Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, September 18, 2006

It's a "Steve" thing:

It occured to me randomly that one of the reasons Steve Trevor is not very popular among the modern day audience is because it's hard to remember what he's supposed to be like.

I mean Steve Trevor hasn't really been Steve Trevor since the Golden Age. The Silver Age was fun, but Steve really didn't get a chance to shine there. The closest he got was Lyle Waggoner's portrayal in the TV show.

And then post-crisis, he gets retconned into a much older brother figure. It's no wonder that no one seems to appreciate him.

It's been argued as "unfeminist" to pair Steve and Diana because it means that Diana is "settling". As though physical strength were the only strength that mattered. (Which strikes me as an unfeminist argument in and of itself. Most women do not match the physical strength of most men, does that mean then that they are somehow unequal? That the men are settling? But I digress.)

The thing is, when Steve is characterized right (like in the original Golden Age comics), the relationship is really easy to understand. Steve is really easy to respect and admire and like. His sexism is undeniable, but it's curable. He thinks it's surprising but hot that a woman could actually save him.

Actually, I think if anyone wants to really "get" Steve Trevor as he should be, they should watch, of all things, Ultimate Avengers and pay really close attention to Steve Rogers/Captain America.

Because...if you take away the superstrength and powers...that *is* Steve Trevor. That personality...that bravery, determination, charm and nobility...the stoicism and loyalty and patriotism...

That's Steve Trevor. That's Steve in a nutshell. (Even his slightly bemused but attracted reaction while being saved by the Black Widow...)

Steve is a man that would have undergone the super serum if it had been available in the DCU, but it wasn't. So Steve had to make do with just being a normal guy. But I don't think anyone would say that the only reason Captain America is awesome is because of his powers. But the funny thing is that if you read Steve Trevor, the true, Golden Age Steve Trevor, pretty much everything else is the same. (Trevor's probably a little smoother and smarmier.)

Though, now I'd really like to see a crossover in which Captain America and Wonder Woman date. Screw Superman, THAT is the superhero couple I could see actually working. :-)

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  • At September 18, 2006 9:20 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said…

    Hi Kali,
    Cap and WW? *swoon*
    Lovely :)
    But I am ever the Bruce/Diana shipper. Blame JLU for that. No, really.

  • At September 18, 2006 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What I wonder is;Can you really see Cap's American Idealism meeting up with WW's Original Old School Classicism?

  • At September 18, 2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was I liked Nemesis on the new Wonder Woman. He doesn't just impersonate Steve Trevor, he act like him even in his Nemesis persona

  • At September 18, 2006 11:54 AM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Note that Golden Age Diana had a lot more American Idealism than Ancient Greek Classicism. She certainly wasn't the Aristocrat they paint her as today.

  • At September 18, 2006 12:01 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    You know, I never ever would have come up with this combination, but in a weird sort of way, I can see that it could work.

  • At September 18, 2006 12:20 PM, Blogger googum said…

    Although you never see him do this lately, Cap has to train and work out like a madman, to maintain his condition and edge. Wonder Woman could sit around all day eating Ringdings and still be WW. Of course, Diana doesn't sit around, she probably spends about every waking moment trying to help everyone, everywhere. Eventually, she'd get peeved at Cap's constant training eating into time that (she feels) would be better served doing something else.

    Man, I totally feel like I'm raining on your day here.

  • At September 18, 2006 12:53 PM, Anonymous Lyle said…

    Kali, love the Steve Rogers coparison. It seems very apt, though I'd say part of the appeal of a strong woman to both Steves would be a "She can take care of herself." or, rather, a sentiment of "I can take care of myself and I don't have to worry about her, either." I don't think either would get angsty over being rescued because they figure they'll be able to return the favor eventually. (Though, neither is the type to keep score.)

    Steve was also written off as a "wimp" by most readers, presumably because he was physically weaker than his woman.

    Part of me is still partial to updating the male Lois Lane Kanigher horribly wrote. Diana's more like Superman, now, in attitude, so why can't Steve get a modernized with an eye to how Lois has changed. Lois tends to strike me, currently, as stronger emotionally than Superman (who's been trained to doubt himself and his motivations, so that he doesn't become a tyrant). Lois is also braver than her husband, frequently risking her safety (especially since she's no longer accident prone so that Superman can rescue her).

    Why can't todays writers figure out a man who can offer Diana something she's lacking?

  • At September 18, 2006 5:27 PM, Anonymous Indicia said…

    y'know.. that's interesting.

    I can't claim to be an attentive comics fan at all, and I'm sure that I do not have a well-versed impression of Captain America. But I've seen a bit, and I kinda get what you're saying. He struck me as the sort of guy that would have been happy to have a ranch in Arizona, a simple life.. There's a certain 'old fashioned values' thing about him. I guess that's pretty much the kind of person WWI generation boys tried to be. Upstanding, honest, loyal, plain-spoken. It's kind of anti-intellectual to be certain, but I can't get my Blue State Sneering Act on that much. If this other Steve fellow was meant to be like that, then I can almost see him with WW (a character I admitted know even less about.)

    Still, I wonder if you don't give those old Golden Age books too much credit.

    Either way, interesting.

  • At September 18, 2006 5:29 PM, Anonymous Indicia said…

    edit: meant 'Montana.' Dunno why that came out 'Arizona'... XD

  • At September 18, 2006 6:11 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    Lyle, the "stronger emotionally" part may be true, but I think that Supes is at least as brave as Lois, especially recently. Sure, he's had fewer things to be afraid of than Lois because of his power levels, but he still goes head to head without hesitation against many creatures capable of killing him (like Doomsday or Imperiex or Superboy Prime). Plus when he lost his powers he still tried to rescue people as a normal man. And did you see the latest ACTION where he dove into the reactor without powers?

