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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default CBR: Wonder of Wonders - Nov 6, 2009

    This week's WONDER OF WONDERS takes a look at Diana Prince, Wonder Woman's sometimes secret identity, and argues that the long ignored civilian persona is mandatory for the Amazonian princess' mental well-being.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Elder Member Gail Simone's Avatar
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    Very, very cool piece!

    Martin was finalist (In my mind, I never actually let anyone know about the column idea until it was decided who the three would be) to be a regular Wonder Of Wonders columnist, due to his excellent and insightful review columns.

    He has graciously written two guest columns, this is the first, and our regular columnists return next week...hopefully the other will run soon.


    Great job, Martin!
    Black Canary owns your world.

  3. #3
    Did You See Her West Mantooth's Avatar
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    "working girl - independent, capable, smart, funny, sexy... "

    See. to me, it sounds like you do want Wonder Woman to be Wonder Woman all the time.The only way secret I.d's work is if you're nothing like the actual hero.

    The change of clothes only serves to allow her to be Wonder Woman buying grocieries or chewing the fat with friends.

    I mean, can she not have normal friends as a diplomat? Other government officials who she can have lunch with and talk about other things besides work? People that live in her apartment? That's the problem I have with the Ferdinand character or the Gorillas. They stick out to remind the reader that this is WW and nothing else despite her not punching a villain.


    I'm not saying D. Prince is a bad idea, I love it and wish it would return, but I don't see how it adds anything in the scenario placed as she's not relatable without it.


    I would buy your argument about the Kapatelis except all characters eventually become fodder for villains to attack no matter how tangential they are to the superhero. Tim's father, Johnathan and Martha, Lois' sister ,or Lana Lang. It's just comic language.
    Greg Rucka is a strong independent black woman who don't need no man.-LETO

  4. #4
    Shield of the True North CaptainCanada's Avatar
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    Still remain opposed to the ID. Diana's one of the many superheroes (Iron Man, Captain America, and the X-Men being others) who work better without them.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are!"

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  5. #5
    Somewhat Wondie-obsessed CarolStrick's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, you make a good argument for the secret ID. I say "unfortunately" because I much prefer Diana without it.

    Yes, I can see how romances would come easier in disguise, but I've always been iffy about romance founded on a lie of some level. Of course then comes the "will they tell or not?" tension and that's good for a few issues or decades.

    But I've gotten a kick out of Diana flouncing down the street wearing awful spangled civilian clothes. I think it's an unusual take on a character to have them be themselves, fancy super ID and all, 24/7. Perhaps I want to know how celebrities really live. I mean, I can see Diana hiring a posse of guards just to keep the curious away from her. But she does love to wear those spangles--or she did until the Rucka era--so she must love her celebrity and status. This sets her apart from so many other capes.

    A secret ID for Diana should be invoked imho only when she either has to go deep undercover, a "Matches Malone" type of guise, or when she truly wants to ditch the celebrity of her spangled self for a vacation, in which case she'd really disguise herself and let loose. We could get stories about how she'd meet a romantic interest in disguise and then contrast that to her meeting the same person as WW; that'd be interesting for an issue or two. But any more than that and it would rapidly become a case of Seen That; Move Along.

    Can't get worked up about the importance of Diana having a Secret ID. Really hate the super-spy thing she's got going now.

    However, it seems to me that there's a horde of Wondie fans who love, love, LOVE Diana Prince...

  6. #6
    Stiff upper lip, chaps. Mars Getsoian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by West Mantooth View Post
    I would buy your argument about the Kapatelis except all characters eventually become fodder for villains to attack no matter how tangential they are to the superhero. Tim's father, Johnathan and Martha, Lois' sister ,or Lana Lang. It's just comic language.
    What's always saddening to me is how much that's contrary to Diana's founding concepts.

    You look at the Golden Age Wondy, and she doesn't really have a secret ID for any real reason. All of her friends are friends with Wonder Woman, and far from trying to protect them from danger, she drags them into it. She's got this whole whooping pile of sorority girls who capture and beat up bad guys with her. Wonder Woman was supposed to encourage kids to stand up and be heroic, and therefore Wonder Woman's heroism was supposed to be fun. Something anyone could do, something that was enjoyable and positive. If he'd made it a sacrifice, or made heroism something dangerous that posed a risk to the hero's loved ones, that would have made heroism less appealing, less communal, less something anyone can and everyone should do. Wonder Woman didn't hide herself in order to protect her friends, Wonder Woman embraced her friends and taught them to fight back and protect themselves.

    If Diana's friends are in danger, if she's making people's lives worse for having been in them and has to struggle or lie or sacrifice to prevent it, that's defeating the whole purpose.

  7. #7
    Did You See Her West Mantooth's Avatar
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    ^^^

    Again, WW isn't living in a bubble and modern comics deal in angsty grit for better or worse. So whther or not WW is harming her friends would be too obvious not to be used.
    Greg Rucka is a strong independent black woman who don't need no man.-LETO

  8. #8

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    Empathy. That's what a secret identity is for---for the reader to identify with. Superman without Clark Kent is too aloof, too alien, too perfect.

    One could make a similar case for Princess Diana.

    Which means---if they DO let her bring the secret identity back---making Diana Prince a super-efficient head of a secret agent squad might NOT be a good idea. You're just exchanging one fantasy---the super-hero one---for a secret agent. Basically, Wonder Woman's secret identity became Modesty Blaise. Neither one is good for reader identification.

    She adopted that secret identity to learn what it was like to function on a human-level---and then immediately became head of a squad of agents in a secret government facility. Hardly a way to learn how to empathize with the woman on the street.

