And I like the thought of myth versus science too.
And I like the thought of myth versus science too.
I keep hearing the terms science-based and magic-based floating into discussions about Wonder Woman and her adventures, ..and I just don't think they've ever applied. Not with Doctor Cyber, Paradise Island or any of the other recurring elements in this comic, over its seventy-something years in publication.
While the creation of Wonder Woman was clearly inspired by the Amazons of Greek myth and stories of their magic-wielding gods, she's never operated in a solely magic-based universe, ..requiring magic-based adversaries and exclusively magic-based solutions. That was never the standard in Wonder Woman. I understand that the bleak twenty-plus years following the Perez run (without Paradise Island's bizarre technology) gave some of you that impression, but, it was a wrong impression.
And hopefully, it's behind us.
The myth-inspired backgrounds of Wonder Woman and her enemies (very few of them) have always been purely incidental elements in her stories. While Wonder Woman, Ares and the original Silver Swan (the BEST one, I think) were all magic-based, ..the world they operated in was clearly one steeped in traditional science fiction - strange machines, spaceships, ray guns and futuristic lairs and civilizations! The creators of Wonder Woman, as did the creators of Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, John Carter of Mars, Green Lantern and Hawkman, wrote stories that blended these science-based elements with those of traditional heroic fantasy - demons, mythical monsters and dragons, sorcery, mystical weapons, castles and exotic locales. Wonder Woman, though a magic-based heroine, always played in a narrative that blended these genres into one wild, exotic, colorful world, in which you were as likely to be menaced by Greek gods as by extra-dimensional warriors from a subatomic universe - where anything was possible!
For those of you too young to remember or just unfamiliar with it, this mosaic of literary genres was the world of pulp fiction. To understand Wonder Woman, you really must familiarize yourselves with what pulp fiction was, because that is the world she springs from, ..and that is the world Mr. Azzarello seems to have returned her to.
The classic Wonder Woman, at her purest and most commercially successful, is a pulp-inspired heroine, and more a cousin of Flash Gordon and Hawkman than Hercules or Aragorn from Lord Of The Rings. The Wonder Woman comic has never been a magic-based series, and Perez's experimentation with a Clash Of The Titans feel, in the 80s, in spite of its epic scope, ..forced Wondy's once wild, rambling, genre-defying tales onto a conceptually smaller stage than the one Marston gave us, in the 40s. Here was the magic-based world for a magic-based superheroine, ..and it wasn't so commercially successful.
For Wonder Woman, grounding everything in myth and magic has never been the answer, artistically or commercially.
The problem with how Doctor Cyber has been written has nothing to do with her being a science-based villain in a magic-based comic. In the wild logic of Wonderverse, it's perfectly sensible that a cybernetic criminal mastermind, like Cyber, would dabble in the mystic arts, in a grand scheme to unlock the secrets of the universe! Perfectly sensible! The problem with Doctor Cyber is that she's never been as fully developed as Lex Luthor or the Joker or even Metallo.
Like Wonder Woman, Doctor Cyber just needs a talented, open-minded writer, who understands the narrative sandbox they're playing in, ..and who actually cares.
Last edited by MelDyer; 12-16-2012 at 06:25 AM. Reason: more text, history, Circe, more detail, clarity
That last post is a really great one. Though I'd say introducing more sciency villains is a way of showing that Wonder Woman's world is multifaceted. Look what Morrison's done with his bat-villains. The diversity in tone really highlights the strength and versitility of the character. I'd love to see WW's classic rogues updated with a variety of origins. That said, the foundation of her mythos is the mythology surrounding the Greek gods, and that really needed beefed up before the other parts. Thankfully Azzarello's done a marvelous job.
Looking for artists, know I won't find any. That blows.
I think once you nail down what Wonder Woman is - super-powerful Amazon - and where she's coming from, a truly imaginative writer can take that anywhere, ..and that's exciting! Keeps things fresh! Wonder Woman and Batman could face the same science-based villain, Doctor Cyber or whoever, and conceivably should come up with two different approaches, based on their uniquely individual training and bla'bla-bla. Wondy has one of the most diverse rogues galleries out there.
And I can't wait to see that exploited.
This may just because I prefer science and fantasy separated unless the writer really can explain why one doesn't invalidate the other, like Lemire making the Books of Magic into somekind of hyper-advanced machines. The problem I have had with the Amazons and their technology in the past is that they were essentially DC's Wakanda, but they still lived in a world from 1000 BC, which I found extremely jarring (it's the sword vs. blaster argument).
Perhaps it is just me, but I prefer keeping things simple, let Batman deal with the human nutters, let Superman handle the aliens and let Diana deal with the old monster. You can throw something from one of the others from time to time, but it shouldn't be a massive part of it.
As for pulp fiction...now theres a concept that's not aged well.
The pulp-inspired Stargate feature film was released in 1994 and was successfully spun-off into at least THREE TV series that are presently the biggest thing in science fiction television. There's also been successful novel and comic series, merchandise and other media junk.
Star Wars is probably the biggest pulp-inspired media thing ever. No films or TV series, right now, but, the shadow of this film series looms over every science fiction and heroic fantasy work to date. There'd probably have been no multi-buzillion dollar Indiana Jones films or Masters Of The Universe franchises (toys, TV, magazines) in the 80s, if not for Star Wars, which continues to be the most copied sci-fi work in existence.
The tremendously commercially successful Masters Of The Universe magazines, published in the United States, the U.K., Germany, Italy and Lord knows where else, could even be called soft-pulp.
To be fair, the most recent pulp-born flick, John Carter Of Mars, didn't do so well, ..but, in 1999, there was a film called The Mummy, which spawned a couple of sequels that were fairly successful.
There was a TV show called Lost. Another called Star Trek ..that made out okay.
Pulp fiction didn't go anywhere, Outside. Just ditched the pulpy paper part and moved on.
Last edited by MelDyer; 12-16-2012 at 01:27 PM. Reason: clarity
I get where you're coming from, Outside. Didn't mean to bust your nuggets over this.