She’s so hot right now!. With the movie making a huge splash and feminism quite rightly being a massive talking point in today’s culture Wonder Woman is as relevant as ever and there’s a long and extensive history for new fans to dig through. Creator William Moulton Marston was a psychologist and writer who liked a bit of the old whips and chains bondage shenanigans and saw women as the dominant race. He created her in 1941 at a time when this kind of thinking was ….let’s say more than a little bit in the minority so it was a brave and empowering move. Many comic fans have struggled to get into the character over the years for one reason or another and why I’m by no means a full on expert I’ve read and enjoyed enough to give you my list of favourite stories. So here they are!.
18. Earth One-2016
Well as is often the case on Kinker Korner we’re starting off on a controversial note. Superstar Scottish writer Grant Morrison always creates a stir whenever he’s promoting a new project as was the case here when it was announced he would be dealing with Wonder Woman for the Earth One alternative universe series. Canadian artist Yanick Paquette, whose work I’d only remembered from some issues of Gambit in the early 00s and Swamp Thing, absolutely blew me away with his stunning splash pages and beautiful panel placement. It’s provocative and controversial with Diana being the product of rape and Morrison takes the story back to the bondage obsessed themes that creator William Moulten Marston intended for her. Boy does Morrison go for that theme….it put a lot of people off with it’s intense feminist themes but you know….that’s the point.
Greg Rucka is a tremendous writer, I’m sure I’ve gushed about him before but here we are again. His run on Wonder Woman is a really good on and this is the final arc of the second ongoing series that started in 1987. It sees Wonder Woman fighting against an evil villain who is controlling Superman and using him for his wicked deeds. Diana decided she has to kill him, much to the now recovered Superman’s disgust. At this time Diana was juggling her diplomatic duties of bringing peace to the world with her superhero antics. Killing someone has put a spanner in her diplomatic works and changes people’s views on her forever. It’s a story with consequences and a great way to end a series….Oh it also features the chilling return of Cheetah and she’s awesome.
16. She’s A Wonder-2001
I think cover artist Adam Hughes was influenced by Courtney Cox for his Lois Lane design?. I ‘m thinking yes. This cool little issue sees Lois follow Diana around for a day as she travels the world for a United Nations conference, a meeting with president Lex Luthor, a random pool game in a hovel pub and more. She also tries to get the salacious gossip and asks Diana about her relationship with Superman. Good fun.
15. The Circle-2008
During Gail Simone’s classic run on Birds Of Prey she brought in Wonder Woman for an issue and fans loved her take on the character. That led to fans wanting her to take on the new ongoing series that had been disastrous at that point with the critically panned Amazons Attack arc which was horrendous. They got their wish and this first arc of her run is a cracker and there’s quite a lot crammed into it with Diana working at the department of metahuman affairs, starting a new romance, fighting a group of rebel gorillas who have left Grodd’s group and more. Simone got the series on track.
14.The Milk Racket Of Paula Von Gunther-1942
There’s something so absolutely witch tits crazy about the golden age of comics. Here we see Wonder Woman, a character that is now revered as a feminist icon who saves the world on a regular basis, break up a nazi operation to monopolise America’s milk industry. What’s left to say, it’s insane and completely entertaining as well as being unintentionally laugh out loud funny but hey, entertaining is entertaining.
13. Strangers In Paradise-1989
This intriguing arc sees Diana allow men to visit Paradise Island with delegates from man’s world, Hermes bestows a gift upon her, she meets with Superman in front of a whooping public and more. It’s really interesting and these issues that take a break from the hectic action of many arcs to deal with characterization and plot development are often very interesting.
12. Eyes Of The Gorgon-2005/2006
One of the strongest parts of Greg Rucka’s run was his building of supporting characters and their impact on Diana’s world with political intrigue but the main hook of this arc is a violent battle against the resurrected Medusa. Any fans of Greek mythology should have their ears pricked up by the mere mention of that and it’s a hell of a tough battle between the snake haired monster and The Princess Of The Amazons.
11. Gods And Mortals-1987
After the DC-wide event Crisis On Infinite Earths started a reboot of the entire universe, a new Wonder Woman ongoing series was started with the intention of revamping her story. George Perez was tasked with the revamp and he had some big ideas. He was primarily an artist though so he drew and plotted the stories with writers Len Wein and Greg Potter fleshed out the his ideas. Perez wanted to really delve into the Greek mythology of Diana’s history starting with her creation on Paradise Island to her first fight against Ares. It’s great and epic stuff.
