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Committed: Jim Lee’s Lack of Wonder

070110_newwwcostumeAs a designer, I love clothing. It is basically packaging for humans. Just like packaging, the function is two-fold; 1) Packaging gives a clear indication of what is inside, and 2) Packaging facilitates the use of whatever it contains. Extending this to clothing then, the primary function of any item of clothing is to convey something clear about the wearer to world, and then to create ease and efficacy of movement. In many ways a superhero costume (or more realistically, a uniform for work) must do this even more blatantly. People must be able to immediately recognize the job and stay out of the heroes way.

070110_mcqueen2A pet peeve of mine is people who can use design software, and so they call themselves designers, (despite no experience or training in the field.) Even though I am able to cook, I would never call myself a chef. Similarly, just because a comic book artist is able to draw clothing, that does not make them stylists or fashion designers. When was the last time a woman asked a geeky man to help her buy clothing (other than maybe some fetish wear)? Men have a tendency to take one glance at mall fashion in their teens, and never look again. Never was this more obvious than in comic books, and the new Wonder Woman costume has to be the pinnacle of this kind of folly. In comic books luckily men are rarely called upon to draw civilians, but when they do, men consistently draw women in clothing that would only have worked 10 or 20 years ago. Sadly, none of them think to employ the advice of stylists or designers. Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have designed superheroic clothing that is 20 years ahead of it’s time. For the first time in history, fashion is looking to comic books for inspiration, so why is Jim Lee throwing out everything that is so super about Wonder Woman’s costume now? Let us dissect some of the most egregious errors that have been made here:

070110_mcqueen31. The Jacket:
At the moment, while fashion is pretty eclectic, I personally like the military influences and fitted jackets that are going on, they are neat and tailored while still showing a woman’s waist. I have broad shoulders, so I’m always happy when clothes like that are in because I look better with well-tailored jackets instead of slouchy ones. What I’m not seeing anywhere are oversized cut-off bolero jackets. This is something that was briefly fashionable in the 1980’s, and it only ever looked good on very thin women with no asses (hence the short-lived appeal. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior. As an Amazon, she’s got a nice muscular ass (or I want to know why not) and she’s not going to dress like a teenager from Flashdance.

2. Leggings:
Similarly, legging are currently so abused and so heinous a fashion crime, that even American Apparel (that bastion of irritating hipster-wear) have had to clearly label their leggings as tights, and not pants. Wonder Woman is timeless and godlike, not a trashy teen

070110_americanapparel3. Gloves:
In a similar militaristic influence as the fitted jackets, people have been wearing wrist wraps and cuffs as fashion accessories for a while now. Finally, after 70 years of being drastically unfashionable, why would Wonder Woman suddenly stop wearing them and move on to some glove-things which could inhibit wrist mobility? It’s nonsensical. Wrist cuffs are finally a mainstream fashion accessory, so let’s get rid of them? No, it’s ridiculous.

4. Choker:
Chokers were kind of big in the early ’90’s, remember that? It was to sex up the fact that grunge for women was pretty hideous at times. How do you remind people that you’re hot when you’re generally wearing plaid shirts and jeans which are 4 sizes too big? Throw on a choker. I do sometimes still see them on underwear models, so that’s probably where Lee got the idea.

070110_hernandezWWAs an emissary of the gods, a brave warrior sent to do battle in a foreign land, Wonder Woman comes from a race who cut off a breast to be better bowmen. No matter how this character is changed, she is not going to stop being an Amazon, so what is the thinking behind this feeble attempt to clothe her? I’m having a very hard time with Jim Lee’s take on Wonder Woman’s new costume.

As an art director, the idea of simply throwing away 70 years of strong brand recognition of this first lady of super powers is an absolute horror story. I am consoling myself with the idea that this is probably just a temporary marketing idea (and as despicable as I find that, it makes some sense.) Other characters have been through similar phases, for example Superman’s blue period, or Spider-Man’s black suit, but in both of those instances, they looked simply strange, otherworldly even, which made some sense in their universes. This low-rent anti-fashion statement cheapens the brand of Wonder Woman, and it’s a brand which cannot take this kind of abuse.

070110_rossWWI’ve always sort of liked Wonder Woman’s ludicrously old school costume. The subtle tweaks that it’s had over the years are perfectly acceptable to me (a higher leg on the pants, or hipster shorts, small changes to the bodice, etc), but it always remained essentially the same, and spoke volumes about her power. Most superhero costumes are revealing, after all, they’re physically perfect (though even the Blob wears a form-fitting costume, so maybe it’s not about the physique, but the job), whatever the reason, a lot of the most powerful heroes are practically naked. Complete nudity is almost always a sign of incredible power, for example the Silver Surfer and Doctor Manhattan do not wear clothing because they’re all-powerful. By dint of the same logic, I like the fact that Wonder Woman shows some skin, it implies that she is so strong that she never even considered wearing restrictive, protective garments.

On the rare occasions that Wonder Woman dons her ceremonial white robes for royal functions and ambassadorial duties, or her battle armor in times of epic battle. She is aware that her simple, daily uniform only fulfills some functions and isn’t appropriate for all situations. She’s not crazy. But she also knows the power of a god-like legend, and doesn’t work mess with it. The costume she has is like that of the emergency services, it is unchanging and functions to let people know what she is and what she does. Yes, it is a fantastical creation, and it is unrealistic. So are Amazons and superheroes. She is our link with Greek mythology, and her brash, obvious, American flag-inspired costume cements that bond. Drastically changing Wonder Woman’s costume is absolutely criminal, and to do so to a geeky man’s specifications is doubly criminal. She is a brand, and icon, and a hero.

166 Comments

100% YES, you’re absolutely right!

Whenever I read this column, I sincerely hope it’s a Sidney Mellon for 2010. I really, really hope it is. Honestly.

Because, if not, the level of seriousness and ludicrous, over-the-top sincerity and dedication to the art form of the comic book as it applies to mental health, fashion and many topics it’s covered so far is very scary.

i’d love to play’s devil’s advocate but… damn. I showed the new design to my gf b/c I thought it was fine and she immediately complained about the jacket. I mean like 2 seconds after I showed it to her.

I showed the new design to my gf b/c I thought it was fine and she immediately complained about the jacket. I mean like 2 seconds after I showed it to her.

Rightly so. The jacket is more suited for Kelly Bundy or a cast member on SAVED BY THE BELL than a modern character, superhero or otherwise. On the plus side, Diana probably got a great deal on it at the thrift store.

I was indifferent to the costume, but your arguments are so good, that I have to leave indifference and become a person that dislikes the new costume.

Steven R. Stahl

July 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

For all the advantages that her classic costume might have, it didn’t drive sales. Low sales are why DC is doing something relatively radical with the character. The overheated reactions I’ve seen to the costume change hint at some of the reasons why sales are low: Many people are comfortable thinking of her as an icon, a symbol of feminine power, but have no interest in reading stories about her; others see her as a character in a type of formula, or even fetish, fiction and don’t care to have her written any other way. Any change that broadens Wonder Woman’s appeal without hurting the character, in terms of storytelling, is good.

SRS

I’ve always loved Wonder Woman but hated the costume, and I agree with Straczynski that the character and her mythology just deserve so much more than they’ve gotten over the years, not least of which a more practical costume. But this whole getup, especially the jacket and the spurs … le sigh.

But then, I suppose one couldn’t really expect much better from Jim Lee. -_-

Rollo Tomassi

July 1, 2010 at 9:46 am

It’s fascinating to read a knowledgable female’s perspective on the new threads. As a nerdy guy, admittedly I don’t know a thing about “fashion” and the new costume gave me a “meh/feh” feeling. Thanks for breaking it down. Very interesting and entertaining.

The first thing that comes to mind after reading your article, It sounds like JMS and Jim Lee are giving Wonder Woman the Coke 2 treatment. Would you agree? Not just with the new design but with the radical change in story as well. Like you say they want to generate interest/outrage then reset everything back to normal. Now that I think about the comics business in general is like Coke 2. They deviate from the norm or standard and then change everything back to normal. You gave examples of this with Superman and Spider-Man and look what is being done in the batverse.

As Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” The new costume is a classic example of making a change that was sure to get people talking again, even if it was only to complain about the change.

I completely agree with the last two paragraphs!

I never did like her old costume, but I like this one even less. The base of a nice, slick modern costume is there, but it’s just missing the mark. A woman with any idea of what fashion looks like nowadays wouldn’t be caught dead in that outfit– it really does just scream “a nerdy man designed me”. Someone should have raided Project Rooftop for ideas, not Scifi Channel Original Series from 1996.

And my GOD, armored shoulder pads? REALLY?

Great article.

Brilliant article.

This line is classic: “Drastically changing Wonder Woman’s costume is absolutely criminal, and to do so to a geeky man’s specifications is doubly criminal.”

I also think it speaks volumes about Jim Lee’s boss, Diane Nelson. Because now more than ever, its clear that Ms. Nelson either doesn’t have a clue or just doesn’t care. Because I can’t see an intelligent individual who would look at this and say, “Hey, great idea guys.”

I would like to point that we’re all getting worked up over nothing – the costume isn’t going to stay (especially after all this). It will be a year long story line and then done. That’ll be the end of it.

Rhodes,

As Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” The new costume is a classic example of making a change that was sure to get people talking again, even if it was only to complain about the change.

