Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Lame Villains for Great Heroes

For every great superhero there are usually several great super villains. Usually, a hero is only able to truly shine when pitted against a villain that is worthy of them. The best villains also return time and again because writers and artists can’t get enough of them. This holds true of Spider-Man, Batman, and The X-Men. But, every once in a while, there’s an incredibly well regarded superhero who has an embarrassment of a rogues gallery. This week, I’m going to talk about the lame wads that some of the world’s best known heroes have to deal with on a regular basis. (more…)

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Graham Makes An Observation

Something occurred to me this weekend that I’d like to discuss here. It’s not important, or culturally relevant, just something that struck me. I also have not any research into this, so it’s purely anecdotal based on stuff that is rattling around in my head. So, with those disclaimers out of the way, here’s my thought: Until recently, the most important characters within the Marvel universe were the least important outside of it. (more…)

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Thorry About That

Today, Marvel Comics made a pretty big announcement about the future of one of their main characters on The View of all places. The internet was full of guesses as to what the announcement would be since that show is not the place you would typically go to for breaking comic book news. No one could have guessed, though, that they were going to announce that Thor will be becoming a woman.

New Thor

New Thor


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Enough With The Wonder Woman Grumbling

When the Guardians of the Galaxy movie was announced, most people there seemed to be an equal mix of excitement and indifference. Those who had heard of the somewhat characters before were stoked that this eclectic group would get the big-screen Avengers treatment. Those who hadn’t heard of them uttered a dismissive “who?” But, somewhere between those two extremes, was another group that could muster only disdain. They were disappointed, not unjustly, that a movie starring a space faring, gun-toting, easily agitated racoon would be made before one starring Wonder Woman.

Like I said, I don’t disagree. But, it’s not like DC hasn’t tried. Joel Silver (producer of the Matrix trilogy, Die Hard, and Lethal Weapon) spent years trying to get a movie off the ground. He hired Joss Whedon to work on a script, and even purchased a World War 2 set story from another writer. None of it took off.

Conspiracy theories on this topic abound. One of the most commonly cited “facts” is that Hollywood producers don’t believe female action heroes lead to blockbusters. And while I’m sure there are some people out there who might think that, I don’t think it’s prevalent enough that it would stop them from making the movie. While Silver had the rights (the fact that tried to get this movie made alone should dispel this theory) there were two Tomb Raider movies, a slew of Resident Evil and Underworld flicks, Kill Bill(s), Catwoman, Aeon Flux, Ultraviolet, Elektra, etc., etc. Clearly, Hollywood has an appetite for making action movies with female leads.

The real problem, I think, is that DC hasn’t been in control of its filmmaking destiny until recently. They’ve been owned by Time-Warner for many years, but that company tended to keep it’s comic division and movie division pretty separate. Marvel, on the other hand, has been able to be intimately involved in their most successful franchise. DC has consistently brought in outsiders to write and direct their movies, Marvel has kept their creative people in the loop on all of their productions. I mean, who better than the people who have guided the characters in their native format for years to help bring them to the big screen? If DC asked Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Brian Azzarello and Phil Jimenez to brainstorm Wonder Woman movie ideas I don’t think you’d get just one great movie idea – you’d get an entire franchise.

Last week, Warner Bros. made a surprise announcement. Not only did they reveal that Wonder Woman will be in the Superman Vs. Batman movie, they also revealed who would be playing her – Gal Gadot from the Fast and the Furious movies. While there was the typical Internet backlash as there always seems to be when someone is cast as a famous character (see Daniel Craig as James Bond, Heath Ledger as The Joker, and most recently Ben Affleck as Batfleck) there was another group that was ticked off for a much stupider reason. The very first tweet that I read about this casting announcement was from someone who was complaining that Wonder Woman’s first big screen appearance won’t be in her own movie. There’s just no pleasing some people!

