I’ve hung out with enough comic book fans and absorbed enough lore that I thought I knew what superheroes were about. They were overly-muscled, schlocky characters who went “kapow” and gave you a couple of entertaining hours at the movies a few times a year. I went to see Wonder Woman expecting more of the same – which meant I was in no way prepared for the effect it had on me.
I left that cinema electrified. This time, I got it. I felt uplifted, encouraged, inspired, defiant. I had more than a slight crush on Gal Gadot. Basically, this tweet:
NO WONDER WHITE MEN ARE SO OBSCENELY CONFIDENT ALL THE TIME I SAW ONE WOMAN HERO MOVIE AND I’M READY TO FIGHT A THOUSAND DUDES BAREHANDED
— meg s.s. (@megsauce) June 4, 2017
The reactions since opening weekend make it clear that I wasn’t the only one. So many girls and women came out thinking, “So this is what it feels like!” We were all hit with the raw power of seeing someone like us conquer all before her and ignore every single person who told her to stand down, stay back or sit quiet. It wasn’t just seeing her triumph over early 20th century sexism – the wonderful thing was that she was totally free of its weight. And when she saved the world, it was pure heroics, full of hope and powered not by personal angst but simply by a superhumanly big heart and the drive to do what’s right. I’m married to a devoted DC comics fan who had been far more excited than I was for this movie, but even he admitted he couldn’t match the fire I was feeling.
I fed my newfound obsession by reading every single review I could find, and this was something else I’d never felt after a superhero blockbuster: I needed more.
The movie, because it was made by human beings and a profit-driven studio, isn’t perfect. The climactic showdown didn’t quite land, the final line felt tacked on, Wonder Woman wore impractical heels – one of my personal pet peeves – and better-qualified people than myself have pointed out that there is always room for improvement when it comes to POC representation. Imperfect, yes – but it’s also human to love imperfect things. Wonder Woman’s flaws only made me want to seek out the source material to fill a few of those holes.
I wanted, first of all, to see how closely movie Diana related to comics Diana. I wanted to see her growing beyond the origin story. Mostly, I wanted to see more of that magnetic, inspiring presence.
My few ventures into the world of comics to date have been mostly at the urging of friends and partners. As a result, it’s a weird list comprised of Y: The Last Man, Noelle Stevenson’s highly original Nimona, and a couple of issues of Lumberjanes. Superheroes there have been none. All the Wonder Woman backstory I know is gleaned from the film and its reviews; otherwise, I’m going in blind.
Diana looks to be the catalyst I needed to finally dive into comics. But I have miles of backstory to go before I sleep – not to mention the arcane system of trades and collections and pull lists I’m going to have to learn to navigate. I’m going to chronicle my descent into this slightly intense world here on this blog for anyone who’s in the same boat as me.