Gail Simone restores the wonder to Wonder Woman


As a long-time reader of Birds of Prey, I was disappointed when writer Gail Simone left the series. Her love for the characters showed — and she was one of the few female comic book writers working on a superhero title. But soon after, DC announced that Simone’s next project would be none other than the story of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman.

Shortly after the announcement, Simone summed up her feelings about Wonder Woman. “This book is about the best goddamned warrior planet Earth has ever known, and she happens to carry a mystical arsenal around just for the hell of it. If a writer can’t make that interesting and fun, they really shouldn’t be writing superheroes.”

Do I hear an amen?

With the release of her first issue (No. 14), which hit the stands two weeks ago, Simone becomes the first female ongoing writer in Wonder Woman‘s 66-year history.

In an interview with The New York Times this week, Simone sounds just as enthusiastic about Diana as she was when she first got the gig.

“She’s just the best kind of person. She was a princess who didn’t need someone to rescue her. I grew up in an era — and a family — where women’s rights were very important, and the guys didn’t tend to stick around too long. She was an amazing role model.”

Simone’s foray into the world of comics was Women in Refrigerators, a website that lamented the fate of women characters in comics. She writes of her love of gritty superhero tales.

“Having a uterus myself, I found that I most enjoyed reading about the girl heroes, or Superchicks. And it had been nagging me for a while that in mainstream comics, being a girl superhero meant inevitably being killed, maimed or depowered, it seemed.”

So, she made a list of all the superchicks who had met such a fate — and the comic industry noticed.

My first encounter with Simone’s writing was Killer Princesses, a very funny Oni Press series that poked fun at the beautiful-but-brainless female characters who often appear in comics. It’s worth a read, especially if you enjoy Simone’s brand of humor.

Most of the reviews of Wonder Woman No. 14 have been favorable. Looking to the Stars echoes my thoughts on the issue.

“The first issue IS wonderful. What Simone has done here is captured the essence of everything Wonder Woman is and should be. She is tough. She is smart. She is clever. She has a dry sense of humor. She is more than capable of handling herself in a fight but is always looking for ways to avoid fighting when possible. She is compassionate. She is understanding. She is, in short, every bit the wonder her name implies.”

I have to admit, I have abandoned Wonder Woman in recent years. But No. 14 is a good place to rejoin the Diana Prince fan club — and Gail Simone is a good reason. Who’s with me? What do you Wonder Woman fans think of Simone’s first issue?

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