First, they’re unhappy that Wonder Woman hasn’t appeared in a movie, now they’re unhappy that she isn’t the star of the movie, next I’m sure they’ll be complaining that she doesn’t immediately kill Batman and Superman and take over the world. Wonder Woman, as I’ve discussed before, is a really hard character to nail down. Everyone knows what makes a great Batman movie – he’s a dark knight. Superman is a big, blue boyscout. Wonder Woman is… well… Wonder Woman. She’s gone through more character changes than any other superhero that I can think of. Within a few years, she went from an ambassador, to the Goddess of Truth, to a secret agent. With that in mind, I think it makes a lot of sense that DC film people want to test the waters with their version of the character before they throw a ton of money at a feature-length Wonder Woman story.

Graham Becksted is eagerly waiting for Gadot. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles, the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 94th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.


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Wonder Woman > Super Man

Evening all

Something a bit different this week. Haven’t had time to come up with a topic worth writing about lately, what with all the preparation for jumping continents and what-not but apparently I’ve had time to piss about in Photoshop. Enjoy!

Has there ever been a story about Wonder Woman losing her powers? If not, this is probably why.

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Reply: The Best Female Protagonist

Once again, this week I’m having a hard time coming up with 600 words worth writing.  Some might say that I have yet to accomplish that feat in the entirety of my time on this column, but those people are cruel and should not be acknowledged.  They’re more afraid of me than I am of them.  Etc.

Yet again, I am turning to that old standby source of inspiration, Matt Jones.  In his post yesterday, he asked his readers to pick the best female protagonist in geek media.  The problem is I’m actually having a hard time narrowing it down.

First off, I’m going to eliminate any and all video game characters.  In most cases, video game characters owe a lot to your choices and to what you bring to the character.  I’m sure there will be people you can make convincing arguments for Lara Croft, Joanna Dark, and Fem Shep, I’m just not one of them.

That just leaves us with movies, novels, TV shows, and comic books.  Easy answers are Xena, Ripley and Scully, but I’m not a huge fan of Xena, the Alien franchise, or X-Files so those are out.  I love me some Battlestar and I seriously considered Six or Starbuck, but their character arcs get a little wonky as the show goes on.  (Trying to avoid spoilers…)  I think of all the women on BSG, Laura Roslin has the strongest case for being a great female protagonist.  She is a strong leader, she bravely deals with cancer, and is incredibly compassionate.  I would vote for her in a heartbeat.

Everyone knows my love of Star Trek, so you might think I’d turn to the Federation for my pick.  Unfortunately, there aren’t a heck of a lot of good female characters on those shows.  Captain Janeway is probably the first one that comes to mind, but she was on that franchise killer Voyager so it disqualifies her immediately.  Same goes for Seven of Nine, B’Elanna Torres, and Kes.  I’m also extending the disqualifications to Enterprise, so T’Pol and Hoshi.  Finally, anyone who thinks Uhura and Nurse Chapel from the original series still qualify as strong female protagonists needs to get their warp core breached.

That leaves The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.  Troi ended up being a decent character, but she started off pretty weak sauce.  Dr. Crusher is fine, but doesn’t have much going on.  Major Kira, I think, is the only one who stands a chance against the other women on this blog.  She has a really interesting back story, she’s tough, and she has a great progression throughout the series.  But, she still doesn’t quite make the top of the list.

Comic books are probably the first place that you expected me to turn to for strong female protagonists.  Not because the medium is known for them, but because that’s what my columns are usually about.  And, there are certainly some great female leads in superhero books – Wonder Woman, Storm, Batwoman, The Invisible Woman, Power Girl, and The Black Widow to name a few.  But, because of the ever changing creative teams of comic books it’s often hard to pin a character down.  Wonder Woman in particular is an ever changing character.  Every creative team seems to have a whole new take on her.  So, I guess I’m excluding comics too.

Well, superhero comics anyway.  The character I’ve decided to go with does have her own comic book.  But, she’s probably best known for her TV series – Buffy: The Vamprie Slayer.  I know, not exactly a bold choice. The thing is, she is too great a character not to pick her.  She’s funny, and strong, and very relatable.  But, she also fights weird shit like zombies, demons and, obviously, vampires.  She has a great collection of friends and enemies that come together and make her an even stronger character.  I don’t know how anyone could consistently watch the show and not love her.

