From Academic to Fan
The current political climate makes reading classic (i.e. Marston-era) Wonder Woman feel more relevant. To be honest, reading Marston-era Wonder Woman is tough for me. The stories share a formulaic structure and repeat the same themes: Wonder Woman saves America from the Axis of Evil and along the way encounters Steve Trevor so he can remind us that Wonder Woman is beautiful and an object of desire. I feel a much more immediately attached to the Wonder Woman of Azzarello and Chiang’s work and the Wonder Woman of Finch and Finch. Modern Wonder Woman is slicker, more direct, and more complex. Marston-era Wonder Woman has secrets!
In many classic Wonder Woman tales the reader unwittingly stumbles on Wonder Woman’s skills and resources. In one issue we find that Wonder Woman has a psychic telephone she can use to reach any human including Etta Candy. These surprise moments don’t feel like interesting moments of revelation. Instead they feel trumped up. I love Wonder Woman. I love what she stands for and what it means to be an Amazon. Unfortunately, I don’t love every Wonder Woman moment. I feel like a traitor because I don’t fall in love with every Wonder Woman moment.
I made a commitment to reading all of the classic Wonder Woman I can access and that has proven to be daunting. I whipped through the Azzarello/Chian and Finch/Finch stories, but it’s taken me months to read a handful of classic stories. Why!? I puzzle about this more often than I read the stories because I’m not sure what it means. I’m not sure if it matters. I’m not sure how important it is, but it feels important. Must I find a way to love every Wonder Woman? Should I feel impending dread when I think about reading 1960s Mod Era Wonder Woman? If it’s work, is it love? This is what I want to know.
Help Me Understand
Does everyone love the early formation of his or her favorite character? Is the first appearance of a character as important as the more developed and later versions of the character? Is the first Superman important to fans born in the 1980s? It depends on the reader, I suppose, but I wonder how I can really know the character of Wonder Woman if I don’t read all of Wonder Woman.
That is the academic in me talking though. I don’t want to have this experience only as an academic. I also want to have the experience that fans have. Can one experience unabashed admiration for one era of a character if another era’s version of that character is bone dry and pedantic?
What do authentic comics fans do? Do they read every inch of a character’s mythology and love all of it? Do they debate parts of it? Deny parts of it?
There is only one way I can know! I need you to tell me. In the comments, tell me who is your favorite character and how much of his or her (or its) material have you read? How much of it do you love?