Dear DC Comics/Time Warner Executives,
We know that you are scrambling in light of Marvel’s recent releases from their new Cinematic Universe, starring the Avengers and those associated properties.
In light of the blockbuster releases of Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, and most recently Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we can understand why you might be in your boardrooms cussing and drinking like sailors in a burning whorehouse trying to figure out which direction to escape.
Marvel’s recent movies have been both lucrative in terms of establishing those properties as money makers but more importantly, they have converted a large yearning in terms of comic aficionados who have always wanted to see comic heroes in the proverbial flesh and found a pent-up demand of other viewers who are hungry for well-crafted stories with larger than life heroes.
Marvel has hit both of those, in spades.
Now I know what you’re thinking: It was Superman that established those yearnings and was the first comic hero whose demand led to further stories and greater financial earnings. Superman was the first movie hero to prove people could believe a man could fly.
And he did it several times. Then you went to the second leg of your Trinity of heroes and put Batman back on the map. Gone was the campy Batman of the Sixties with his teen-aged sidekick, Robin. The return of Batman still had a bit of camp but was darker, richer, and more satisfying than the Dark Knight had been in decades. Alas, someone reactivated the Camp-o-meter and by the time Mr. Freeze and the Bat-nipple suit arrive, interest in Batman was flagging faster than a transplant victim in a health spa.
But you didn’t give up. You decided, as the master of reboots (See: Crisis on Infinite Earths) you would reboot your first two legs of your Trinity. Superman got younger, a new suit, a kid, and a revised Lex Luthor. He lifted more things, flew really fast and blocked bullets with his eyeballs. Nice look but still nothing happening there. People were cool to this new reboot.
You pulled out all the stops and went to your backup, Batman. Nolan’s vision of the Dark Detective were regressive, he rewrote a bit of history, working Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Shadows into the pastiche of Batman’s already convoluted history. No one complained because it made a kind of sense. Batman was reborn under Nolan’s hand and despite (or perhaps because of) Heath Leger’s Joker, a depiction that was a tour de force, almost overshadowing the Bat, this Batman was not just a hit, he became a force that altered Bat history on and off the page.
You were saved. The Dark half of your Duo had saved the financial day.
And yet, there was no sign of the third part of your Trinity. What Trinity you ask? The DC Universe has always looked more like a pantheon of Gods than a group of superheroes. Their arch-typical nature present for anyone familiar with Greek or Roman mythology to see. Superman is Zeus, all-powerful, literally the father of the genre and the most powerful member of the pantheon. Batman is Pluto, dark lord of the Underworld. Wonder Woman was Hera, queen of the Gods, feared and loved in equal measure.
So gentlemen, I ask you where is Wonder Woman? Why has she been neglected for so long? Why do I keep hearing tales that it is too hard to write a movie where Wonder Woman would be the star? She has, as one of the only female heroes to ever manage, to keep a running title for almost forty years. In the comic industry, she is the most popular female hero and the most well known. She is also one of the only female superheroes to have ever had a presence in live action on the little screen. A well-loved, well-received, fandom who will still turn out to meet and greet Linda Carter anywhere at any time.
So I ask you in all seriousness: What is your major malfunction you can’t manage to find your way to the bags of money that are sitting on your doorsteps if you were to create a reasonably well written treatment of Wonder Woman? Her animated movie did well. So did her animated appearances in the most awesome of your animated properties, The Justice League and Justice League unlimited. What are you afraid of? Marvel has a movie coming out with a walking TREE and a RACCOON in it. Only one of those will be a speaking part.
If now isn’t the time for Wonder Woman, when exactly would be the time? When a horrible spaceborne virus kills 99% of all the men on the planet? (For the record, that wouldn’t work either, women would demand a movie of the only remaining men left…)
In Wonder Woman’s defense you don’t even have to reinvent anything. We all know who she is and we are all aware of what she can do. As a matter of fact, you just have to decide how powerful you want to make her. Somewhere between Batman and Superman would, in fact, be perfect. Give her half the strength of Superman and the fighting skills to beat Batman in a fair fight and you have a winner.
