Sunday, July 16, 2006

And because

while it could have been just an OMFG! FATTIE! joke,* I think that the drawings cover a surprisingly wide range of attitudes. I particularly like the most recent post of guest sketches.** Some of the WWs are quite pretty in a sweeping geometric way, like the lady I've shown down below. Also good is the Marcos Perez smoking WW. I think that the artist's love of the subject is evident, and it's cool because she's not drawn as grotesquely obese, but really quite normal. I think that's a really cool thing to do with the Wonder Woman character, who's usually a pinup type.

Wonder Woman, after all, was created by a guy who said, "Give them an alluring woman stronger than themselves to submit to, and they'll be proud to become her willing slaves!" William Moulton Marston had a definite sexual agenda in the creation of the comic. The title's early days had a heavy bondage fantasy element: Wonder Woman had a golden lasso, which forced you to tell the truth if it tied you up. And if bound by a man, Wonder Woman lost her powers.

Comics 101 covered WW's history in a two-parter: one and two. It's a fun read. The Marston spin on his creation was, not unlike Buffy, about creating strong and powerful female characters. And, like Buffy, there's a certain "Spank me, mommy!" element to it all.

Which brings me back to the blog. What I really like about it is that WW's an iconic figure, but with some rigid limits to how she can be portrayed - specifically, svelte and athletic. And the artists change that one fixed aspect of her character, and still present a wide variety of interpretations of the character. That is, while WW is still a heroic ideal, she becomes much more varied and more human. There's less arbitrary rigidity about ideals, and WW becomes less a character which presents a fantasy object. Because cartoons like this:

portray normal human beings. And that's cool. And it's more essentially feminist than anything Marston understood.

Or I'm wrong and it's all a big OMFG! FATTIE! joke.

*And some of them, to be sure, are. What can I say? Humor is about the base and ugly, not the beautiful.
**Yes, the pencil sketch is a bit dodgy, but the rest is quality!


Jason Goldman said...

Nice critique - I agree, I think the site is not about mockery. But it's probably still about fetishizing a particular female form.

So, does this mean the Whedon-penned Wonder Woman is gonna trump Secretary as the mainstream bondage movie of record?

Jamar said...

Hey -

Thanks for the nice write-up.

if you look at the beginning of the blog, I try to explain what the blog is about, and the last thing it is, is mockery.

Since I've begun sharing my sketches from pals (and now guest artists), people have been having very open discussions about the idea of icons and what is perceived as 'sexy' in american culture.

I personally enjoy seeing that being challenged by something as simple as this, and my friends have taken their own ideas and put them on paper.

If anything, it should make you think (about ANYTHING), especially when presented as a whole. I think you've gotten it, right on the nose.