Why Wonder Woman Will Eventually Take Her Pants Off
Costume changes in the modern age are a futile endeavor. Whether we like them or not, they never stick around. They’re really like comic book deaths in that way: they are publicity stunts designed to raise eyebrows, bring attention to characters who have been languishing, and to eventually get the masses longing nostalgically for the status quo of days gone by. Remember the Iron Spider costume? Remember the mullet Superman wore after he came back from the dead?
This is why the news that Wonder Woman has finally put some pants on has me going meh. Much like Marvel’s decision to rebrand the original Captain America as Steve Rogers: Super Soldier, DC’s choice to recast Diana as a “street fighter” in Jim Lee couture looks like a publicity stunt, smells like a publicity stunt, and, therefore, must be a publicity stunt. A year from now, there’ll be another stunt designed to get her back into her familiar, iconic swimsuit. If I had any money to bet, I’d bet on that.
Now, sure, the writer behind these sweeping changes to Wonder Woman is J. Michael Straczynski, the same guy who, among many other major updates, brought the aforementioned Iron Spider costume to the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. So, yes, he’s well known for shaking things up. But the big two publishers are just as well known for un-shaking things that don’t fit well with corporate’s expectations for a character. Just look at what Joe Quesada and the higher-ups at Marvel did to all of the nuances Stracyznski introduced to the Spider-verse after he was gone.
“What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?” asks Stracyznski in an interview with the New York Times. Well, that’s a dumb question, sir. It’s akin to asking why Ronald’s been wearing the same clown suit for forty-seven years. Both characters aren’t really characters at all. They’re corporate symbols and, like it or not, that is what they will always be.