10. Challenge Of The Gods-1987/1988
…and then we have the follow up. Here we see the origins of the post crisis version of Cheetah who would become one of Diana’s most deadly and prominent foes. She’s an awesome, vicious and intelligent character mixing her animal instincts with her background as a privileged, upper class archeologist. Zeus makes a sleazy play to make Diana his wife, a play which she refuses and is pit against a challenge from the gods as her punishment. A tale of strength against misogyny….and loads of cool mythological creatures.
9. The Kiketeia-2002
Before Greg Rucka’s three year run on the series he wrote this one shot ode to Greek tragedies that sees Diana undergo a ritual that has her honouring a pact to protect a young woman who has killed sex traffickers that murdered her sister. Batman is tracking down the young lady to bring her in for the murder which sees him and Wonder Woman go toe to toe against Diana’s wishes. It’s an interesting premise well executed by Rucka.
8. Rise Of The Olympian-2009
This Gail Simone arc sees Zeus go on a rager and create a new race of male warriors called Gargareans with a cool villain called Genocide. Fans of Greek mythology will be pleased with appearances from the likes of Achiles in this hugely entertaining story.
7. Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity-2003
The unique and talented artist/writer Matt Wagner re imagines the first meeting between the three main stars of the DC universe. They come together to take down Ra’s Al Ghul who has recruited Bizarro and Artemis for his plan to cause havoc worldwide. Their uneasy alliance makes for great character moments and of course Wagner’s love of the golden age influences the whimsical art and the simple, good vs evil story.
6. Year One-2016/2017
Rebirth…yet another DC reboot just a few years after the new 52. Utterly ridiculous stuff but again good writing is good writing and at the end of the day it’s the writers and artists and other members of the creative team that make the comics industry tick. Numpties at the top like Dan Didio may have the title and be in charge but we’re not here for them we’re here for the likes of Greg Rucka who is tasked with doing yet another origin story for Wonder Woman. Thankfully he does a fantastic job as was expected for yet another origin.
5. Chalk Drawings-1990
As Alan Grant once said, comics are the last true subversive art form and have a way of reaching all types of people of all ages and can help form attitudes. Here we see a one shot that talks frankly about teen suicide without using it for some melodramatic plot vehicle. and in 1990 that was a hell of a brave and important move. Nowadays there are a million outlets telling people to talk about their mental health etc which is great but in 1990 there was still a bizarre taboo about such things. Comic books can go places in a few pages on a monthly basis that other outlets just can’t in such a small, contained story. Great art from Jill Thompson too.
When DC decided to do their millionth universe reboot with the new 52 iteration, many older fans like myself were not best pleased as the time and relationships we had built over the years ended there. That said DC are awful for their muddled continuity so perhaps it was needed, as long as the writing is strong then it’ll all work out right?. Well at the start of the reboot you had some rubbish like Red Hood And The Outlaws (which got a lot better as it went on), some average like Justice League and some very good like Swamp Thing and Batman. Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is definitely in the latter with it’s a violent, sexual adult take on Diana that you would expect from the inconsistent but sometimes brilliant writer. Changes were made to the origins of characters like Ares and his relationship to Diana became a lot more interesting.
3. The True Amazon-2016
Jill Thompson’s warm story of the early years of Diana goes against modern trends in comic book storytelling. It’s kind, it’s sentimental (in a good way) it’s cozy and the art is whimsical and lush. There’s no grimdark grittiness here and I have to say as much as I like dark storytelling there’s a time and place for every mood and too much of a good thing can lead to apathy. We see a young Diana as a spoilt brat who learns through her friends the virtue of being humble and kind. These friendships and lessons help her grow into the great warrior and leader she becomes.
2.Spirirt Of Truth-2001
Part of Paul Dini and superstar artist Alex Ross’ series of one shot collaborations, Spirit Of Truth is a beautiful look at sexism in the world and Diana’s attempts to change perceptions and attitudes. It gets to the core of the character and through the struggles of her public perception she finds out more about herself than ever before. It’s a sad reminder of the world we live in but also a testament to the power of self.
1. A League Of One-2000
A bit of an odd one this but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s written and drawn by Magic:The Gathering artist Christopher Moeller so it has a huge fantasy vibe going on with great Heavy Metal or 2000AD style art. Wonder Woman finds an ancient Greek prophecy that says the Justice League will be killed by a dragon so she finds them all, bests them and incapacitates them in order to take on the dragon herself. Her act of saving them by beating them is one of the most insanely badarse moments in Wonder Woman history.
So we come to the end of another list and one that should cause some debate no doubt. Hope you enjoyed and if you want any lists done give me a shout @swing_kinker ta x