Wonder Woman Variant Divides Fandom
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Fandom toxicity rears its ugly head once more. When yesterday, twitter account DC Nation posted an image that divided comic book fans all over the internet. An image that does nothing other than present an alternate perspective of what Wonder Woman can look like. Not what she has been turned into. It’s a brave new world when DC Comics’ neckbeards are challenged on female body positivism and what overt sexualisation of comic book characters looks like.
What are the chances that comics readers will want to buy a WW book w/ that cover?— Gabriel Hernandez (@MrGabeHernandez) August 9, 2020
Do you believe customers who consistently purchase WW comics would find this an appealing purchase?
Is the Comics Industry on such solid footing they can afford to put out work that won't sell?
We took to the “streets” and asked a couple Comic Book retailers what they thought of the cover and if they would be happy to stock it on their shelves:
“‘Realistically’ speaking, Wonder Woman is the greatest young warrior of a tribe of super-athletic, ethnically-Greek Amazonian warrior women. So, she’s probably deeply-tanned, at least olive-complected, muscular, scarred and has a athletic body type somewhere between Venus and Serena Williams. She certainly wouldn’t look like Lynda Carter.
“And yes, we would happily carry the variant.”– Tony Davis, Million Year Picnic Comics
“Honestly, I don’t care it’s a comic book cover and we would stock them…
“Do you think that is just DC saying “we can make some money off the cultural environment right now” if they cared about social change/justice wouldn’t they have been trying to introduce people of color long ago?”– Gotham Underground Comic Shop
While some opposing points of view are out there, Robin Eisenberg, the artist responsible for this “Rooster Teeth” variant, issued a rather well grounded statement given the hatred this variant cover has received:
TLDR: strength and beauty can come in lots of awesome forms! I don't think one form negates the others? 😘 pic.twitter.com/vWmlphWYFJ— Robin Eisenberg (@eisenbergrobin) August 9, 2020
Journalist Anna Kessel, from The Guardian, wrote an article on body positivism back in 2018, questioning the role that body positivity and neutrality has in modern society. Where she interviewed a variety of women and female identifiers. It’s an interesting and compelling read. One that raises several issues around realistic body positivism within sexual stereotypes, body neutrality and body types. It’s an article which relates to the body positivism discussion in comics now more than ever.
Begging the question – Is Robin Eisenberg’s variant design copping hatred because it changes the design of Wonder Woman or is it because the projected female stereotype of what’s sexy has taken a backseat in this design?
The Problem isn’t the art, the Problem is you!
One certainty is that overt sexualisation of women has been front and centre in comic books for decades. And look, I’ve been there, straight white male being attracted to the lure of characters in comic books like Rogue or Witchblade in obligatory hyper-sexualised poses. It’s hard to ignore that lure when you’re on the cusp of adolescence. The assumption here is you get beyond this stage by, I don’t know, thirty or forty years old!?
But then, that’s a weak argument for full grown men to have when several of those men make it quite public of their relationship statuses on social media. I’m sure your wife or girlfriend, if you’re lucky enough to have one of those (yes, they exist Mr Incel), would have a thing or two to say about your perception of women as objects.
There’s nothing wrong with Robin Eisenberg’s variant cover design. The problem here is you!