SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Shiny red boots, wasp-thin waist, razor-sharp tiara and big, big hair. Wonder Woman, the world’s top female superhero may be 66 years old, but she’s still got it, Gail Simone, the comic’s author says.
Simone, the character’s self-professed biggest fan, is the comic book’s first ongoing female writer. During a visit to Singapore recently, she told Reuters how the superhero remains an icon of “woman power” nearly 70 years after her creation.
Q: You were a fan for decades. What drew you to Wonder Woman?
A: I probably was about 10 or 11 when I discovered her. I realized right away that she was my kind of princess. Rather than being the typical fairytale princess that had a knight in shining armor ride in and save her in the end, Wonder Woman is the type of princess that saves people and could take care of herself.
Q: After a career as a hairdresser, you’re now Wonder Woman’s first female ongoing writer. What does this milestone mean?
A: I don’t feel that being a female writer makes it so that I will be any better than any male writers. But it kind of catches people’s attention because we do have stereotypes about the industry. It’s no longer a little niche industry of white guys who hang out in comic book stores and don’t have girlfriends.
Q: Wonder Woman is ranked number three in the DC Comics trinity, after Superman and Batman. But isn’t 66 pretty old to be saving the earth every month in 22 pages?
A: The original core concepts of her character are so brilliant that she’s not going to be easily dated. She’s very empowering. She doesn’t apologize for who she is. And she has all of these magical things at her disposal. She’s become a modern myth. Her costume’s great, her powers are great, her lasso is awesome. And she has great hair.
Q: Has she changed over the years?
A: We’re not changing her character, we’re just building upon her history. When she was originally created by William Moulton Marston, he definitely was for strong female characters. But he did have some what we would consider bizarre ideas.
Q: For example?
A: He really thought that the magic lasso was to beguile men and women into doing what she wanted them to do with her beauty. And that’s not a feminist ideal that we really adopt so much today. We like to talk more about character and intelligence and personality and things like that, rather than just beauty.
Q: What does her magic lasso do these days?
A: I’m going to show is that the magic lasso is the most dangerous weapon in the DC universe. It’s more dangerous than any of the major weapons, it makes wolverines claws look like popsicle sticks.
Q: U.S. feminist Gloria Steinem championed Wonder Woman in the 70s, but some say she has always had a stronger following among young men than young women. Who are the fans these days?
A: I’ve seen two-year old girls wearing Wonder Woman costumes, all the way up to grown women of all shapes and sizes wearing Wonder Woman costumes, all talking about Wonder Woman and very excited about her. She has an universal appeal that not many characters have today. People feel very strongly about her.
Q: Does the world still need Wonder Woman?
A: We need a Wonder Woman if we’re going to have a Batman and a Superman, for one thing. And for another, even though our ideas about women and strength and the world have evolved, she still has a message, and it’s not just a message for women. It’s a message about being who you are, being comfortable with it, not apologizing for it, and trying to help make things better.
Editing by Miral Fahmy