Anyway Matt, that’s my pick.  She could kick your pick’s ass.

Graham Becksted likes the ladies. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles.  If you would like to be his 71st follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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All The Gay News That’s Fit To Print!

So, in case you hadn’t noticed, homosexuality has been the latest big news item in mainstream comics.  Both Marvel and DC had some big announcements in the last couple of weeks regarding two B-list (at best) characters.  The companies touted their announcements as big events, and game changers, and earth quaking, and senses shattering.  By and large though, these have made a fairly minor impact on me and, I suspect, most of the comic buying public.

Marvel got out of the gate first, both in these announcements and in the whole gay superhero race.  Northstar, who was confirmed gay in 1992 but whose sexuality had been hinted at for years, is getting married to his boyfriend in an upcoming issue of Astonishing X-Men.  This is all well and good, but it doesn’t really change anything.  Maybe it’s just me, but gay people getting married shouldn’t be a big deal.  I don’t understand why anyone would be against it, and as such I find it hard to drum up any more interest in a gay marriage than I would for a straight one.  I mean, maybe if he were marrying Spider-Man, or something.  Then, I’d have to get the issue just to see how they pull it off.  But, he’s just marrying his regular, average joe boyfriend.

The other thing about the story is that it’s happening in a sort of second-tier X-Men title.  All of the main X-Men stories are happening in Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine And The X-Men.  Astonishing hasn’t been an important book since Joss Whedon and Warren Ellis were on it.  The creative team is Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins neither of whom is exactly a big draw.  Despite all of that, it will probably sell well with people wanting to get a copy in the hopes that the value sky rockets and they can resell it for big bucks.  I doubt, though, that in a year or two anyone will care that a second-rate, Canadian X-Man is married to another guy.

On to the DC side of this story.  In the whole New 52 relaunch some characters were wiped out of existence due to continuity issues.  One of them was the out and proud Obsidian.  He was deleted because his father, Alan Scott, is now too young to have had him.  And too gay.  That’s right, the original Green Lantern is now playing for the other team.  A character so important that he hasn’t had a solo ongoing series since the 1940s.  He’s barely even connected to the rest of the Green Lantern mythos.  And, he’s going to be appearing in a comic book that takes place on a different Earth than the rest of the New 52.  He seems like he’ll have about as much impact on the rest of the DCU as Northstar does on the Marvel U.

All I’m asking is that if there’s going to be a push to address hot button issues, have it happen in titles and to characters that people are going to notice.  Make Wonder Woman a lesbian or Wolverine a muslim, and then there will be something worth talking about.  When the character you’re showcasing these ideas with can just be swept under the rug after the hoopla’s died down, you’re doing a disservice to the character and to the issue.

Graham Becksted’s too tired to think of a quippy intro line to this paragraph. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles.  If you would like to be his 66th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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What’s Next for Superhero TV?

It was recently announced that there’s going to be a pilot for a Green Arrow live-action TV series.  In all likelihood, it’ll probably end up like that much maligned Wonder Woman pilot – relegated to the bootleg stalls of comic conventions.  But why?

Superhero comics would seem to be just about the perfect source material for TV shows.  They’re already serialized and they all end on a cliff hanger.  There’s a built-in audience, and a whole bunch of marketing tie-ins.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are some very successful examples – three immediately spring to mind the Adam West Batman, the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman, and Smallville.  But the first two were unabashedly campy and probably would not fly on network TV today.  I haven’t seen much Smallville, but I know they steered away from the tried and true parts of the comic book continuity for years and years.  And, when superheroes did start showing up on the show they’re costumes were pretty ridiculous.

Also, there were many many years between these successes.  Batman ended in 1969 and Wonder Woman started in 1975.  Smallville started in 2001, almost thirty years later.  (I can’t think of any other successful live action superhero shows, but if you can let me know.)  There have been other attempts, but none that I would call a success.

Green Hornet – 1 season, 26 episodes.  The Flash – 1 season, 22 episodes.  Birds of Prey – 1 season, 14 episodes.  Justice League – 1 pilot.