She has a rogues gallery, granted its not as extensive as Batman’s, but a woman who can make enemies of Gods and monsters, and survive, should surely not lack for opposition both from the real world and the magical one; she could fight terrorists one day, Minotaurs the next.
Fans have managed to create incredible depictions showing her fighting street level crime to fighting gods and monsters in equal measure. So I have to ask you again: What are you waiting for? A sign from on high?
Yes, I heard you are putting some bony actress up there and calling her Wonder Woman. But I have to say to you: That is a mistake. You are mistaking name recognition with the ability to draw an audience. This isn’t about the Actress, this is about Wonder Woman. You want to remember, anyone you put there will one day have to contend with being in the same room as Batman and Superman and any other superheroes you later create. The last thing you want is a Wonder Woman who looks as if she could use a good meal or twelve.
This is particularly a case of working backward toward the depiction. Find someone who would make me believe she could BE Wonder Woman just standing there and my mind will fill in the blanks for just about everything else.
Bullshit you say? What if I told you Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the worst actors ever? Yet, NO ONE imagines a Terminator without seeing him in the role in their minds. This was a case of the Right Look doing the heavy lifting even if he spoke with Marble-mouth most of the time. You guys are in desperate need for a win because I hate to say this to you, Marvel/Disney is kicking your asses up and down the street. And nobody has called the cops yet. You can expect to be beaten for quite a bit longer.
What about Man of Steel, you say? Let’s not and say we did. It made money, googobs in fact; otherwise I would call your movie future dead on arrival. Man of Steel gave you a chance to revitalize and reboot the Big Blue Boy Scout one more time, now with a bit of murder under his belt. (Bad move on your part but I am over it.) About the only saving grace you have going for you at the moment is television. I am going to skip over the cancellations of Young Justice and Green Lantern, the Animated Series, the wounds are still too fresh.
In the live-action category you have Arrow and its been doing well on television. Arrow has managed to build a continuity that has been both respected and admired for its continuity and designs, if not its depth of acting talent. Arrow has now spun off the Flash series and this is a good sign. Now you have two venues to show off both evil agencies and supervillains of the DC Universe. I expect we will see Aquaman and a few other potential Leaguers before too long. This is a good thing.
But you have been found guilty of shortsightedness, hubris and arrogance in your decision to think Wonder Woman was unnecessary in the scheme of things. She was considered to be part of the Trinity of DC Pantheon for a reason. Strong, wise, brave, and capable of holding her own against either of the other two members,she has been a lynchpin in the DC Universe for decades.
How such an inspirational character has sat fallow on your tables is a testament to the lack of vision to be found in your headquarters. Perhaps you need to rent out the Legion of Doom headquarters down in Louisiana. It might inspire you to consider you business in a more world-conquering perspective.
Movies are about magic. The magic to make me believe that what I am seeing could be true somewhere. Your current candidate for Wonder Woman is a mistake and I will stand by it. You will replace her in time for the Justice League movie you are hoping for. Yes, you are hoping to make a Justice League movie for the simple fact that the creation of the Silver Age Justice League inspired the writers over at Marvel to create the Avengers in the comics industry back in the day. And the money if you pull it off successful could challenge even YOUR dreams of financial avarice. (See: Avengers executives making it rain…)
But it looks like, unless DC/Warner gets its game in gear, and creates an integrated framework to build your movies around, something good, cohesive, strong and yet flexible, Marvel will be inspiring the next generation of heroes, not you. That would be a shame since you have THREE of the most recognizable icons ON THE PLANET; talk about squandering a natural resources.
The World’s Most Rabid DC Comic fans secretly dusting off their “Make Mine Marvel” No Prizes in their basement.
PS: Brainiac and Solomon Grundy wanted pants and got them.
P.P.S: Can Wonder Woman get some pants, they can be yoga pants if that is all you can afford, but is there any reason she has to walk around half dressed in a room full of men who are wearing tights and body armor? Really, in the age of internet porn, a naked legged superheroine should be considered almost puritanical by comparison. Put her in a costume that dignifies a character whose longevity, in an industry of flash-in-the-pans, warrants an outfit worthy of her age and experience.
P.P.P.S. Otherwise this Wonder Woman here on the right from Injustice might make her way to your boardrooms. You wouldn’t want that…