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Even DC President Diane Nelson Thinks Wonder Woman is “Tricky”

If we got angry about this kind of thing we'd be angry all the time

Another day, another person in the entertainment industry saying that making a Wonder Woman movie would be “tricky.” Except this time it’s coming from Diane Nelson, President of DC Comics. I’ll give Nelson some credit here: at least she seems to be saying that despite Wonder Woman’s alleged “trickiness,” she’s got to be made a priority by DC and Warner Bros. for a film or television adaptation.

In Nelson’s words, to The Hollywood Reporter:

We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen. The reasons why are probably pretty subjective: She doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes. There are lots of facets to Wonder Woman, and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features. She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she’s tricky.

And here I might refute the idea that Wonder Woman’s origin is either too complicated or too old fashioned by mentioning Marvel Entertainment’s successful mythological superhero blockbuster Thor, but frankly, we just put up a video that says everything I would otherwise say on the subject. So go watch that if you want a good rebuttal. I’d rather talk about one question previously when THR asked Nelson who she had at the top of the priority queue to get a movie adaptation, and her answer was “Sandman is right on top. I think it could be as rich as the Harry Potter universe.”

Here’s the thing: Sandman is an incredible story, a great comic, and one that has been the gateway into comics for legions of female comics fans because of its many, many, central female characters who were painted with just as much concern and thought as its male ones. But The Sandman absolutely does not have a “single, clear… story.” It is a dense, mythologically packed work where many subtle plot threads are gradually woven into an inevitable climax, and it demands the reader have read widely, broadly, and carefully to fully appreciate all of its themes and elements. You see, there are lots of facets to The Sandman, and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features.

Oh, and there’s one other thing: nobody outside of the comics world knows who Sandman is, and Wonder Woman has been an American icon for more than seventy years.

Wonder Woman is tricky because our culture has made it tricky. And I do sympathize with anyone trying to get a Wonder Woman story out to a mainstream audience through a massive, conservative production studio like Warner Bros. Because despite The Hunger Games, despite Snow White and the Huntsman, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Prometheus and Brave, all of which out-grossed The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, Wrath of the Titans, John Carter, Looper, Battleship, Total Recall, and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, last year… despite the fact that the last two major successful blockbusters that Warner Bros. has managed to wring from the DC universe, The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, both had critics divided except for the overwhelming consensus that Selina Kyle, Lois Lane, and Faora-Ul were the best things about the movie…

Despite all that, Hollywood hasn’t greenlit a single movie with a female comic book character in the lead since 2005.

So yeah, I sympathize with the people trying to repackage Wonder Woman to a room of studio execs who purposefully bought DC Comics in so that they’d have a better chance of grabbing the young male demographic, and are horrified of the idea of presenting something with even the slightest whiff of any version of the feminist action hero except the Strong Female Character (link contains enough context to understand which kind of SFC I’m talking about) lest the apparently very fragile masculinity of that demographic be so threatened by the presence of a well known cultural icon that they decide not show up for the show. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is not Wonder Woman, or Amazons, or Themyscira that’s tricky. It’s Man’s World.

(via DC Women Kicking Ass.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.