REPORT: Joe Robert Cole In Talks To Write "Black Panther"
by Gail Simone
A couple of years back, a writer friend who was very dear to me and vital to comics, (and who has since unfortunately passed away), told me to always remember that the characters we write that are not creator-owned don’t belong to us, and that it was always wise to keep a little distance. It’s not a trick I have quite gotten the hang of, yet.
I find that if I don’t let the characters in, then this becomes just a job, and there’s too many things I still want to do in comics to settle for just a job. The upside is the joy of writing characters you care about, and the downside is, well, it can be tough to say goodbye. Whenever I leave a book for any reason, I find myself missing those characters terribly. I miss the Simpsons, I miss Deadpool and Agent X and Outlaw, I miss Ryan Choi, I miss the Gen13 kids.
I have a feeling I’m going to miss Wonder Woman for a long, long time. But unfortunately, it is time to say goodbye.
I want to say that for those that enjoyed my run, there IS good news coming very soon. The new writer is such a perfect and fitting choice that I know we’re looking at a great new era in Wonder Woman’s history. I am certain of it. And when you all find out very shortly, I think you’ll agree with me.
Pardon me if I ramble a little bit, here, got a lot of thoughts and no real plan for how to organize them.
First, I want to thank DC for giving me a chance to work on this book. It’s an honor, but it’s also just a wicked pleasure. I can hardly express how much sheer, ridiculous and fortunate fun it is to write for Diana, for Artemis, for Hippolyta, and for Etta. Having Diana run rampant in the DCU, sword-fighting with Beowulf, trying diplomacy on Khunds, and trading punches with Power Girl is quite probably the most fun I’ve had in comics. And I was proud to present some elements to the character that are just a little more about actual women than perhaps some past stories may have included.
You can’t write the book and not be aware of it…Diana is different. A lot of people have superheroes they like. But Diana is different. I went to get my computer fixed a few days ago, the woman behind the counter adores Wonder Woman. I got my hair cut over the weekend and the stylist next to mine almost lost her mind, she loves Diana so much. Neither of these women read comics, but they adore the character—her appeal can be utterly lost on some readers, but it resonates deeply with people who have often never cracked open a comic in their lives.
Every convention I went to, every signing, I would meet these people with amazing stories—I’ve talked about it often, but women who used Wonder Woman to explain about might for right to their daughters, people who used Wonder Woman as an example to get out of abusive relationships, I’ve had several people tell me Wonder Woman helped them through chemotherapy, or to come out to their family and friends. Last month, someone told me that my Wonder Woman stories have helped get him off an extremely dark path of depression when he needed it most, and now he’s much, much better. Award-winning novelist and Wonder archivist supreme Andy Mangels told me a story about a woman who actually trained to become an astronaut after being inspired by classic Wonder Woman stories.
It’s…different. Wonder Woman is different.
I know not all readers get it. I know some actresses don’t get it. I know quite a few PROS who don’t get it.
What can I say? It’s their loss.
It was amazing to be a part of something like that.
So now I join a little community of ex-Wonder Woman writers and all I can do is hope I acquitted myself half as well as they did. This group, again, is different. I have never, and I mean never, met a group of past writers who have been so ridiculously encouraging, helpful, and generous. Every time I had a question, every time I sought advice, they were there, over and over. I would find kind notes from them about the latest issue, or message board posts that meant the world to me, from people I truly have admired. Many of them haven’t even worked in comics for years, and still never failed to take the time to be so giving. I think, to them, even when they’re not on the book, they want the new team to do right by Wonder Woman. I can’t thank them enough, but in particular, I have to give special thanks to Phil Jimenez, Greg Rucka, and the great George Perez. It would have been a far tougher road without those guys.
And the biggest thanks go to the artists who put up with my crazy scripts and schedule, and did such phenomenal work…Aaron Lopresti, Bernard Chang, Terry and Rachel Dodson, Matt Ryan, Brad Anderson, Chris Batista, Fernando Dagnino and Nicola Scott. I think they produced some of the best looking Wonder Woman art in her entire history.
Lest this sound too bittersweet, I have to say, I’m pretty joyful. I got to write this book I loved for a decent-sized run, got to work with some amazing people, and got to meet an incredible group of Wonder Woman loyalists. We got to be part of the first animated Wonder Woman animated film. We created the biggest Wonder Woman message board in history, attracting readers and pros alike with over 70,000 posts in just a few months, right here at Comic Book Resources (click here to check it out). And we’ve started this very column, Wonder of Wonders, with four of the best and most talented Wonder commentators anywhere rotating on writing chores, making essential reading for Diana fans every time at bat.
We brought in some people to work on Wonder Woman on projects I’m hoping will still see the light of day, many of whom have never worked at DC before, and we’re handing over the reins to the best possible choice to take over. And there’s a little surprise in #600 that is a dream come true for me. So I’m happy for the book and for Diana. And we’re going out with a bang, with a big, crazy invasion story featuring the return of someone from WW history, and art by the mighty Nicola Scott.
I have the best and happiest schedule ever coming up, myself, continuing on the darkly funny Secret Six, a book I still can’t believe we get to publish every month, a new Welcome to Tranquility mini-series already in the can starting in July, and in May, my beloved Birds of Prey returns, with artist Ed Benes and some crazy, crazy dangerous chicks I happen to adore. Aside from some secret stuff we can’t talk about yet, I’m working with one of the industry’s biggest and best artists on something truly massive and just deviously fun. I can’t wait to talk about it.
That’s it, thanks for listening to me prattle on. There’s always stuff you wish you had been able to get to whether you’re on a book for one issue or fifty. I hope I gt to tell a couple of these stories in the future.
Thank you to everyone who gave the book a chance, and thank you for all the support and joy you have brought to the book and the character. Wonder Woman is different, and I think a lot of that is because the readers are different, too, in the best possible way.
Thanks for everything and don’t let the megalodons bite,
Be sure to go visit the Wonder Woman forum right here at CBR! Here‘s a link!
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