Wonder Woman Gets New Costume

After 69 years fighting crime in a star-spangled bathing suit, Wonder Woman will get a super hero costume.

 

Wonder Woman is getting a radically different costume, putting her more in line with the fighting togs worn by male superheroes.

The story is so monumental that it’s getting treatment in the NYT (“Makeover for Wonder Woman at 69“):

Wednesday is a good day for Wonder Woman. This 69-year-old superheroine, published by DC Comics, will don a new — and less revealing — costume and enjoy the publication of Issue No. 600 of her monthly series.

The costume ties into an alternative history for the character devised by J. Michael Straczynski, the new writer of the series, and into a quest by DC to shine a critical and creative spotlight on the heroine, who stands with Superman and Batman in its primary triumvirate of superstars, despite her series’s modest sales.

In the reimagining of her story, Wonder Woman, instead of growing up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters, is smuggled out as a baby when unknown forces destroy her home and slaughter its inhabitants.

Mr. Straczynski, who created the television show “Babylon 5” and wrote the screenplay for “Changeling” in 2008, starring Angelina Jolie, said in an e-mail message that he wanted to address “the wardrobe issue” as soon as he took the job.

“She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941,” Mr. Straczynski wrote. “If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”

He added, “What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?”

Ha!

Alex Segura, for DC’s The Source (“Unveiling Wonder Woman’s new costume, direction“):

Starting with their story in WONDER WOMAN #600, which is in comic shops today, JMS and Kramer will begin a run that is both forward-looking and true to the legendary character, planting her firmly in the modern era.

[…]

What we also haven’t seen before is her new look, the first significant change in her appearance since the character debuted in 1941 (not counting the mod look used briefly in the sixties, about which the less said the better). It reflects her origins in both the outside world and the world of Amazons: tough, elegant…a street-fighter’s look which also incorporates elements of her classic design. It reflects the two sides warring for ultimate victory, and underscores the path she must take.

It’s a look designed to be taken seriously as a warrior, in partial answer to the many female fans over the years who’ve asked, “how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?”) She can close it up to pass unnoticed…open it for the freedom to fight…lose the jacket or keep it on…it has pockets (the other fan question, “where does she carry anything in that outfit?”, it can be accessorized…it’s a Wonder Woman look designed for the 21st century. The bracelets are still there, but made more colorful, tied on the inside and over the hand, with a script W on each of them that form WW when she holds them side by side…and if you get hit by one of them, it leaves a W mark. This is a Wonder Woman who signs her work…letting her enemies know that she’s getting closer.

This is Wonder Woman reborn, literally and metaphorically: fast, elegant, tough, smart…the savior of her people, their guardian and protector…avenging the fall of Paradise Island, searching to discover why Paradise Island was abandoned by the gods. In the end, what she discovers will change her life and the world forever…and she will come face to face with a decision that will mean life or death for the entire human race.

More lightly, as Kotaku puts it, “Wonder Woman Costume Modified So That It Makes Sense?

Wonder Woman is the most popular super-hero no one seems to like very much. She doesn’t get movies, can barely sell a comic book. Today, she’s been given a new outfit.

Tapping into the fact that one of the most loved elements of Wonder Woman lore is the fact that she sometimes flies an invisible plane, her DC Comics makeover artists have decided that, darn it, her costume, at least, needs to make sense.

And, more nobly, it needs to be less trashy.

Indeed.

Although, I must say, Lynda Carter’s career would have gone in an entirely different direction if this were the Wonder Woman costume in the 1970s.

FILED UNDER: Comic Books, Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ok… I kind of get it, but as someone with a couple of thousand comicbooks in my closet, I really have to say it…

    Superheroes have their costumes redone *ALL THE TIME*. What’s the big deal?

    Seriously. Pick any superhero that’s been around for more than a few years and look back at all of the various costumes (s)he has been drawn in during that time. I can think of over a dozen variants each for Superman, Batman, Spider-Man… three or four variants each on Iron Man, Captain America, and The Green Lantern…

    This is one of the biggest non-stories I’ve seen in ages.

  2. Trumwill says:

    My response is the same as Russell’s. Diana actually had another costume back when she wasn’t Wonder Woman for a spell. Granted, this is a bigger costume change than most for WW, but I find the revamped origin to be more interesting than the costume change.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m going to need to see how they handle the vitally important issue of camel toe, plus the positioning and presentation of the butt — I cannot support a uni-cheek look — before I can render a final decision. This is not a judgment we should rush into. Too much is at stake.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Russell and Will: I think this is more than a cosmetic costume change but a complete revamp of the concept. And, yes, I agree that the revised origin is likely more interesting — although to a much smaller population.

    Michael: Impeccably argued.

  5. tom p says:

    Cleavage guys, it’s all about cleavage.

  6. floyd says:

    Considering the times, I was sure it would be Barney Frank in drag.
    Or maybe Nancy Pelosi… She’d love to have that invisible airplane.
    On second thought It could’t be a politician, they would never get near that lasso of truth,
    you couldn’t give them that type of rope for fear of them hanging themselves.

  7. Spiffy McBang says:

    “Superheroes have their costumes redone *ALL THE TIME*. What’s the big deal?”

    In addition to what James said, you’re somewhat answering your own question. Superheroes in general have their costumes redone often, not once every seven decades. Combine that with her old-school status and even on its own (ie. not taking into consideration the background changes) this is much more noteworthy than other costume updates.

  8. Boyd says:

    What tom p. said.