Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bold Fashion Choices--The New, New (New) Wonder Woman

Well, since it is apparently Ape Law that all comic bloggers respond to Wonder Woman's new costume, let me just slip on my lucky blogging shirt and take a crack at it. (editor's note--it's true, folks, he really does have a lucky blogging shirt. Pathetic, huh?)

Now, I don't know spit about fashions and such, so I'm spectacularly ill-equipped to pass judgment here. So I won't, aside from saying that it doesn't completely suck.

And I won't comment too much on JMS' text piece explaining the change, which manages to be both ridiculously ignorant of DC history and also cloyingly patronizing ("What woman only wears one outfit for 70 years? What woman doesn't accessorize?") Really, DC--this is the guy you want shepherding this franchise??

But here's the key, I think--it's not a DC costume. It's a Marvel costume.

It's something the Black Widow would wear. Or the Morrison-era X-Men. Sue Richards or Crystal during the 1990s. I can see She-Hulk rocking that ensemble.

But DC? They've always been brighter, shinier, more colorful.

And there's the rub. Compare the splash page from the Simone/Perez story in Wonder Woman #600...

...with the first shot from the JMS/Kramer story:

It sure seems that DC has adopted the modern "Marvel style" of coloring, specifically the "done by a blind retiree on his Commodore 64 with the help of a spastic helper monkey." This style of coloring requires that the color palette in every scene be as washed out as the latest film from a big-name director who can no longer figure out how to make symbolic points except by slapping filters over the lens, and then the film is shown in a cineplex with a cheap-ass manager who thinks that letting the projector bulbs go dim is somehow saving energy, so watching the movie is like trying to experience the world through 4 sets of polarized sunglasses simultaneously. Color so muted you might as well just reprint this in a DC Showcase Presents volume right now, because it's only one half-step removed from black & white already.

Hence the new Wonder Woman costume, and specifically the way it's actually used--in action it's very different from the Jim Lee concept sketch. Dull down whatever primary colors there are as much as possible, always show it in half shadow, and for heaven's sake never let anything look exciting. Put her in a world where the sun never shines (even the flashback to "paradise" is an overcast day, for Gaea's sake!). It's a Marvel costume and a Marvel world, not a DC costume or a DC world, and one gets the sense that it's a first step in DC's plan to see if they can get away with the bland, flavorless coloring Marvel's largely been attached to the past 5 years or so.

So that's my only real complaint about the costume--you've taken one of the more colorful characters in one of the more colorful universes, and turned her into--

--a woman all in black fighting a bunch of guys in gray suits against a gray background.

Woo. Hoo.


Whalehead King said...

"a bunch of guys in gray suits against a gray background."

Nice summary.

Mark Engblom said...

Ya nailed it, Snell! More flailing from Desperation Comics (DC).

By the way, did you get my email?

De said...

Thanks for tackling the systemic problem of this change, Snell. I wanted to very much comment on DC's "Bold New Direction" being the major catalyst but I just got mad and I can never type coherently when angry.

DC's shift to ever darker storytelling is troubling on more levels than it ever was when Marvel started playing in that pool. Mark's comment pretty much nails it: Desperation Comics.

notintheface said...

Actually it's more of a DONNA TROY costume than a Diana one.

ALthough this does kind of remind me of another Marvel event. Remember HEROES REBORN?

snell said...


Please don't frighten the children...

notintheface said...

Captain America with breasts...