I agree but to add, there are two kinds of publicity: the kind that attracts and the kind that repels.

Someone used the ‘New’ Coke analogy, which didn’t turn out very well for the brand. Some people also might think all the publicity about BP is a good thing too.

youre all missing the point:
it can’t be worse than the swimming suit / granny pants.

ANY change is better.

Duff McWhalen

July 1, 2010 at 10:35 am

I’m geeky, I’m a man, and I don’t have a degree in design to throw in anyone’s face. But I’m not clueless! I could write a book on what’s wrong with that outfit.

While I don’t care about the big costume change, and I don’t quite understand why some fans are getting so angry over a plot driven costume change that probably won’t even last as long as the plot, this is the best argument I have read for why the costume change is wrong, as opposed to, ‘it sucks’ or ‘doesn’t look like Wonder Woman.’ Nicely done. DC should hire 18 year old female interns to just go through today’s comics and say what’s ‘hot’ and what’s ‘not.’

Matt Halteman

July 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

I showed the new costume to my non-comics reading wife and she said “Who is that?”

My response was “Exactly”.

I never understood the heat that the old costume got.

It’s impractical? so are all costumes, superheroes need not be realistic.

Great column Sonia.

@Matt Hlateman:

“I showed the new costume to my non-comics reading wife and she said “Who is that?”

My response was “Exactly”.”

I agree. For all the love it or hate it…it just doesn’t read as Wonder Woman…there’s nothing iconic about it. And I think, that though we all know this is going to be temporary and has been “designed to be practical etc. to fit the new story”…wouldn’t it be great if when we saw Wonder Woman in a new more practical more “street wear” costume…that we still saw Wonder Woman? That Diana…no matter what you do to her past or present…still retains the feeling of I AM WONDER WOMAN. That’s what kills me about it.

I completely agree. In addition, shouldn’t Diana have a more mediterranean than asian complexion and facial shape? After all, the amazons *are* from Greece…

Sir Manley Johnson

July 1, 2010 at 11:38 am

While I don’t believe that it’s always true that ‘Packaging gives a clear indication of what is inside’, especially when it comes to the way people dress, I do agree with most of the points you’ve brought up about the costume change and costume design in general. A very thoughtful and well-informed piece.

I think you are spot on in the last sentence. She is a brand and no doubt she will go back to the star-spangled swimsuit in the not to distant future.

It is kind of odd that a guy would be designing Wonder Woman’s costume. Just as odd as a guy creating an iconic role model for women, ladies and girls. Maybe that why Wonder Woman, except for Lynda Carter’s TV interperetation never appealed to me in a serious story driven way. I like lookin’ at Wonder Woman, but if I do it for too long I go cross-eyed. Is it because Alex Ross designed Captain America’s costume and he’s currently working on The Invaders and other non-DC projects that he was not involoved in any way in redesigning Wonder Woman’s costume? I think he might have a better grasp of functionality of a costume or uniform than Jim Lee. And, I like Jim Lee’s work, but, like most typical artists his work is riddled with a swimsuit model approach. I’m thinking more of VooDoo and Zealot from WildCATs and most of his X-Men work. Now that you mention it in the column, there wasn’t a woman – a costume designer – a fashion designer – that he could consult, and maybe make this redesign and issue # 600 a bigger deal? This seems as cheesy as the hip ’60’s Emma Peel white jumpsuit she wore…

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

@David:

” In addition, shouldn’t Diana have a more mediterranean than asian complexion and facial shape? After all, the amazons *are* from Greece…”

Not necessarily, if memory serves me right, wasn’t Diana shaped and molded from clay from her origin? (vol. 2 – the Perez era).

It’s not that they changed the costume that bugs the crap out of me, it’s that they made something that the headline describes exactly: a total lack of wonder.

Lee’s WW costume in “Just Imagine if Stan Lee Created…” was 100x better than this. Wonder Woman wearing black/midnight blue? A leather, looking jacket?

I can understand the idea of having a costume that “accessorizes.” That makes sense especially if you’re trying to market the character to young girls. But the color scheme I cannot abide by. Getting rid of the obvious U.S. flag motif is fine, too. But white/gold or even white/red/gold would have been a brighter and much more appropriate color scheme.

All characters need updates from time to time, but you shouldn’t sacrifice the character’s brand (and soul) in doing so.

All she really needed was pants.

From her supposed new incarnation and inner city upbringing I thought they’d put her in something a bit more practical like denim jeans…a knee high boot might be fashinable, but maybe like a work boot or some sort of just cross trainer if we were going to be practical…but then Wonder Woman can fly so her choice of foot wear might just be superfluous…lol…

I agree..they should have gotten some design advice…maybe had a conest of some sort and gathered ideas…

Look I just wanted some pants, A DECENT PAIR OF PANTS!

Solomon Grundy

July 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Solomon Grundy wants wonder pants too!

This too shall pass.

Gotta watch out for the Charlie Tango.

It’s not that I don’t like the costume, I do, but I think you’re right that it looks more like a girl in her twenties trying to look like a bad-ass than a mature woman, and it’s supposed to be Wonder WOMAN, not Wonder GIRL (Donna Troy is probably too mature to pull of this costume off either, but there’s still hope for Cassie, it is basically her costume anyway). It’s like how SuperBOY can get away with jeans and a t-shirt, but SuperMAN can’t; young adults and mature adults dress differently, their age + attire carry with them different connotations of who they are (not that we should judge books by their covers, but comic books rely on appearances to develop characters by presenting us with metaphysical manifestations of their inner character).
Though Wonder Woman has survived far worse than a change of wardrobe over the years, with a many contradictions and different interpretations of who she is; she will endure.

Is this what we’re going to see on the screen in 2013?

I’m a guy and have no clue about fashion. Obviously, Jim Lee’s fashion design is stuck in his 1990s X-Men/WildCATs days. Every heroine he drew in those days dressed like this. My wife hates the new costume and my kids don’t even recognize her as Wonder Woman. I’m sure her classic look will be back before any movie comes out. If they tried putting this outfit on screen I know at least 6 people who will stay far away from the theater.

I would have loved for them to go for something like what’s depicted here:

http://fanartexhibit.wordpress.com/characters/

It’s more in keeping with her origins as a Greek warrior, but still retains alot of the original costume’s look and feel.

no matter what they dress her in, she’s still boring

See, I think the jacket’s optional outerwear that I expect to see off as much as it is on, so I’ll give it a pass even if it should have been cut differently.

Though I like the costume underneath it well enough, this column makes some incredible observations about the subtleties of design that are spot on and that I never would have garnered on my own. (Nudity as power? Well, yes, I can see that now!)

This article makes me sad. Almost as sad as that costume does.

So, as a designer, given the announced alternative storyline, how would you design clothing suitable for an urban environment where Wonder Woman is a fugitive? Where do you put the pockets?

Well written article. It should be mentioned in regard to why the choker. Don Kramer asked for her to have a choker, so it wasn’t a Jim Lee idea.

Quoting Don, “I had one minor request for her to have the choker necklace, but that’s for reasons further down the road in the story. It’s based on my preference as far as what I know of what’s coming in the story.”

Great article.

I like her original costume, and I’m not sure why, but I never seemed exploitative to me, unlike, say, Psylocke’s or Star Sapphire’s. I think it’s like a colorful Miss America Pageant costume.

I meant, IT never seemed exploitative to me

The only thing missing from this article are your ideas for a Wonder Woman costume that would allow her to blend in to an urban environment, fight when necessary, and still keep some traces of the imagery, as the story requires. I see lots of criticism but no better ideas, just touting of the old costume which wouldn’t work for the current story’s purposes at all.

@Jeff:

I don’t feel that criticism of comics (be it costumes, characters, stories, or whatever) need to come with ways in which that thing can be better. It can I suppose but it shouldn’t have to be a pre-requisite…Sonia and others commenting don’t work in the industry designing costumes…they’re not paid to do it…it doesn’t mean that they don’t or can’t have an opinion about whether they respond to a design or not.

That said, for my money, here’s a better idea:

http://www.tencentticker.com/projectrooftop/2006/04/26/wonder-woman-by-jamie-mckelvie/

And columns all over are filled with comments full of links (many of them excellent) and discussion about what would have been better…

It reminds me of Jim Lee’s Rogue costume from X-Men 1. Only thing missing is the loose hanging belt.

” Drastically changing Wonder Woman’s costume is absolutely criminal, and to do so to a geeky man’s specifications is doubly criminal. ”

Of course, Wonder Woman was designed by a man, and a polyamorous man into bondage, no less. What makes Jim Lee so much worse?

Excellent post. Dead on.

Well, this too shall pass. It won’t be long before they put her back in the regular costume or one similar to it.

The fact that an artist whose hey-day was in the 90s made a design that looks like it is from the 90s should come as no surprise. If Dave Cockrum were alive to do a WW redesign I am sure it would have bell bottoms.

Considering that most people’s complaints about the old costume revolved around it being too skimpy, I don’t see why they didn’t just have her do what the rest of the “Trinity” does and wear tights. Same costume, just color in her legs, and boom. Maybe throw in a little cloaklike cape. Good enough for Superman, good enough for Batman, why noy give it a shot for Wonder Woman before totally revamping the character? Maybe ditch the white stars, which are the only overtly “American” parts of the outfit (the fact that she wears American iconography despite not being American being the second biggest complaint about her uniform).

