Reaction to Wonder Woman's New Costume

Often when a new creative team wants to make a splash with an iconic superhero, they try updating the traditional costume.  It is happening again with Wonder Woman.  Teased in a short story in the milestone issue number 600, the Amazon princess who has battled evil and served as a role model for millions of comic book fans since her debut in 1944 has worn her familiar star-spangled outfit with only slight variations over the decades.  Attempts to alter her costume did not grab the popular imagination -- her white bodysuit during her powerless but still martial-arts-kicking "mod Diana Prince" phase was evenutally abandoned.

The new costume will be part of a multi-year storyline rebooting the character in the able hands of writer J. Michael Straczynski, best known for his Babylon 5 science fiction television series and his critically-acclaimed and best-selling Amazing Spider-man comic run.  Artist Don Kramer does a fine job making the legendary heroine look great in her new duds. 

The new Wonder Woman design is much more conservative.  Gone are the bikini briefs, the knee-high red boots, the bare shoulders, arms, and thighs.  She still has a golden tiara, bulletproof gauntlets, her trusty magic lasso, and a low-cut, form-fitting, red shirt with a gilded eagle emblazened beneath her cleavage. Most dramatically, she now sports black leather pants and a stylish jacket.

Is this a legitimate attempt to address the often sexist depictions of female superheroes who run around in their underwear, or is it just an attention-grabbing gimmick?  (If the latter, it is already working, with stories in the mainstream press, such as the New York Daily News, and on the Internet, via popular blogs like Bleeding Cool.) 

Wonder Woman's primary colored, skimpy costume has been one of the things about the character that has often been criticized, even though Wonder Woman has also served as a feminist icon.  Maybe the redesign is an early attempt by DC Entertainment to test what a new outfit might look like and sample fan reaction before making a long-anticipated, live-action movie.  But they should remember that the bland, red jumpsuit worn by Cathy Lee Crosby in the 1974 TV-movie is nowhere near as popular as the more traditional version immortalized by Lynda Carter in the hit television show.  Sometimes modernizing a classic costume may not be the best move.

Will the new costume eventually fade away and become a footnote in the history of the character, like some of the drastic costume changes for Superman, Batman, Spider-man, and others?  Or will it be a lasting part of how people envision Wonder Woman from now on?  Only time will tell.

Comments

ejaz14357 said…
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The new look will end up a footnote in WW's history someday. Her costume is not offensive. She's an Amazon princess and a superhero and an icon. You don't go around messing with an icon and think it's going to stick, especially since it is totally unnecessary and ill-conceived.