Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Button Blues

I haven't posted on the whole issue of the conspicuous lack of Wonder Woman on a particular publicity image. Mostly because I don't have that much to say.

For me, I don't think it really means much. I do think the image seems oddly incomplete. It seems like it'd balance better if they scooched Superman over closer to Flash, and put Diana in the middle. But I don't think it's a particular sign that they're phasing Diana out in favor of Barry or Hal.

GL might be big right now, and the movie will help, but there's no way that Green Lantern has greater brand name recognition than Wonder Woman. Girls of all ages who've never picked up a comic carry Wonder Woman backpacks, lunchboxes, and have dolls and Halloween costumes. Women who weren't even born during the 1970s have practiced Lynda Carter's spin. In contrast, the vast majority of people you see wearing or carrying Green Lantern merchandise are 30-40-someting men. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not that well known a property. And honestly, as I pointed out in the comments of Ragnell's post. There's a great many people who, if you ask if they know who Green Lantern is, will answer "Oh, yeah! Bruce Lee played his sidekick Kato, right?" (This is actually a direct quote from my mother.)

My guess is cynically that they're marketing the pen to young men, so they put on the four main male characters. I don't think it's a conscious exclusion of women. Merely that there are times when the Big Two market toward women (I've always thought they've missed several opportunities myself, but no one asks me these things. :-)) and sometimes when they don't. This, I suspect is the latter.

A friend had an alternate suggestion on AIM that I thought was valid. He suggested from a design standpoint, the issue could be in Wonder Woman's logo. It IS a kind of awkward shape to be highlighted in silhouette. In her various costumes it would be too big, or two small, and if they used the girdle version, it wouldn't match up location wise with the other logos. In my opinion, they should have tried a little harder, but I appreciate that sometimes laziness wins out.

I definitely think that people have the right to be upset though. Because it's not really about the pin, but the feeling that people have that Wonder Woman (and by extension the female comic fanbase) isn't as appreciated as Batman and Superman. (Some of the commenters to Ragnell's post don't really help, let me add.) The thing is, it doesn't matter if you as a fan think Wonder Woman deserves her position in the big Three, or if you think she got in through some sort of comics marketing Affirmative Action. The fact is, you're dealing with the most mainstream SPECIFICALLY female-oriented franchise* with seventy-odd years of history.

(* Say what you will about Marston's bondage fetish. The fact remains that Wonder Woman was, from the beginning, marketed toward and directed toward female fans. I don't begrudge the guy for potentially getting his rocks off at the same time. Really, I just wish certain modern creators had his knack for subtlety.)

If you start knocking Wonder Woman's role in the DCU. You're going to offend a lot of female fans. You're going to offend a lot of female fans who don't even particularly care for Wonder Woman, the character, or even DC Comics. You don't HAVE to appreciate what she means as a symbol to many of us. Just don't be a complete dick about it.

And it'd be really nice to have a Wonder Woman button. I'd buy it.


  • At September 15, 2010 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a Wonder Woman button, but it's just the logo.

    So I'm watching the JL/JLU intros, and yeah, it's a little generic, but stick a lasso on it. Ta-da.

  • At September 15, 2010 8:28 AM, Anonymous DC Women Kicking Ass said…

    Kalinara, I just want to clarify something. The issue isn't about a button although I can certainly see people's confusion as that is the graphic that has been used around this issue. The issue is actually around a logo that was designed by Warner Brothers for DC Comics' 75th Anniversary. It was made for a joint-marketing relationship WB has with Zazzle to enable fans to create a variety of official 75th anniversary swag. I feel that by just making this about a button it somehow reduces what people are concerned about. I agree with many of your points about how it reflects the marketing focus of DC. But I feel if you are celebrating an anniversary you should celebrate how you got to where you are as much as where you are going. And Wonder Woman is an important part of that history. Of course what's done is done. The request being made is give the ladies their logo too. And Wonder Woman's logo will look fine. When the JLU show was being launched Warner Brothers issued a graphic with all of the heroes in silhouette and just their logos in white. Wonder Woman looked great.

  • At September 15, 2010 10:48 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thank you for your clarification. :-)

  • At September 18, 2010 5:34 AM, Blogger Ununnilium said…

    Personally, I just want to point out that, for Marston, it wasn't about being a fetish or getting his rocks off. It was a *philosophical* point for him, a *moral* point - that bondage could sometimes be good, and helpful; and that, other times, it was inimical, and you had to escape from it. The dominance and submission involved wasn't sadism and masochism; it was control, controlling those who couldn't control themselves and were secretly yearning for it.

    ...that said, I don't actually *agree* with him that the tools of bedroom bondage make effective therapy. But he honestly believed they did.

  • At September 18, 2010 7:17 AM, Anonymous Kwaku said…

    I would have more of a problem with this if every DC 75th celebration image excluded Wonder Woman, or if most of them did. But that's not the case. It's the other way around. Most of the images have WW and a few do not.


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