And I agree with Rene above that the old costume never seemed exploitative to me. I mean, I get that it probably objectively IS, but it’s what Wonder Woman’s worn since before I was born. When I first saw that outfit, I wasn’t even interested in women in that way yet, and by the time I was, it’s just what she wore. Like a lifeguard, or an Olympic gymnast – you can see that the outfit exposes flesh, and if the person wearing it is attractive and the appropriate gender relative to yourself you can see the appeal, but it it just seems like what they’re supposed to wear.

Oh, and for the record, the Amazons weren’t Greek. They were part of Greek mythology, but they were foreigners from the Greek point of view. Depicting them as Mediterranean isn’t necessarily incorrect, as they were fictional and the average ancient Greek might well have imagined them looking Greek, but their supposed territory was outside Greece, most likely somewhere in what is no the Middle East. Also, they were always depicted with two breasts in Greek art, and the etymology of “Amazon” meaning “without breast” is largely discredited.

In a way, the costume is iconic.

But…it’s iconic in the way that, basically, the costume looks like it’s Black Canary cosplaying as Wonder Woman. Because a lot of the elements here are…so very Canary.

Mixed in with Gypsy’s costume from her appearances in Birds of Prey.

this post is so right on. so well written…thanks

I’m with Jeffmc2000 and Brainiac: pants, all she needs is pants, and not star-spangled panties. With a little tweaking, the top can pretty much stay the same. I mentioned this in another thread, but the closest design to what I’m thinking of can be found in Chaykin’s Secret Society of Super-heroes (don’t know if he or McKone designed it). Actually, that McKelvie design that Kelly linked is pretty damn good – just get rid of the white stripes on the boots & it’s damn near perfect…

I continue to shout for the minority I suppose but this is just stupid. Comparing costumes to modern fashion is ridiculous. Fashion is WAAAAY too fluid to design costumes based on it. In fact, most of the complaints about this new costume that I hear is that it is “too 90’s”. That is the problem with tying something to current fashion. By the time the book is out, fashion will have changed again. (Like those wrist wraps you mentioned. They look stupid on real people. It doesn’t matter whether they are fashionable or not. They still look stupid.)

And the idea that people would defend her ‘calssic costume’ really gets to me. It is sexist crap and deserves to be relegated to history. Just because something has been around for a long time doesn’t make it good.

Is the new costume perfect? No, but it is sure better than her running around in a pageant style swimsuit complete with a U.S.A. motif that makes no sense whatsoever.

(Oh, I do like the Jamie Mckelvie deisgn, by the way)

— Rusty Priske:
Fashion is WAAAAY too fluid to design costumes based on it. In fact, most of the complaints about this new costume that I hear is that it is “too 90’s”. That is the problem with tying something to current fashion. By the time the book is out, fashion will have changed again.

Yes, but not as drastically a it changed from 1990 to now. So any costume designed with the sense of fashion from 2005 to 2009 (when this one must have been designed) has more style in terms of credibility than this. Obviously, as mentioned by many others before, this costume is just another superhero-costume for just another heroine. Mr. Lee could have walked the streets of New York looking around for accessories that would have suited a Wonder Woman better than long-out-of-fashion leggins, jackets and so on. But he, sadly, didn’t.

AND: nope, a new costume is NOT better when recognition is suffering.

As someone with no interest in fashion trends or taste in clothes whatsoever, I find this article fascinating. It certainly provides a new perspective.

However, I think you’re missing some positive points about the new costume. First of all, the absent high heels. Unlike most variations on WW’s classic costume, this one comes with the ability to walk, not to mention go on adventures and getting into fights.

And the introduction of pants, and cover for the arms and shoulders and back, however tasteless, should be applauded as a milestone in the battle against the objectification of women. Wonder Woman’s costume has always been an icon of sexism more than anything else.

The comparison to nude all-powerful heroes don’t hold water, as I’m sure no one really needs to be told. We need only look at The Authority’s Engineer to see the vast difference in how male and female nakedness works: By virtue of his blue skin, Dr Manhattan can let it all hang out without engaging the reader in issues that may lead him to quesiton his sexuality; while the Engineer by virtue of her skin-tight chrome armor can strike alluring and titillating poses on every page without engaging the censor’s pen.

It’s pretty easy to see the thinking behind Wonder Woman’s outfit was not “How do we show this person is too strong to consider armor a priority on the battlefield?” as much as “How do we make the gal show the most goods possible without making them ask how come she never falls out of her clothes?”

Is the original design really sexist crap? Many of the people who cry out that they miss the old design are women. Many of the people defending the new design seem to be men. Do fictional superwomen require men to tell them how to dress in a non-sexist manner?

Jim Lee seems to be stuck in the 90s with his costume designs and loves jackets/unnecessary pockets. Gambit, Cyclops, Rogue, Grifter, Jason Todd and now Wonder Woman. She looks like she’s gonna go to the club.

I completely agree with Rusty’s comment! Well said!

i don’t mind WW’s old costume, but i don’t hate this design either. This is only temporary, and it could be worse. Rememeber that this is all due to JMS new story. At the end, WW will most likely be back in her old duds. i would like for her costume to cover more skin, but it is not that big of a deal.

oh come people, we all know why this really happened. the traditional costume wouldn’t work in a live action movie and so dc is testing the waters to see how non-comic fans would react a more clothed wonder woman. This is all set up for the wonder woman movie and to try in fans who don’t know anything about the character other than her costume.

I have a sister who hates comic books but loves wonder woman and she likes the costume, those are the people DC cares about right now.

I agree with parts of this article, but then totally not other parts. I’m 20-something lady with lots of lady friends who all read comics and none of us could ever get into WW specifically because she looks ridiculous in her old costume. Yes it’s iconic, in the same manner Ronald McDonald’s is, but that doesn’t make it good anymore then you’d call his costume awesomely cool. Especially when you place her next to the other 2 bigs of DC. Star spangled panties people. That is not ‘strong female character’ wear. Being naked does not equal strong independent woman- it equals slutty looking. Strong independent lady and slutty are not the same thing and I hate them being treated like they’re interchangeable- a lady can be sexy and strong and not trashy, and her old costume is insane with the trashy and ridiculous. Her old costume looks way way way more like some geeky man made it (because he did). Some geeky man who wanted to make a fetishy mostly naked lady for fanboys to ogle.

This new thing may not be the most fashionably hip, but seriously, take the jacket off, and I’m all for it. Her shirt is cute! Her tiara is really cute! Her wrist things are also pretty dang cute in my opinion. And most of all, she’s not mostly NAKED anymore, and I like that SO much. People keep screaming ‘I showed this to someone who doesn’t know WW and they had no idea who it was’ and I say, so what. This is supposed to be a low key, in hiding Wonder Woman. Show it to someone who does know Wonder Woman and it might take them a second but then they DO know who it is, and that’s what they were going for.

This is not a crime against humanity to change her costume. It will change again, people. Calm down. This is for a story. I’m sure horrible star spangled abomination will return. I just don’t get comic fans. None of you even like comics. Why do you even bother reading them? You complain when things stay the same. You complain when things try to change. If you can’t be pleased, take up novels with no visuals please. You’re ruining everyone’s good time.

I could not agree more. Very well said. In fact DC have not any clue of what to do with the amazon princess. They dont see her potential as the first and more famous superheroine of the whole world.

Andrew Kilian

July 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

What I want to see is the great artists of the industry (Mark Schultz, Frank Cho, Adam Hughes, Dave Johnson, Paul Renaud, Stephan Roux, Alex Ross) all do their take on reinventing Wonder Woman and then see a poll on which one people would want as a new costume.

One think I think offended people the most was that Jim Lee’s drawing looked like it was scribbled out during a lunch meeting at Taco Del Sol on a napkin. If they had used the artwork from the cover I don’t think people would have been as outraged. If DC hasn’t figured out that you have to have professionally done artwork for a rollout like this then wtf?!

@ Nitz the Bloody: This article has a decent point but its muddied in the first place by the fact that apparently the problem is that a “geeky man” designed it. Whole article’s drenched in condescension so the valid points are no longer as strong.

mutantkingmagneto

July 4, 2010 at 3:14 am

to the people saying that her old costume was very showing, i wish to have them switch their mind for a second and think about all the men in comics. If you think about, they’re all given perfects body shapes just like the women, so in reality their is the same amount towards the opposite gender’s desire for appealing people

the reason why this costume (and the whole reboot), to me is so bad is that she’s an amazon, and well, even if she’s coming from the 90s ghetto now i think she’d have something inside her that wasn’t so… ghettoish. i honestly cant find one good think that i like about this costume. they really couldve just taken away the stars from the pants and make them at least long enough to touch her knees and it wouldve been good

I swear to God, the straw-WW-costume some people are using to argue against WW’s classic look is ludicrous to anyone who’s actually been following the series. Terry Dodson’s redesign incorporated all of the best elements of Wonder Woman’s costume elements, and made her look like a hero. Bare arms and legs is not “NAKED.” This is Wonder Woman we’re talking about. Not mid-90s Witchblade. Her uniform was accepted as modest enough for approval by the Comics Code, and primetime television audiences of yesteryear. Her last costume in the comics didn’t include heels, covered her entire chest, and didn’t involve a thong.

