Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm About to Explain How to Fix Wonder Woman, Take Notes

First off lets be clear, a single Wonder Woman title that appeals to the Superhero fanbase and young female readers is a pipe dream. You can have both audiences but not on the same title. So I'm going to hit each title separately to explain whats needs to be done.

For the Superhero Fan Boys and Girls
1-Wonder Womans biggest adversary is the fact that comic geeks don't really know her or have the need to read her. The blame is simple: Not enough definitive runs!

Now when you speak to someone about Wonder Woman chances are their reading of the character is probably going to be Justice League and various guest appearances in books. You talk to people who read Wonder Woman they'll probably shout out George Perez's work and even the original work by Dr. William Moulton Marston. But really, thats it? I mean yeah some fans are backing Phil Jimenez and Greg Rucka wrote some damn fine stories but how many of these are truly definitive? Lets look at Ruckas run real fast and how DC messed up.

a)The Hiketiea is the best Wonder Woman story since anything Perez has worked on.

b)Rucka and Drew Johnson start their run. Good times and good story with the Stoned arc with Medusa. Rucka also starts putting in various subplots and new characters.

c)Rags Morales comes on after identity Crisis. Good idea. Sad however that personal issues make him leave. Now Wondy doens't have a real artist. No offense to Cliff Richards but he's style doesn't really fit Wondy.

d)Its okay though because her part in the Sacrafice story bumps up interest in title.

e)DC announces One Year Later, removes Rucka as writer, he doesn't get to tie up his subplots. Such as Ares ruler of Hades, Athena ruler of Olympus, Ares and Circe reuniting with their child. The aftermath of other events.

f)One Year Later proves to be generally not well received and Wondy's particualr reboot gets delayed than Allen Hienberg(with the wonderful Terry Dodson) book is only five issues long and gets plagued by delays. Plus, really, did anyone like it.

g)Jodi Picoult comes on board, admitted to not having a great understanding of the character. Amazons Attack mini series gets slammed by reviewers. Various fill in, Gail Simone and company try had to heal the character after DC killed interest in the title.

There you have it, DC kills a potential definitive run going for the quick fix and stupid short term creative teams.

2-Definitive teams need to be made up of top talent or acclaimed talent. Wonder Woman rarely gets those types of creators and when she does its when her books sales are lagging(like now) or with some reboot(current Volume 3 soon to be renumbered). Okay, there was a few here and there. But DC you need, for the NEXT SEVERAL YEARS, have as many top talent teams on the book as possible.

J. Michael Straczynski(Babylon 5 creator, Amazing Spider-Man comic writer, etc) and Don Kramer(JSA, Detective Comics) is a good start. But after their finished follow up with another name team and don't rely on one of your writers and artists who, while they may be good, doesn't bring a certain fanfare or acclaim with them.

3-What does Diana have? Themiscyra, Hippolyta, and the Amazons. But really, thats like Supermans Smallville, Ma Kent and Lana Lang. She has to go visit. Diana doesn't have her own city like green Arrow or Green Lantern does. She doesn't have a cool hang out like Supermans Fortress of Solitude or Batmans Batcave. In the reboot in the 80s she was in... Boston? Than she was in gateway City for a while. Washington DC. Find her a base of locations. Now lets work on a real supporting cast that sticks with her. I mean, where are the Kapatelis' from Geroge Perez's work? Steve Trevors not really in the book(which bothers me little cause he sucks but still...)

So, base of operations and a supporting cast that won't change on the whims of the next creator in line.

DC, this plan is a multi-year plan. That means you have to have patience.

For the Non-Superhero Fan Girls
Now this one's a doozy. Know the fanbase. we talking girls who read manga and books like Twlight, this would be a heck of a scoop for the book but you need to know the following.

1-Patience. Because there is no way in hell this is going to be an over night, let alone a year, success. Keep this in mind because telling a group of girls that Wonder Woman comics are for them will involves MARKETING and CONVINCING. So, put this down in a long term effort.

2-All Star Ultimate Wonder Woman Earth-One. Thats right, continuity free, shared universe free, totally new from scratch Wonder Woman. If you think an audience whose use to being able to pick up "book 1" of something is going to pick up issue "601" (and then be expected to learn past continuity on their own time) is going to work, you should be slapped.

3-Beginning, middle, and END! That's what these readers are use to. Its not unlike this hasn't been done before but if, and I'm stretching if here, this worked would DC allow it just to end?

4-Consistency. While 52 was awesome, manga fans probably wouldn't consider 52 issues of a weekly series all that difficult. I mean, Akira Toriyama did over a decade of Dragonball comics weekly. Not counting a few weeks out of the year with holidays and sickness but still. Manga books don't have fill ins. They may go on hiatus(I pray Ai Yazawa gets well enough to get back to Nana) but fill ins are a no no. Of course Artistic consistency is something that is extremely important. So will having a singular writers vision as well. But really, where are you going to find that team?

5-Different audience, different stories and elements. I read shoujo so I know the importance of relationships between lead characters and their supporting cast. Plus romance helps.

I also will say that the typical "arc" style format may not be smart. Think shonen manga where the story arcs are longer and aren't considered arcs. I like how DBZ was set in sagas for example. Same with Yuyu Hakusho. You had the first dozen issues with Yuske dead and working to come alive. This allowed time to get to know the main players and their world. Than the first of his spirit detective work introduce two major players into the ranks. Than things started speeding along with Genkais apprentice search and the four man fighters finally as a unit in the Saint Beast saga. Its a little hard to explain.

6-Pricing. Manga is usually 10 bucks and the upcoming Earth One titles are going to be around 20. I think its safe to say you should think 15 and below.

There you go DC comics. I hope this was an eye opener.

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