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Sunday, December 21, 2014 

Meredith and David Finch botch their first WW story

The following synopsis of Wonder Woman #37 on the Daily Beast proves you can't expect a woman scripting to do justice for comicdom's most famous superheroine:
[...] She has ridiculous mood swings. Without any evidence or provocation, she attacks Swamp Thing—and then gets beaten in the only fight she has in the issue. Thankfully, Aquaman is there to save the situation and give her a pep talk, while she clutches a teddy bear. Her biggest worry isn’t Cheetah or the Silver Swan, but how to achieve the proper work-life balance. There are actually two characters that talk about misogyny and the subjugation of women, but they’re both evil amazons we’re meant to hate.
Wow, if that's correct, the Finches have reduced WW to a despondent child, and trivialized serious issues yet again by writing a pair of bad Amazons talking about them.
That comics are a bastion of sexism is a truism so banal it almost goes without saying. But it is particularly galling to watch the feminist superhero be treated in such a way. The Finches have made no small point of the fact that Meredith is one of only a handful of women to ever write Wonder Woman. “I love the idea that it's a woman writing a woman,” David said in an interview with USA Today, “because we're trying to appeal to more female readers now.”

Seeking to be celebrated for simply hiring a woman is tokenizing and offensive. [...] The Finch’s ideas of feminism, strength, and what appeals to women today seem retrograde, borderline misogynistic, and—to be frank—boring. Wonder Woman deserves better.
The thought did cross my mind that Mrs. Finch was only in this for the paycheck, and there's a lesson here: even women writers can throw away dignity, or go straight along with editorial mandates, resulting in the poorest of writing.

But now that I think of it, their assertion comics are a bastion of sexism isn't clear. It's not comicdom as a whole that's awash with sexist steps. It's DC and Marvel who succumbed to the madness. And if the Daily Beast would just do some deeper research and identify some of the staffers responsible for these major disappointments, it might be possible to reverse the fiascos someday.

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It's downright depressing to see the most iconic female action hero of all time reduced to a simpering basket case.

There is a misogynist streak running through action-adventure series fiction in general, and in the comics medium in particular. And it has been evident since at least the 1970's. Often, the only strong, intelligent female characters are villainesses. Or, when competent sympathetic female characters do appear, they end up getting killed off (e.g., Jean DeWolff). The few heroines who star in their own self-titled comics or TV shows can't be killed off (until and unless it's the last episode of a cancelled series, e.g., Xena), but their lives are generally portrayed as so miserable that no one in his/her right mind would want to emulate them (e.g., Buffy, Xena). A far cry from when action heroes and heroines were role models and wish-fulfillment fantasy.

But then, DC and Marvel are all about angst. The male characters have been reduced to whining neurotics, so there is no reason to expect their female counterparts to fare any better.

And writers, whether male or female, are employees. They are paid to do what their employers want. So if the house style at DC and Marvel is grimdark, then the stories will be written that way, whether the writer is Meredith Finch or Ron Marz.

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