those issues in which the female in the group books has a prominent role.

    And my daughter loves Wonder Woman, which makes this news all the more disappointing for me.

    It's also disappointing that these titles are viewed as girl books because I think boys would enjoy them as well. My 9 year old son enjoys the Supergirl book. Plus, it's important that boys benefit, too, from seeing girls as the lead in books. The media makes it harder for me as a parent when they don't provide examples of strong, heroic women.

  22. I was going to make a sarcastic post about how no-one wants to look at fat chicks, but I've decided to keep it and use it on my DC job application form instead.

    I sort of assumed there was already something like this on the market already, given that DC have a huge ranges of kids' titles on the shelves (many of which seem to do better than their 'official' DCU counterparts), this seemed like a no-brainer after the Superman and Batman all-ages titles.

    At the very least, I'd have thought they'd get to Wonder Woman before they got to Supergirl.

  23. shit i would have read that, the one shot story he did with her and the black canary as amazing. and hey she stopped superman and batman from killing eachother, entertaining!
    i feel comics in general would be doing better if cooke as writing more of them.

  24. I don't want to say more than I should, but I've spoken to Darwyn Cooke about New Frontier, and I will say that the final product was something even less amazing than his original pitch, which editorial watered down a lot.

    This conversation took place just a couple days before DC and Darwyn parted ways, which was not an amicable parting. What baffles me is that DC will chop the legs out from under someone like Cooke and then apparently let Grant Morrison play Boggle with their continuity no questions asked.

    It's a house of cards, I swear.

  25. If DC rejected this concept of Wonder Woman simply because of the way she was drawn, it can't see the forest for the trees. Why be afraid of creating new WW fans among younger generations?

  26. Well maybe they thought it would fail ala Minx.

  27. Anonymous6:43 PM

    "If DC rejected this concept of Wonder Woman simply because of the way she was drawn"

    Sadly, I honestly don't think it was because of that.