Also, Jenny Creed, your assertion that “Wonder Woman’s costume has always been an icon of sexism more than anything else,” is so uninformed and sad I can hardly believe someone wrote those words down. Wonder Woman is the MOST recognizable female superhero of all time, AND of the top three, the ONLY one not to serve as a legacy character to a prior male superhero.

I don’t mind folks liking this non-superhero-y, less recognizable new look. I don’t, but whatever. What I do mind is the blatant dismissal of the importance of Wonder Woman in the fight against sexism, inside and out of comics.

DC probably should have spoken to you, or other fashion designers, for inspiration before handing it over to Jim Lee. I think it would be important to get perspective from women on how possibly, in their eyes, a warrior woman like Wonder Woman would want to dress herself for heroics.

And maybe they did, but I am having difficulty taking her new look seriously. It’s 90s punk or something. Superman and Batman look ICONIC. WW’s original costume is iconic as well, even if it seems silly by today’s standard to some. But I feel like they may have gone too far in a different direction. She doesn’t look iconic, she looks like she picked up some Wonder Woman merchandise at a Hot Topic or something.

WW costume has never been the same. Only people b*tching about it are the ones who really don’t read or know the history her history of change.

Chill. Out. Such a ludicrous over-reaction to a costume change that probably won’t even be around that long. The costume looks great. If you don’t like it, well, you can’t please everyone. Why not keep absolutely everything the same? Would you be happy with that?

p.s. A designer is a designer. A piece of paper telling you that you finished a course doesn’t make you a great designer. A portfolio and a career makes you a designer. Without a job as a designer you’re simply unemployed.

The classic design is iconic and functions perfectly (as many have pointed out). The new design is yet another fashion disaster from DC Comics who gave us a chain wallet for Superboy about 5 years after it was a trend.

Wonder Woman was a character designed to represent a strong woman to boys and fill a void that existed in a marketplace populated with mainly male creations. She has gone on to become synonymous with women’s lib movements and other charitable organizations (just google Wonder Woman Day). The redesign is hardly in keeping with this legacy and comes off as a hastily thought-out gimmick. As this article has also pointed out, it is also a major fail in the fashion sense and will hardly bring any new readers to the comic.

I am also sure that the movie has its own agenda and will hardly take this new look WW into account when designing their image.

As others have said, give it a year and we’ll be seeing a ‘return to greatness’ featuring the classic uniform.

This whole WW costume debacle points to one thing: Comic fans will bitch about ANYTHING. I’m willing to be more than half the people commenting don’t even read Wonder Woman.

I think it’s a good update. It could’ve been much, MUCH worse.

I’d like to see some artists’ takes on a good Wonder Woman costume update. This is a pretty popular site with the industry. Maybe Jim Lee/Dan Didio sees it and decide to use it (while compensationg the designer of course). You never know…this could be an original contest idea for Comic Book Resources.

Jim Lee designed the costume as a character designer for a comicbook, not as a fashion designer for someone who would wear a real wardrobe on a catwalk. Sorry but I disagree with this article and consider it a failure for not realizing that there is a difference between character design for comics and games and fashion design. I am also blown away by the fact this person has the audacity to claim Jim Lee is not a designer. Not only is it pompous but also uninformed to make assumptions when you clearly do not know what you are talking about. Seriously, if you are going to write an article you should know your subject. Jim Lee just designed an entire videogame (DC Online) and helped not only design the world but helped design the characters as well along with a team of other artists. That makes him a designer, more specifically a character designer for comics and games.

Also, Jim Lee was designing off the notes of the writer who has now vastly changed the origin so that would definitely drive the overall design. When you look at the new design in context with the new origin, it makes perfect sense.

 Is it my favorite? No, but my idea of a gladiatorial outfit wouldn’t serve the new origin that’s been given to her. I think Jim Lees new design makes sense for a character who gets whisked from childhood and is raised Asa superhero on the streets of a metropolitan city. The tiara, chestpiece and gauntlets echo amazon influence while the jacket and pants echfight influence of city life. This proves my assertion that Jim Lee is unquestionably an awesome artist and visual designer and that his design is both solid and functional.  

Kudos to you for a great article and as I’ve posted elsewhere, there’s a lot ill-informed people out there who clearly don’t undersdtand the iconic original costume al all.

Describing it as an American Flag waving pageant bathing suit is totally ludicrous. Perez re-created Diana for the post crisis era in a costume that was armour. Sure, some artists have depicted it in different ways since – some more cheesecake than others – but artists like Perez, Ross, Scott etc show that you can include all the elements of the costume that is so instantly recognisable across the world by men and woman who have never read the comic – and STILL make it look realistic, functional and regal.

And Gail in issue 43 explained the true origins of the costume’s design as having NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO with the star spangled banner and EVERYTHING TO DO with the crimson moon and star consolation that was in the sky during of the night she was created by Hippolyta. So get over it people. She doesn’t wear the stars and stripes anymore even as part of her classic costume. You think white stars are exclusive to America? Australia might disagree with you there.

I totally agree with the statement regarding her bare legs too – it’s a sign of her ultimate confidence in her body and abilities. Plus she comes from a Greek influenced culture – whereby the Spartans, Trojans et all didn’t fight wars wearing pants. They were bare legged too. Go figure….

Didnt care about the new design but after reading this. I think it would have been a good idea to get tips from real fashion designers. Especially if you’re going to officially change wonderwoman’s costume. I figured they were trying to make an official costume that could be used in the movies soon.

Oh and also that your are an outright fool for being so pompous and arrogant to assert that Jim Lee isn’t a designer. You get an epic fail.

Ok first of all Artists are designers, just because people spend millions of dollars broadcasting that you can only design buildings cars and worlds well if you graduate from their school, does not make it so. Ideas make good designers – vision not training- many great designers don’t even draw well and hire artists to interpret their vision. That interpretation is the ARTISTS still and the designer architect- engineer – or other ok’s it and then we go to safety or on the fashion side cohesion. You might feel there is no cohesion(wow) on the Lee design, but it wouldn’t matter (i’ll explain later). She could easily be faith buffy or any of jessica biels characters; who just threw on a cool jacket that happened to have a few stars on it and called herself wonder woman. That is why I kind of like it. Problem is ITS WONDER WOMAN redesigning WONDER WOMAN has to be the next hardest thing to redesigning superman or Mickey and Mini Mouse. They wouldn’t dare would they (mickey- they already tried superman)? we can’t even stand a redesigning of lara croft never alone wonder woman. Come on guys he did a fine job; you hate it; fine, but this is not rocket science. Clothes are not the character, or the face, what would wonder woman say what would wonder woman do, matter a little more than what she has on at the time. especially if we want a successful wonder woman movie, which I have to tell you with some of the fussy people running around; the old outfit might not cut it a full 2hrs like it would in anime. I have never liked underwear hero’s but for WW I made the exception because I grew up watching linda carter reruns and she made it work. enough already. I have 20 designs myself I’m sure everyone will find them mocking or funny or hate them. cool for an am like me :). I may post them monday, but lets not pretend that anyone has improved batman in design of costume from the original and those were done by so called “pro designers”, again and lastly, it’s the idea

“what I’m not seeing anywhere” – (and therefor mustn’t see anywhere, or my statement becomes false!)
“legging are currently so abused and so heinous a fashion crime” – (why can’t we spend stimulus money to build more Fashion Jails? With pontificating “WhatNotToWear” Pundits making accusations against large percenatges of the population, who is safe?)
“Wrist cuffs are finally a mainstream fashion accessory, so let’s get rid of them? No, it’s ridiculous.” – (and never have an original thought, notion or idea – ever again – or I can have you arrested!)
“Chokers were kind of big in the early ’90’s, remember that?” – (things can only be ‘big’ when i say they get to be. Don’t cross the all-powerful critic!)
and finally: “Drastically changing Wonder Woman’s costume is absolutely criminal…”
NOT just criminal – which used to mean something more than wearing something snobs may not find to their liking, but ABSOLUTELY (emphasis mine) criminal. Changing a fictional (and we are talking SUPER-fictional here) character’s ‘uniform’ is an Absolute Crime! Why didn’t the Minority Report cops rush in and stop them?? Too busy preempting MURDERS? While a woman changes her style??? Are you insane?????

I know, i am being critical of a critic. I embrace the circularity, and lord knows critics are above being criticised, but if my satire has any merit, i might just help a person or three not have their opinions poisoned by a propped-up wannabe. She goes off against ‘designers': “(despite no experience or training in the field.)” and then commences ‘dressing down’ a professional, published comic book artist. What was her comic masterpiece opus? “The Fashion Avengers”?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I AM a fat, bald, long-haired (AKA “skullet”-ed), long-bearded eccentric in t-shirts, shorts and crocs, so i have been a fugitive of Fashion Law most of my life. Also, i ‘recovered’ from comic book collecting more than 15 years ago, so maybe the comic field DOES want to be controlled by shrill hacks from other “disciplines”, for all i know.

invasionforce

July 4, 2010 at 10:39 am

I don’t hate the costume, but it does not reflect Wonder Woman’s persona or origins. All female comic book heroes are dressed in a sexy way, but not all show a lot of flesh. Cat Woman and Black Widow, for instance both wear cat suits. Bat Woman and Bat Girl cover up pretty much completely in skin tight outfits. To be fair, most male superheroes also wear costumes that appear to be painted on. The story of Wonder Woman, however, flows out of Greek myth, and the comics have always portrayed the Amazons as having a society that is based on the ancient Greek city state. The architecture of Themyscira is ancient Greek, and the Amazons worship the Greek Gods. I think Wonder Woman should have a costume that is inspired by classical antiquity. Perhaps she could wear a modified tunic in white and gold (gold because she is a princess). The skirt could be pleated and short. (Supergirl wears a miniskirt, too.) Over the top of her body, Wonder Woman could wear what looks like her old bustier in red, white and blue, but is actually a breastplate. (She is a warrior, after all.) Instead of boots, I would giver her greaves and sandals. If you really want to get historically accurate, you might look at Scythian jewelry and art for inspiration, because the legendary Amazons lived on the north shore of the Black Sea, which was Scythian territory at the time.