Ok, so I thought of a couple more successes.  The Incredible Hulk and Lois and Clark.  So, that puts us at about one success a decade.  I mean, considering the source material, it shouldn’t be this hard.  Allow me to present some easy, totally, like, nothing-but-net ideas.

Batman, but in a smallville-ish way.  Have a young (early twenties) Bruce Wayne learning to be Batman in Gotham.  Very Batman: Year One.  Not too many supervillains, at least not at first.  Concentrate on drug dealers, and gangsters.  The supporting cast could be Alfred, Lieutenant Jim Gordon, and D.A. Harvey Dent.  Follow in the realistic style of the Christopher Nolan movies, and your set!  I would watch that every week!  I mean, A-Plots would be Batman kicking ass, and the B-Plots could be Bruce navigating the Wayne corporation.

Punisher.  I really don’t think I even need to say more.  Again, it would be kind of gritty, but have more War Journal style narration.  Again, more gangsters than supervillains, but I think it would be cool.  Every episode, he should get his ass kicked and then come back and win in the last ten minutes.  I’m cheating a little with this one since Marvel actually is producing a Punisher TV series.  I just hope they have learned their lesson from the three Punisher movies.

Finally, how about something a little lighter.  Captain Marvel (although, I guess they’d have to call it Shazam or something ‘cause of the copyright issues.)  A little boy turns into a Superman-eque superhero, but retains his boyish mind and personality.  It would be like Super Big!  He also has a fantastic assortment of bizarre supervillains – like a super intelligent caterpillar and a weird bald doctor

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think those are some pretty solid ideas for TV shows.  And, I don’t think they’d be too expensive or difficult to make either.  (Okay, maybe Captain Marvel could be a little expensive but I think it would be worth it.)  What do you think?  Do I have something here?

Graham Becksted’s a future TV executive so you should be nice to him.  He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles.  If you would like to be his 51st follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.

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Ever Wonder What’s In An Origin?

Superhero origins are funny things.  They define how a character will be portrayed for the rest of their run.  When done well, they can set up a character for hundreds of great stories, but if they’re done poorly they can be an anchor that drags the whole series down.  The best origin story is probably that of Batman.  A boy watches his parents get gunned down and vows to never let that happen to anyone else again.  He uses his vast wealth to train his body and mind to become the perfect crime fighting machine.  Everything you need to know about the character is right there in the origin.  He’s got a dark past, he’s a perfectionist, and he’ll do whatever it takes to stop criminals.  Over the years some details have changed, like who killed his parents and how he trained, but the basic details stay the same.  Even when he got all campy in the 60s, they stayed true to the basics.

Wonder Woman is a different story.  Her origins have always been a bit more vague.  Initially, she was just the best of the amazons and she won the right to take Steve Trevor back to America and help fight the Nazis.  So, from that we know that she’s tough and likes adventure.  It doesn’t give us much to go on.  Eventually, they changed it so that she was imbued with the powers of some of the Greek gods.  Then, she was the daughter of the original Wonder Woman who fought with America in World War 2.  Then she was an ambassador from the Amazons to bring peace to the outside world.  The problem is that when you get right down to it, she’s a hard character to pin down.  Every writer who takes over the book seems to have a different idea of who the character is and what her motivations are.  With the launch of DC’s “New 52” they’ve altered her origin yet again.  Now she is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta (the leader of the Amazons).

After the origin, there comes a period of setting the basic framework for what the character’s life is like.  Batman runs Wayne Enterprises, but mainly spends his time fighting crime.  He’s rich, has a butler, and a propensity for picking up young boys.  Superman was raised on a farm, is modest, works as a reporter, and feels it’s his duty to help out.  Wonder Woman, on the other hand, has had a million different jobs, and lifestyles.  She’s worked for the army, she’s been an ambassador, she lost her powers and learned kung-fu, and she’s been a secret agent.  Currently, her stories are taking on more of a horror twist, but we’ll see how long that lasts.