    At least in the Golden Age, Diana started as a nurse, then became a secretary, and then a WAC who became a lieutenant---real jobs, nonglamorous, non-wish-fulfillment jobs that made some sense.

    I don't want her to become a waitress at Taco Hut again, necessarily, but Diana Prince needs something a little more down to earth.

    ---Al

  9. #9
    Elder Member Black Atom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by West Mantooth View Post
    ^^^

    Again, WW isn't living in a bubble and modern comics deal in angsty grit for better or worse. So whther or not WW is harming her friends would be too obvious not to be used.
    And has been, as the columnist points out by referencing the awful crap that has befallen the Kapatelises because of their association with Diana. Not that I'm using that to advocate a secret ID--it's one of the things I'm mostly indifferent about.
    "I think we can help. Mercedes is black; I'm gay. We make culture." - Kurt, Glee.

  10. #10
    Elder Member Black Atom's Avatar
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    I must be in the minority because I like the DOMA job.
    "I think we can help. Mercedes is black; I'm gay. We make culture." - Kurt, Glee.

  11. #11
    Did You See Her West Mantooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alschroeder View Post
    Empathy. That's what a secret identity is for---for the reader to identify with. Superman without Clark Kent is too aloof, too alien, too perfect.


    She adopted that secret identity to learn what it was like to function on a human-level---and then immediately became head of a squad of agents in a secret government facility. Hardly a way to learn how to empathize with the woman on the street.

    At least in the Golden Age, Diana started as a nurse, then became a secretary, and then a WAC who became a lieutenant---real jobs, nonglamorous, non-wish-fulfillment jobs that made some sense.

    Maybe this is my bias, I'll gladly wish to be told wrong, but this is what the argument for Diana Prince seems to stem from for some people, imo.

    A regular low job= being human.

    As if FDR or the Kennedy's don't have empathy because they're one of the regular people.

    Bruce's Wayne's billionaire status plays importantly to the idea of isolation and gives him the money to fund his adventures. I don't see how people want WW to be the warm, sympathetic being and not cold,distant, or calculating but in the same breathe think Diana Prince makes her understand what it's like to be human. Either she does understand or she doesn't. If it's the latter, then by all means Diana Prince is "hella" necessary.

    And yes I said, 'hella" after 1999.
    Greg Rucka is a strong independent black woman who don't need no man.-LETO

  12. #12
    Handsome Hound of Steel Mart's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words Gail, and the chance to have my say.

    Quote Originally Posted by West Mantooth View Post
    I mean, can she not have normal friends as a diplomat? Other government officials who she can have lunch with and talk about other things besides work? People that live in her apartment? That's the problem I have with the Ferdinand character or the Gorillas. They stick out to remind the reader that this is WW and nothing else despite her not punching a villain.
    Yes, she should be able to have friends, neighbours and the like, but so long as everyone knows Diana as Wonder Woman, she's going to be beseiged by folk wanting a piece of her, as opposed to friends who will help her relax.

    I actually found Ferdinand one of the better Greg Rucka-run supporting cast as he had more character than the human types. Perhaps the aides would have become more interesting with time; I think their being tied to a single scenario made it harder for me to differentiate between them.
    Comic bletherings by me at: http://dangermart.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    That guy from Puerto Rico Sijo's Avatar
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    I agree with virtually everything in this article- EXCEPT that Diana has to be Diana Prince. Unlike, say, Clark Kent, Diana Prince has no real life; and her name!? It's almost like Superman calling himself Super Mann! Yes, Diana NEEDS a secret identity- mostly so she can interact with people as something more than the mighty, irresistible heroine and princess that she is so much of the time- but that identity *has* to be significantly different- an average woman as opposed to a secret agent, and with a circle of *normal* people to relate to. Not spies or gorillas. And she could, I dunno, change her hair at least? I hear women like doing that so why not Diana?

  14. #14
    Handsome Hound of Steel Mart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolStrick View Post
    Yes, I can see how romances would come easier in disguise, but I've always been iffy about romance founded on a lie of some level.
    I see that point of view entirely, but for me it's just one of the old school superhero conventions I enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolStrick View Post
    But I've gotten a kick out of Diana flouncing down the street wearing awful spangled civilian clothes. I think it's an unusual take on a character to have them be themselves, fancy super ID and all, 24/7. Perhaps I want to know how celebrities really live. I mean, I can see Diana hiring a posse of guards just to keep the curious away from her. But she does love to wear those spangles--or she did until the Rucka era--so she must love her celebrity and status. This sets her apart from so many other capes.
    There is that! I suppose that's the creators worried we'd not recognise Diana otherwise - look at how teenage Clark Kent work a red jumper and blue trousers for decades, long before the Smallville telly show.
    Comic bletherings by me at: http://dangermart.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Handsome Hound of Steel Mart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Getsoian View Post
    You look at the Golden Age Wondy, and she doesn't really have a secret ID for any real reason. All of her friends are friends with Wonder Woman, and far from trying to protect them from danger, she drags them into it. She's got this whole whooping pile of sorority girls who capture and beat up bad guys with her. Wonder Woman was supposed to encourage kids to stand up and be heroic, and therefore Wonder Woman's heroism was supposed to be fun.

    Excellent observation Mars . . . if we could have a Golden Age-style Wonder Woman that would be a great route to go once more.

    Oh dear, you're making me about 30 years more nostalgic than I was already!
    Last edited by aegisbearer; 11-06-2009 at 03:06 PM.
    Comic bletherings by me at: http://dangermart.blogspot.com/

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