I don’t hate the costume, but it does not reflect Wonder Woman’s persona or origins.

In the new timeline established for JMS’s run on the book, it just might.

Congratulations!

You have written a completely sexist article full of absolutes and misandry.

I really have to disagree. You said yourself, she’s an icon. An icon deserves more than some skimpy outfit. And Jim Lee has been responsible for some of the best costume redesigns in comics (X-Men, Magneto, Huntress, to name a few). He’s also studied art so I think he at least knows the principles of design work. This costume may not be perfect, but it’s better than some swimsuit.

“Also, Jenny Creed, your assertion that “Wonder Woman’s costume has always been an icon of sexism more than anything else,” is so uninformed and sad I can hardly believe someone wrote those words down. Wonder Woman is the MOST recognizable female superhero of all time, AND of the top three, the ONLY one not to serve as a legacy character to a prior male superhero.”

Yes, Wonder Woman sets the example. She’s the only female superhero most non-comic readers even know. That’s exactly the reason she should be held to a higher standard.

I agree with you on the fashion aspect of the costume change. I’m a fan of Jim Lee’s art. Met him on numerous occasions etc. I must say that this design is very dated and it makes Superboy’s jeans and T seem iconic. I understand dramatic change=media attention etc. but it could have been and should have been a more iconic change. Dramatic or other wise.

Here’s a nice deviantart pic that keeps the iconic look while tweeking:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c308/brucewayne69/10hpxfp.jpg

Someone brought up the idea that the classic WW costume wouldn’t work in a live-action movie. The only mentions I’ve seen of this idea are in blog posts by people suggesting that that idea is behind this redesign, not in any articles about any proposed WW movie.

It’s also a non-issue. We had a live-action “Wonder Woman” TV series for three years there in the ’70s, and Lynda Carter (who isn’t exactly of waifish proportions) managed to perform many, many action scenes over 59 episodes and a pilot film while wearing that iconic costume.

I’d also venture to say that if more people were buying the comic to begin with, there would be less inclination to redesign and re-imagine the character every few years. THAT’s what’s at the heart of this–trying to take this long-running but perennially-low-selling character and make her comic sell better.
1968: “‘Wonder Woman’s'” sales are in the crapper–what can we do about this? Say, maybe if we do this martial-artist Diana Rigg thing it’ll help!” And so Diana put on a white pantsuit and didn’t wear the iconic costume again for FOUR YEARS.
1972: “Okay, this isn’t working. Let’s put her back in the old costume.”
1974: “Wow, these redrawn old stories aren’t working. Hey, what if she had to earn her way back into the Justice League? Then we can put guest stars in and maybe drive up sales that way!”
1976: “A TV show! Great! That’ll help! What, it’s set during World War II? No problem, we’ll just do Earth-2 stories!”
1980: “Let’s add a Huntress backup! People dig the Huntress!”
1982: “Hey, I’ll bet Roy Thomas can make this work! Ooh, and Gene Colan art! Wow!”
1984: “Okay, bi-monthly then.”
1985: “We can cancel the book and then kill her off at the end of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ and start over from scratch.”
1987: “Wonder if George Perez can make this sell?”
1989: George Perez writing, Chris Marrinan drawing. Um…
1990-something: Hey, Jill Thompson makes her look Mediterranean!
1995: A slave ship in space? A leather jacket and a bikini top? Whazza?
(I’ve forgotten where Eric Luke fits in the chronology, with his disfigured female villains who hate Diana because she’s beautiful–y’know, just like when he was writing “Ghost” at Dark Horse.”)
Late ’90s: “Wonder if John Byrne can make this sell?”
Mid-2000’s: “Wonder if Greg Rucka can make this sell?”
2008: “Wonder if Gail Simone can make this sell?”
2010: “Wonder if JMS can make this sell?”
2012: “Wonder if (insert name here) can make this sell?”

This woman’s comment is stupid. Look at how they dress the men in comics. They walk around with painted on suits? And what’s “nerdy man” nonsense? Jim Lee is a multi-millionaire. He knows his audience. He doesn’t base his design on what women are wearing today. He is just drawing something he things guys who like the character would be interested in seeing. It has nothing to do with anything in reality. This is a character created from clay people, don’t get it twisted.

I adore Jim lee’s work for many reasons, but character design has never been one of them.

In general, if anything was broken about Wonder Woman, it wasn’t the costume. Frankly, I’d love to see her go back to her awesome sadomasochistic roots. Her creator conceived her as a nurturing dominatrix matriarch. Most of her subsequent history seems aimed at backing away from that. Sixty years later, we’re still uncomfortable with a truly superheroic female.

Drew Melbourne

July 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Fashion is inherently trendy, in that it exists based on trends that claim something is passe one day and retro-cool the next. Good comic book costumes (and many horrid ones) survive for decades because they don’t play games with fashion.

Personally, I like the Jim Lee costume but think the Kramerized version loses most of the best bits. I also think that this is the wrong direction for Wonder Woman long term. Something closer to the original, but with full pants and a full top would be preferable. Basically the same sort of evolution that Robin’s costume took over the last 20 years.

(And, as an aside, the idea of dismissing Jim Lee as a “geek” is kind of gross. It’s the kind of high school insult that people should grow out of.)

Sonia, I believe that I just fell in love with you. Very, very well said.

Jim is certainly not a geek. He plays sports and has other interests besides comics. Besides, I know a lot of geeks with fabulous fashion sense.

“1) Packaging gives a clear indication of what is inside”. Ideally, sure, but nothing is ideal. The front pages of comic books are always misleading. Entire teams have been shown to get wiped out on a front page with that never happening in the book. Marketers do it all the time. Potato chip bags are never filled to the top, making it appear they hold more than they do. Bottles often have a concave bottom, again making them appear to contain product than they actually do. Packages rarely give a clear indication of what is inside. They’re deceptive. They’re made to make people believe there’s more in it than there actually is.

The primary function of clothing, no matter how you spin it, is and always has been to cover up what people consider “private parts”. Silver Surfer doesn’t wear clothes because he has no “private parts” to cover: No nipples, no anus, no genitalia.

Those parts are only considered private because of human perception. Dr. Manhattan has far radically different perception than any human. His perception is why he doesn’t wear clothes.

While Silver Surfer’s lack of private parts and Dr. Manhattan’s perception are results of the power they gained, their reasons for not wearing clothing aren’t simply because “they have power”. I have no power at all, but if I had nothing to cover up (all jokes aside), I’d walk around naked, too. It’s the same way if I could break out of the human programming that we have “private parts”. Nudist colonies do exist and what power do you see them throwing around?

Superman and Green Lantern both have more power than Wonder Woman, but wear clothing that covers everything except their hands and heads. Galactus, who is more powerful than Silver Surfer, is completely covered except for the small area around his nose and mouth.

“Complete nudity is almost always a sign of incredible power” is a very logically flawed statement. To say Wonder Woman’s clothing or lack there of is based on her amount of power is more of a flawed idea than it is to redesign her very outdated and corny costume for any reason at all.

But let’s say your logic wasn’t flawed. The new costume would still make sense. Everyone is so outraged by the costume, but they’re obviously not reading into the reasoning behind it at all or they’re just ignoring it to have a reason to whine and gripe. In the story where she has this new costume, the timeline has been altered: As a baby, she was smuggled off of Paradise Island just before it was destroyed. She didn’t have the same full Amazon upbringing that she originally did and she doesn’t have the same level power as she did before the timeline was altered. By your formula, more power equals less clothing so logic would dictate that less power equals more clothing. Throughout the story, she’s supposed to try to find out if the timeline can be fixed and, if it can, fix it. Fixing it would return her to the power level we’re used to seeing and her original costume.

In this new story, she’s not an emissary to the gods. She’s not the Amazon we know. She’s been raised and trained outside of Amazon society by and around people who aren’t Amazons. In this story, she’s about as much of an Amazon as a black guy from Harlem is African. Basing her look completely on her Amazon roots would be ludicrous.

But even if she doesn’t fix the timeline, she could still find a way to reach the power level we’re used to and could decide to don a more classical costume.

I’m not a fan of the whole new costume, though. Ditch the jacket, change the legwear and maybe get rid of the choker (I couldn’t care less one way or the other on the choker). A little bit of an Amazon look, maybe because she was told she was an Amazon and she wants to honor her heritage, would be okay, but the majority of her clothing has to come from outside Amazon society since there isn’t an Amazon society in this storyline. That doesn’t mean it has to come from late 80’s/early 90’s, but it has to come from somewhere outside Amazon society. Maybe a world-traveled look with a mix of cultures as a way to show she’s been on the run from whatever destroyed Paradise Island. I think as long as it’s not capris and crocs, I’ll be okay with it.