  • At September 18, 2006 6:16 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    I thought the Richard White character in SUPERMAN RETURNS was kind of like Steve Trevor without the military background.

    I agree that writers didn't allow Steve to kick butt enough. This guy had military training. They could have had scenes of him keeping the bad guys at bay before numbers or superpowers got the best of him.

  • At September 18, 2006 9:20 PM, Blogger The Fortress Keeper said…

    I may be the only person in the world who actually likes the Kanigher WW.

    But I do like your WW/Ultimate Cap comparison.

    Golden Age WW wasn't quite the demi-goddess of the Modern Age. Instead, as Scipio once put it, she was the "best of the best" - just like Cap.

    I would love to see an updated Steve Trevor and Etta Candy kick tail on New Earth.

    And, judging by Adam Hughes' description for All-Star WW, we may actually get to see an assertive Steve Trevor.

  • At September 18, 2006 10:38 PM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    As long as we're talking Marvel-DC crossovers here, I'd love to see how Wonder Woman takes on Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Both come from royalty, both see the world they way they want to see it, and they're both more powerful that most superbeings of their respective worlds.

    Romance? Probably not. Fireworks? Oh, yeah.

  • At September 18, 2006 11:17 PM, Anonymous carla said…

    I don't think Steve Trevor would kick a man when he's down. Expecially wafter lying to him, as Cap did in the first volume to Bruce Banner, but maybe that's me.
    I admit my bias. =)

  • At September 19, 2006 6:44 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    amy: I've always felt Bruce and Diana would make a really hot short term relationship, but would ultimately be incompatible long term.

    I did rather like the Arthur/Diana stuff in JLA though.

    anon: I actually think that may be a point of understanding between them. Ultimately they're both warriors who understand the need for peace, fiercely loyal to their home countries. :-)

    anon mark II: :-) I like him too!

    serpent: A very good point!

    sallyP: :-)

    googum: I don't think you give Diana enough credit. While she has godly gifts, she's never taken them for granted. We see her train often and she's from a people who while somewhat gifted, still need to keep training to keep up their skills.

    I don't see her as a woman who'd be impatient at the thought of her love interest seeking to better himself.

    lyle: Oh I agree definitely. :-) I think the first rescue is surprising, but after that it's part of partnership.

    It's so unfair that he gets written off as a wimp. The man *is* a soldier after all.

    I wouldn't mind utilizing those male Lois tendancies too though. As long as the bravery and other parts stay in tact.

    indicia: Not sure what's meant by too much credit honestly. There are a lot of flaws in them. It's just that honestly, I genuinely think Marston's the only one who really knew what he meant to do with the Steve Trevor character. Marston's own philosophies probably played a part. After that, the male Lois Lane qualities really started being exaggerated.

    notintheface: I'd agree with Lyle. Superman is brave definitely. He frequently goes against things that could kill him. But he's also very strong and secure in his strength. He's a fighter and has been for a long time.

    She's a city girl who grew up to be a reporter. She's got no special training or special powers. She's very mortal. And moreover, has never had the idea she's anything but. As brave as the reactor jump is I don't really think Clark recognizes the idea of mortality, even powerless.

    Richard was a little too sensitive and open for Steve in my opinion. Not enough smooth-talking charm. But he was a good character.

    fortress: I like the issues. Just their Steve isn't *my* Steve. I really wish/hope they can fix Steve and Etta on New Earth. No marriage, no eating disorder. Just a happy, single, socially active Etta and a Steve prepared for the woman he belongs to. :-)

    ASWW looks awesome.

    mark: That'd be pretty explosive.

    Carla: Heh, that's why I emphasize the Ultimate Avenger movie. That Cap wasn't a kick him when he's down type either. :-)

  • At September 19, 2006 10:05 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    That was one of the things that I didn't like about George Perez's reboot of the Wonder Woman series. That Steve Trevor was, as you said, like an older brother. While there were things that I did like about post-Crisis Wonder Woman (the stronger connection to Greek Mythology), I felt that the reboot sapped her humanity. While I always think of her as an emissary, it's more of a symbolic emissary rather than an actual ambassador of a country. I think that always kept her as arm's length and that she could never have a love life for some reason. In the Golden Age, Steve Trevor was Wonder Woman's Lois Lane in that he was a necessary part of Wonder Woman's storytelling. Not only as a love interest, but something that grounded Wonder Woman and made her more human.

  • At September 19, 2006 11:57 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I agree completely. There was a lot I liked about the reboot. But making Diana too young to be a JLA founder and taking away Steve really bugs me.

  • At September 19, 2006 4:42 PM, Anonymous Ununnilium said…

    "As brave as the reactor jump is I don't really think Clark recognizes the idea of mortality, even powerless."

    And why should he? He's died and come back - more than once, by now. >>v I totally agree here.

  • At February 04, 2008 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd like to see an updated version of the Golden Age Diana/Steve relationship. It had elements of fairytale/mythical in the way they met (and Diana is more mythical than most of the DC heroes with her Goddess-given powers and background) and mixed in with some reality-grounded elements as Steve was a good anchor to Diana in Man's World.

    Not to mention pretty! ;)

    Maybe All-Star Wonder Woman will give us a good modern version of these two.


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