What the character needs is for a writer and artist team to take over the character and define her.  Set her origin in stone.  Take the most iconic aspects of her (lasso, tiara, invisible jet) and make them integral to who she is.  Properly set out exactly what her powers are and what their limits are.  I mean, if she can fly on her own why does she need a jet?  Once details like that get hammered out she can finally have a chance at becoming as famous as the other big two at DC.

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The Avengers!

So, I think by now it’s well established that I’m something of a Marvel zombie.  Knowing that, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m pretty stoked for The Avengers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_3uKtfELfE).  This is a movie that couldn’t have existed ten years ago.  And not just because it’s Marvel and they’ve had some troubles getting movies made. One big budget movie featuring multiple pre-established superheroes is something that hasn’t been done before.  Sure, in the past there’s been the occasional TV movie that threw Daredevil and The Hulk together (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098512/) or an aborted Justice League show (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118365/).  X-Men and Fantastic Four don’t count, ‘cause those characters were all created to be a team.  But even something as seemingly simple as a Batman and Superman movie hasn’t been done.  I mean, they tried to make that thing for years!

The problem doesn’t seem to be that studios aren’t willing to try it.  The problem is that the logistics are nightmarish!  First you have to think up a threat that needs Superman AND Batman.  Then you have to find actors to play the heroes.  Since this is bound to be a big budget spectacle, you need two big name guys.  They’ll likely want to have an equal amount of importance and screen time, and since they’re such big names they’ll probably want some say over who plays the other guy.  Warner Bros invested a lot of time and money into making a Superman Vs. Batman movie, but these problems kept derailing it.  They had a director and two writers, but they just couldn’t get two actors to commit at the same time.  If you watch I Am Legend you can even see a teaser poster for it!

When this was all going on, I did a radio show on my high school radio station (106.3 RAVFM – I don’t think it’s on the air anymore…) where I did entertainment news updates.  So, I followed all of this stuff pretty closely and became pretty jaded about the whole thing.  Well, as jaded as any high school radio dork can be.  After the Supes and Bats stuff blew over, there started to be rumours of a Justice League movie.  That got some brief casting buzz, but never really stood a chance.  With the exception of Batman, it seems really hard to make a DC movie with just one of their heroes.  Anything more, at least for the time being, seems impossible.

DC had always had one advantage over Marvel in the movie making business.  They are owned by Warner Brothers.  If they want to make a movie, they just have to go next door and say, “Hey, let’s make Batman a movie,” and then they start making it.  For a long time Marvel was a lone wolf company – not really part of any major media conglomerate.  They would sell the movie rights for their characters to studios and pray that they didn’t mess them up.  Finally in the late 2000s, they scrabbled a bunch of money together and decided to make a movie of their own.

That movie was Iron Man.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the character in comics.  In fact, I don’t know anyone who really was.  But, from the first picture of the cast in costume I knew it was going to be good.  I was not disappointed.  It blew my socks off and that was long before the end credits.  I had heard that there was some special little easter egg after the credits, so I waited patiently.  When Sam Jackson as Nick Fury appeared I smiled.  When he said the words “Avengers Initiative,” the top of my head flew off and steam shot out of my ears.  I lost the ability to speak English for three days.  My jaw dropped so far that I needed a surgical procedure to correct it.  All in all, I was a little excited.

Now that it’s finally becoming a reality, I’m just trying to contain myself.  Keep my expectations reasonable.  But, this is something truly unprecedented.  No expense has been spared.  There’s a first rate (at least in the geek world) writer-director, Mr. Joss Whedon.  The actors are the same ones from the heroes’ solo movies.  (Except for the Hulk, where they can’t seem to find an actor who is willing to stick around for more than one movie – Eric Bana, Ed Norton, and now Mark Ruffalo.)  And the continuity all ties in with the other movies.

My point with this column was simple.  The Avengers movie has been getting a lot of buzz, but for non-comic fans it’s easy to lose sight of why. Whether the movie turns out to be good or bad, I think it should still be applauded for how ambitious it is.  And even if you’re not a Marvel fan, if this is successful it just might pave the way for a JLA movie.  We might finally get to see Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman fighting a giant starfish in 3D!

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