Andrew Kilian

July 4, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Paul 1963’s comments are spot on. I’d also like to point out Jim Lee’s alleged geekiness is not the issue. The crappy design is. They tried this with Aquaman and I didn’t buy anything past the initial Peter David run when it started to get weird. I’m one of the few who will look into the new thing and if it stinks, I won’t buy. I don’t care. I don’t buy crap.

Comics need two things good creators and good direction. Without it all the gimmick’s in the world won’t do squat. Also, We’re in a recession people!!! Have been, by my own accounting, for ten years. Low sales are to be expected. Put your big girl pants on and deal with it. Go back to making compelling stories and knock it off!

This is a very smart article with some great points. I personally would only like the new costume as a temporary costume, if at all. I prefer the old one over it as a general costume for Wonder Woman. On a side note, Silver Surfer is technically not naked. He’s wearing an armor that’s like a second skin.

I hope WW gets her old costume back soon.

While there is too much wrong with this article to go in to any of it in depth ( because I made the mistake of looking at this while working :/ ), I’ll only touch on a couple of things:

“In comic books luckily men are rarely called upon to draw civilians”

Really? Have you ever read a comic book? I’m pretty sure most comic book artists have drawn more civillains than superheroes.

“Even though I am able to cook, I would never call myself a chef. Similarly, just because a comic book artist is able to draw clothing, that does not make them stylists or fashion designers.”

That’s true, except for that fact that Jim lee has also been DESIGNING SUPERHEROES for the past 20 years. He wasn’t coming up with J-Lo’s new Sears line, he was creating a new COSTUME for a SUPERHERO. So, in effect, has has more experience in this field than just about anyone.

“Similarly, legging are currently so abused and so heinous a fashion crime, that even American Apparel (that bastion of irritating hipster-wear) have had to clearly label their leggings as tights, and not pants. ”

Last I checked, there aren’t too many superheroes concerned with whether their clothes are classified as tights. Because it’s all of them. Wonder Woman isn’t supposed to be “fashionable for her time” (i.e. Boom Boom, Longshot’s mullet), she’s supposed to be Iconic (i.e. Superman, Batman).

That being said, I don’t like Wonder Woman’s new outfit precisely because it does date her considerably. It doesn’t matter if the fashion is 20 years ahead of it’s time (though that rising-sun-themed outfit above is about 15 years too late), if it looks like civillian clothes, it seperates her from the rest of the big three.

Bicycle-Repairman

July 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

According to ancient historians the Amazons weren’t from Greece but from Asia Minor, Libya, or Scythia in what is now the Ukraine and southern Russia.

Why must this rash of commentary on the Wonder Woman topic come with so much childish name-calling and drama?

To start out an article with the idea the Jim Lee is some how not qualified to draw super-hero costumes is like saying Martin Scorsese isn’t qualified to direct a movie about mobsters. It make the author look petty, cheap, and ill informed (Especially for some one with a column on a COMIC BOOK website).

Additionally, she uses her nebulous design credentials as some kind of proof that her OPINIONS are really FACTS. This kind of cheap argumentative style is best left to Fox News. Even Fanboys have more open-minded debates then the author.

Then to top it off, she insults and generalizes comic book fans and creators as “nerdy” and “geeky.” Once again, on a website devoted to comicbook fans and creators. . . Not sure how making fun of comic folks is making a point about fashion, design, or wonder woman.

Sadly, all it takes to appeal to the majority of commentators on this page is venom and hate. Trash Jim Lee! Call him a Criminal! That will get everyone’s blood up to the point that no one notices there’s almost not content to this article, no facts, no reasonable points of view, just snobbery and some young woman who is very happy with her little career.

The company she works for is incredibly underwhelming. . . not exactly the Jim Lee of Design either.

In my career I work with designers of all stripes, and have never once met one as proud and pleased with themselves as Miss Harris.

Having gotten that out of my system, I can say the costume has potential, but the jacket has to go.

I thought the swimsuit look was, is, and always has been stupid. I think the best look is the roman gladiator/Xena Warrior Princess with the proper primary colors many on this board have posted and suggested. Iconic and Functional. That’s the key.

I also liked the Kelly Thompson posted, a much better solution then Mr. Lee’s

Still, I’m willing to give it a shot for a couple months before i declare him a war criminal. . .

I agree that the jacket probably needs to go, but otherwise the costume fits the proposed story line. Sadly, 95% of the points in this article don’t. Like most things in comics, you need to read the words too…not just look at the pictures.

I’ve been surprised by the number of women in news outlets who have disliked the change, shoot I’ve been surprised by the conservative and liberal women alike who have disliked the change where I live.

The fact that the columnist resorts to ad hominem attacks against JMS “and to do so to a geeky man’s specifications is doubly criminal” What makes JMS a “geeky man” ? She just ruins any credibility she has with her argument. Would the change be any more justified if an elegant, tasteful, refined woman made the change to Wonder Woman? I question the point of view this columnist takes- I think she reveals herself in this statement.

Sonia, you are entitled to disagree with anything you like, but as a professional writer, you would think you wouldn’t resort to such tactics. Alas.

Man i gotta say, i like the new duds, wondie looks good.

Thank you very much, Sonia Harris. I couldn’t have expressed my own feelings any better.

I think It’s a bit presumptuous for you to dismiss Jim Lee’s authority as an art director and designer any more than it is for you to claim fashion designer expertise because you are a graphic designer. Gotta say Lee’s got a lot more authority than Sonia Harris does. Just read some of the posts above and I am glad that others can see that, too.

When you refer to Jim Lee as a ‘geeky man’ more than once then I simply switch off. The article oozes feminist rage that may have been valid (even necessary) 40 odd years ago, but is now just a giant snooze button.

Jim lee is a bore, it is like looking at the C.A.T.S. from the early 90’s. Get with the freaking time, Mr. Lee. What I’d like is a female take on the outfit, it is always done by a hormone crazed geek. Might surprise us comic fans.

Well, that’s 2 minutes of my life I won’t get back…

and Sonya is…*crickets*

To be completely honest and fair, I’ve never really cared about Wonder Woman and this costume thing makes me care even less. It’s not a guy thing, the character just never did anything for me.

I didn’t really understand WW’s classic costume. I mean she’s an Amazon: a group of isolationist women warriors who live under a queen on some island paradise in the Mediterranean. They regularly interact with Greek Gods and can trace their lineage back to those same gods. Interesting enough.

My question is, why is Wonder Woman, someone who’s never been off that island, decked out in American iconography? The eagles, the stars, and that tiara evoking a certain statue of ours. If she’s supposed to be an emissary of peace to the rest of the world while simultaneously fighting crime, shouldn’t she be wearing something that reflects her own personal culture and not of one single country she’s not even from?

But at this point, that suit’s basic image has become an enduring icon. When you think super-heroine, you think her Wonder Woman and her weird pajamas. If they do a WW film, they are going to have to whip her classic suit, no if’s and’s or but’s. IT WILL FAIL WITHOUT IT.

Then when it’s announced we’ll all reconvene and have the “wondrous” discussions of how much skin should be shown, if Wonder Woman being dressed like that really IS offensive to women, and if we’ll be able to take her seriously while dressed in the classic costume.

You are so right about what you said. I can’t stand the new costume. How can DC call it a costume? It hardly has anything on it related to Wondy. Those leggings are disgusting and unrecognizable. They are not attractive on her or any woman worn that way. She looks like a bike messenger (no offense) or a bad dance outfit. I hoped you would design it.

Westlake,

My understanding is her origin story and relationship with america has to do with america being her adopted home and history with american military, not sure on the specifics. She was afterall a WWII creation…. I think at least.

That costume looks like the costume of every female character ever designed by Jim Lee. Eddie Campbell makes the point about the generally poor state of sartorial knowledge in the industry quite well here:

http://eddiecampbell.blogspot.com/2008/10/i-only-looked-at-this-because-wee-cal.html

This post right here, though? Just comes off as snide and bizarrely condescending to the intended readership.

I wonder how many of the people busy running about the internet screaming that the sky is falling actually read wonder woman on a monthly basis. If even half of them did, the comic would be doing much better than it is, and reboots/publicity stunts like this one wouldn’t even be seen as having any value at all.

This is my first time reading an article by Sonia Harris, despite the fact that I visit CBR frequently. I’m happy to say it will be my last time as well.

So let me get this straight: one of the main complaints is that a female superhero is wearing shiny tights…..

Seriously?

Because that just might be one of the dumbest ‘critiques’ I”ve ever read.

And really, the whole ‘tights are just wrong!!’ nonsense… Different people like different types of clothing. Get over it. I can’t stand it when people act like the whole world needs to agree with their tastes. And Wonder Woman’s ‘real’ cosutme has her in star-spangled hotpants for pete’s sake!

Alienating your audience like this is really absurd.

I’m not a “designer”, but I am a “geeky man” through and through (a gay one at that), and I am fully aware of everything that is wrong with Wonder Woman’s new costume (that would be most of it – especially that damned Black Canary jacket), and I don’t need to be talked down to about fashion because of my gender or preferences in forms of media. Your article was spot-on and the problems with the costume needed to be stated, but the prejudice within is just plain offensive.

Secondly, you seem to be unaware that most large and small self-respecting software companies employ professional designers (yes, with degrees) to design their graphic user interfaces. The interface for iTunes was not just thrown together by some coder.

All the original outfit needed was a little updating not changing the entire different outfit..

silverbluehues

July 5, 2010 at 1:06 am

You’re saying WW showed SOME skin? She was ALL skin, look at the size of those panties she wore…she’s the embodiment of male sexual fetish fantasy for over 70 of her existence…and they’re changing that now and you gotta pull off your crap to get your two minutes of recognition…that’s just sad.
You’ve been flaming a geeky man who’s been designing superhero clothes for ages, how many years have you been designing clothes for comic book characters?

I know I’m being harsh but it really pisses me off to see so many people outraged by the costume change whereas the very same people can’t even keep sales up for this book. At least the new direction has raised the interest of new readers who never cared reading about WW in titles other than JLA, it’s also opened up the possibility of a WW movie that has a chance to stand in the box office.

Seriously, if you guys really care about WW be thankful that she’s got pants now. I know that the jacket’s annoying but give the new direction a try….you never know, you might even get used to it and start to like it.

you all love to complain

but

i dare you to

design some thing and put it up

afraid?

I agree on most points except the fingerless gloves and gold bracelets. What Jim Lee has drawn is similar to a cestus, which was worn in ancient Greco-Roman culture. Today they exist in sports as inner gloves and sparring mitts. Not the most beautiful thing you can put on a woman, but isn’t Wonder Woman a fighter? At least we didn’t get another rendition of the gold armor. I know they try and try, but come on – they’ll never make it as cool as Saint Seiya armor. They’re just not that creative.

While I agree with your specific critques of the costume itself (albeit, to me they are quibbles rather than anything as severe as you are suggesting) for me you are really stepping right into the overzealous side of it’s significance.

Also that “men are rarely called on to draw civilians” statement is a bit bizarre, there aren’t that many comics which exist in an entirely non earth based bubble, other than things like the cosmic books, or somewhere with specific cultural identity like Wakanda in Black Panther, there are going to be plenty of civilians who need rescuing and so forth.

There is also the fact that while comic book designers are certainly not fashion designers, they are people who make a living out of character design. Neither are they hair stylists, architects, industrial designers or whatever else. What they are is people who have to have a basic level of understanding of visual design across pretty much every area they might might have to draw. To use your chef analogy, it’s more akin to, they may not be world famous bistro chefs mastering one form of cuisine, but rather they may be a chef at some kind of world buffet, where they have to be able to produce a much wider range of stuff to a competant level. Which isn’t to say they always succeed, but to claim that they are ignorant of everything purely because they are “geeky men” doesn’t in any way reflect the reality. They are not trying to design real world fashion.

Also, the primary purpose of clothing is *not* to ” convey something clear about the wearer to world”, the primary purposes of clothes is to a) to allow a person to function within an evironment (eg. provide support, manage heat or cold levels) and b) fulfill the social expectation that we wear clothes at all. Which isn’t to say that creating an impression on people isn’t a factor (I tend to wear jeans and a plain t-shirt most of the time partly because I’d rather give a neutral first impression) but generally, fashion can very often be self polluting – people wear clothes because they are in fashion, and when people literally just fad-hop, all that really ends up saying to people is “I like to look ‘cool and in fashion'” and you end up with people wearing things that really don’t suit them in the slightest, but are worn anyway because there is an expectation for people to do so.

She hit the nail on the head. No two ways about it.

Wonderful piece :) I showed it to a friend his immediate reaction ‘It’s made me want to poo’ (true) my better half thinks it’s awful and the choker for me denotes subservience (in certain cultural circles it’s a sign of ownership).

I want this look to go away.

“For all the advantages that her classic costume might have, it didn’t drive sales. Low sales are why DC is doing something relatively radical with the character.”

No, it isn’t. It’s merely another cheap stunt by a publisher who’s been employing all sorts of desperate, attention-seeking PR nonsense like this ever since Dan DiDio came onboard. That some people are so blind-sided enough to forget the fact that SUPERHEROINE BOOKS DON’T SELL in general is what’s more patently absurd, than a bad costume change by a character who didn’t really need one to be well-regarded and identifiable. Only Buffy the Vampire Slayer has broken this pattern in recent years, and that’s because it was a beloved TV show…just like Wonder Woman was, once upon a time.

I wish they got Rob Liefeld to redesign it instead

I read this article as an ironic one. It was a parody of the type of idiotic ‘fashion reporting’ attacking the costume. Pointing out the silliness of ‘fashion’ reporting.

That’s the only way I could read something so dumb and not get really angry. I tend to think ‘fashion’ is the domain of the dumbest of women and gay men. It’s their little world where they aren’t just pretty sub literate morons. Ever read an interview with a model or a fashion designer? Morons. Utter and complete morons. Most of them probably can’t even read, the women won a genetic lottery and the men were usually in the right place at the right time, the entire industry is built around the dumbness of the fashion orientated. Selling them cheap pieces of cloth for $$$$. A fool and her money are easily parted.

Most of the world gets by happily not giving a shit what the fashion industry thinks, with it’s petty self obsessed self aggrandizing idiocy.

The Mirrorball Man

July 5, 2010 at 7:24 am

Wonder Woman’s so-called “classic” costume is just a garish collection of colors and symbols all competing for our attention. Honestly, it’s a mess. Anything would be an improvement.

DC needs to look elsewhere for their costume redesigns.
Jim Lee has never been known for his character designs.

And nobody at DC had the balls to tell Jim Lee to try again? No one told him the jacket was a bad idea? Obviously, the public has spoken, and its a pretty horrible look, yet not a single person in the entire DC office expressed concern? Even my lowly peon self will tell my boss if I think a plan is a bad idea.

I thought these guys would work better together to come up with a great new look.

Screw it, go back to the warrior skirt.

Seriously, lose the jacket, the choker and the gloves and I think this would be a pretty good costume…I think the “W” on the bracelets is overdoing it but are otherwise fine, except that if she were to put her palm up, would n’t the sharp end not potentially stab her in the top of her hand? Also, instead of those shoes I would go for more of her classic book ,sans heels.

err.

– Not all guys are blind to fashion and design – annoyed by the insinuation.
– Regarding the comments about the leggings, would you prefer she wear the pantsuit of the 70’s or her underoos?

– Not a fan of the redesign but give it time, I think it will continue to evolve with accessorizing and switch-outs.

[…] anything I could add to the critique of the look is more than covered in this brilliant article by Comic Book Resource’s Sonia Harris (click to visit her page on CBR). It’s an awesome, respectful and intelligent response and I love […]

I don`t want to say anything, since you’re so much qualified than all us mortals but…

What Wonder Woman is wearing isn’t FUCKIN’ BLACK TIGHTS? Tights like most superheroes use? I mean… yeah, she’s an icon. A bondage icon at that. Let the girl wear some tights, will ya? And I like the jacket. There, I said it.

It’s like Jim Lee is stuck in the 90’s. This is easily one of the worst redesigns. I thought it was Rogue for a minute there. Lacks all kinds of originality and creativity as if he did it while drinking at the bar in 5 minutes.

I am getting increasingly tired of people like Rex who complains about fans’s comments about comic books. Just because comic book characters are fictional doesn’t make them any the less important to us as readers of the artform (just look at the lovers of the Harry Potter novels/movies, for example). Most people will ramble on and on about football or Nascar or hunting or their pets and THAT’S supposedly ok? Any pasttiime that a person loves enough to put as much time and money as many comic book fans do is important enough to discuss in public, in fact, important enough to write internet columns about! I’d like to commend Ms. Harris on her thoughts not only because she took the time to share them, but because she’s spot on! The new WW costume is ugly and will be just a memory to those of us still reading comics five years from now.

“I am getting increasingly tired of people like Rex who complains about fans’s comments about comic books. Just because comic book characters are fictional doesn’t make them any the less important to us as readers of the artform (just look at the lovers of the Harry Potter novels/movies, for example)”

Wow. Just. Wow.

A character is a character. I’ve seen people make vile, crazy comments involving this simple costume change. I saw one person claim it was tantamount to RAPE (right here: http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/07/01/don-kramer-on-wonder-woman-600/#comment-30584), if you cannot be an adult and realize such things are beyond the pale and outright CRAZY, you need to seek some psychological help.

And Harry Potter fans are generally CHILDREN. Eventually they’ll grow out of their…inane worship. Adults who cannot do this are destined to lives of going to cons, deciding they’re furries and yiffing. Creepy weirdos.

EXCUSE ME!!! tonny malook!!! cooee!!!

After a bit of doodling (and that’s all it is folks) this is a rough idea of what I’d do suggestions (constructive lol) welcome.

http://www.mayburyhill.com/showcase.htm

Sonia Harris – Are we really expected to think your opinion on this has more weight because you’re ‘a girl who likes fashion’ ? You’re also a comic book geek. Comic book geeks know NOTHING about fashion – even the girls in my experience. Most of them are still listening to early 00’s nu-metal and emo, with brightly coloured fingerless gloves and spray-on hair dye.

So sorry, but If I even gave a crap about this I’d at least expect to hear it from someone who’s actually FROM the industry, if at all

Thank you! I most emphatically agree!

Seems ridiculous that some self-proclaimed “designer” we’ve never heard of would be taking pot shots at a famous artist like Jim Lee let alone claiming he’s not a designer all the while trying to compare fashion design to character design. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Like someone said this is an epic failure of an article and this person paints herself as a completely arrogant fool. Her comments lack merit because her research is absent as she doesn’t realize what a character designer is. The stupidest thing in the world would equate to a comic book company consulting a fashion designer for a costume. The best case scenario is to consult one of the most influential, top comic artist in comics to design this or get an artist who designs characters for videogames or movies. In this case choosing Jim Lee, someone who is just fresh off of designing a videogame and has vast experience in comics, was the best choice despite varying opinions on the resulting design. This is why Sonia Harris is a fool.

i like it. almost reminicant of wonder girl from her days in young justice. no hate needed here, just my opinion

[…] Sonia Harris piles on DC’s epic misfire with “Jim Lee’s lack of Wonder” at Comic Book Resources. Great, detailed critique from a female pro. As an art director, the […]

The new clothes are very reminiscent of the 90s Messner-Loebs Wonder Woman — see Brian Bolland’s site for examples, particularly http://www.brianbolland.net/gallery/wonder_woman/wonder_woman_27.html. Not sure the jacket worked any better back then than it does now. In any case, if you were about to get into a fight, the first thing you’d do is take off something like that. Apart from the fact that it could slip down and constrict your movements, why offer something to grab?

The question, I think, is what role the costume plays. In the 90s the new costume was obviously temporary (WW had lost her role to Artemis, who had taken over the old costume). I suspect it’s the same here. If so, the change is nothing to get excited about, one way or another. Just one more case in which a hero is displaced for a while, and switches to wearing black. (Actually, it’s interesting just how frequently that does happen — Superman and Spider-Man, for instance. Why black?)

It’s DC Comics we are talking about here. Yes, the costume sucks, but DC has no guts when it comes to doing anything new and different. In a year or two, the classic look will be back . Barring that, DC will coronate a new hot shot creator to retool it all in some kind of Crisis style continuity warping cross over. The old suit will be back, along with 50 or more dead characters to boot. As I said, this is DC we are talking about.

In my opinion, there is way too much being made about this change than should be. We’ve all seen these type of costume changes done to the “icons” and they are always temporary. Remember, Superman Blue or Superman with long hair? It’s just a natural thing that happens in comics and it will not last. It’s just part of a story. I say we just sit back, enjoy the story, and not worry so much about the costume change. The old costume will return.

Brian Potter wrote:

I wish they got Rob Liefeld to redesign it instead

But then you’d never see her feet…

Sonia Harris,

I agree with many of the points you made regarding the differences between artists, illustrators and designers. And I imagine more gratifying to you many agree that Jim Lee’s fashion/costume/ uniform design is lacking in many ways.

That said I still do not want to disparage Jim Lee’s unique voice in comics. Obviously his artistic talent, strengths, and accomplishments are too large to easily discount or minimize here. Regardless of the controversy surrounding this redesign he will continue to be a trend setter and force to be reckoned with in comics. Given his enormous influence and possibly equal paycheck, I’m not that worried or him yet I doubt he expected to field this much of fallout for submitting this costume reboot.

Aside from Wonder Woman character’s market challenges this whole controversy makes it clear that Wonder Woman is extremely dear to the comic book reading community. Obviously if asked the comics community has a wealth of ideas as to how to sustain, improve, preserve and enhance her. Yet I believe yours is one the few articles, after many have been written, to reason through some of the weaknesses in many of the parts of her new uniform.

I look forward to reading your future articles.

So reading and enjoying the exploits of Green Lantern or the Avengers is childish. Hmmm…where do you place the fine line between what is acceptable to be a fan of and what isn’t, DrunkJack? I have immensely enjoyed the exploits of Harry Dresden and Jack Ryan..I don’t see the difference. The difference is the medium (well, Harry’s getting into comics, I quess, but haven’t read those) and I for one love the visual medium of comics. That doesn’t make me a child. Or a geek. And I’ve only been to one big con. So…what does that make you, Dru…oh, that’s right…you’re drunk. How very adult of you. My point all along was that I have difficulty with people criticizing others for getting into ‘serious’ discussions about comics and their characters…I don’t see anything wrong with doing that. But whatever I type doesn’t really matter to you because you’re still going to be drunk…

The design is awful, but It’ll all temporary. I also keep seeing “heels” in a lot of these comments. People, Diana hasn’t had heels for over 20 yrs. or so. Besides that, she can fucking fly!!

I’m just happy she wasn’t secretly knocked up by norman osborn

I used to make my teenage daughter dress up as Wonder Woman at conventions, until they came out with Ms. Marvel and Power Girl.

I wanted pants. The pants would come with a redesigned belt, but I was willing to do that for pants.

They could change the white trim on the boots too, but really, all I was looking for were pants.

I don’t know what the hell everyone is stressing about the new look for… I come from London and every young woman on the street is wearing fashion that is very inspired by clothing from the 80s… I think Jim Lee is spot on making WW a young woman of today and the rest of you just have no idea! Go Jim!!!

This is some excellent commentary. Hadn’t even thought of the fashion sense in general. Certainly already agreed with the comments of how the original costume wasn’t broken.

Zatara The Electrician

July 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Sonja Harris? Who is she? I know who Tim Gunn is- he’s given the outfit a thumbs up.

I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. arguing that this outfit is impractical and outdated…as opposed to the 1940’s outfit? Really? She lost me as soon as she mentioned the character’s great butt. This is what people want Wonder Woman to be- a half naked showgirl.

This costume is meant for the alternate timeline and it works perfectly in that context.

“So reading and enjoying the exploits of Green Lantern or the Avengers is childish.”
No, taking them so seriously you accuse someone of RAPE for drawing them in a new costume is not only childish but CRAZY.

Why do you feel the need to set up a straw man argument here, my argument was clearly about people taking these things SERIOUSLY and getting emotional over silly things like costume changes. My sense is that Harry Potter, being a very derivative children’s lit phenomenon will not become it’s reader’s lives, they’ll grow out of their zealous fandom.
I said nothing about reading comics being childish, (I read them myself in case that isn’t clear by my presence here, I particularly enjoy Green Lantern and the Avengers, so neener, Secret Avengers 2 was quite enjoyable last week), though some obviously would.

I would argue something similar but not the same: Many of the people who read comics are childish, emotionally unstable and many of those people spend their weekends at cons dressed up like characters, arguing with creators and editors as if they somehow have some ownership of those characters.
I would argue the entitlement of fandom has crept deeply into the comic readership. I, myself, have never considered myself a fan, I am a reader. I read comics. I do not attend fan conventions, I do not really care to interact with other people simply based upon our mutual interest in comic books. I used to, but I learned about 9-10 years ago (back when I used to post on the CBR boards) that the way I read comics and the way most ‘fans’ do is different, I come for amusement, entertainment, a diversion.

They read them and it seems take notes on perceived continuity errors and perceived plot holes, the apply a rigor to the reading of their comics they rarely apply to their own lives. I’ve heard enough stories of smelly cons populated by arrogant, self aggrandizing fanboys who think they know better than an editor or a writer how things should be to know that they live in an entirely different world than I do.

So no, simply reading comics does not make anyone childish, but many childish people read them and spew stupid bad craziness about them on the internet.

Her tits aren’t hanging out and she’s not wearing a thong, so it’s an improvement. Maybe she’ll actually become a good role model for young girls, and an interesting character that can be taken seriously.

You go Sonia! I knew I didn’t like it, but you nailed all the reasons for me! Thanks!

My girlfriend wants to know why Wonder Woman dressed up like Jubilee. She went from being a powerhouse to a teenage girl. Totally agree. I would burn the jacket.

That said… this has got to be the most commented on thread that Harris has written for CBR. In a roundabout way, Jim Lee’s work on Wonder Woman’s costume benefits Harris since it raised people’s awareness of her. While her current lack of professionalism undermines her well-informed opinion, I hope she continues to develop a strong voice as a writer without needing to diminish the accomplishments of others or bluntly stating her prejudices that the average comic book reader is an ignorant geek.

Short term thinking

July 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I didn’t read all 160ish comments so sorry if this is treading over someone else. You are giving DC exactly what they want here. What has been done to Wonder Woman is not going to last. This is a great way to get people talking, and a great way to get some pants on this lady. In a year, maybe less, there will be a new new costume that will have pants and get way closer to a traditional look. If the story turns out to be good, that’s all that will matter down the road. Yes, this look is not good… at all, but I think it was done with the idea that it is a short term solution. Diana can’t come back to the DCU proper and be 20. That would make her younger than Donna Troy and it isn’t gonna happen. Relax folks. There aren’t many GREAT Wonder Woman stories. I’m not sure that this will be a great one, but if it can distil the character to her core and rebuild her in a way that make for better stories, fine with me. If it doesn’t work, hand her over to Grant Morrison. I’m sure he has a few ideas.

I surely don’t mind vociferous disagreements, but shit was getting waaaay too personal towards Sonia in the comments, so I bounced a couple of comments. And since I’m certainly not going to be able to monitor this thing night and day, I’m closing comments down. There has been over 160 comments – I think pretty much every point of view has had their proper say by now anyways.

[…] heroine’s new style I’ve found comes from Sonia Harris at Comics Should Be Good. She writes: For the first time in history, fashion is looking to comic books for inspiration, so why is Jim […]

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