DC Inexplicably, Quietly Changes Wonder Woman’s Costume… Again

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So, its been more than a month since DC Comics announced the DCnU relaunch, which has been a known quantity, internally, for them since… at least March, which is when Batwoman #1 was pushed to September to coincide with it, although they couldn’t at the time say why. Likely, it has been in the planning stages for much longer, considering that it involved a single, busy artist and co-executive of DC Comics (Jim Lee) personally overseeing the costume rehaul of more than fifty different characters. Finding writers and artists for projects while keeping the true importance of what they’re going to be working on a secret when you ask them to apply; planning out which which characters will be what superheroes and in which titles; and deciding what the major plot arcs of the relaunch are going to be while at the same time concluding in some way the plot arcs that have been going on in all of your other comics in the same month are large tasks.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that deciding whether Wonder Woman will have pants seems like a decision that should have been made, with some confidence, fairly early on, and followed through on.

In fact, Wondy’s costume was featured in the very first image we got out of the reboot, of the seven core members of the Justice League, which, as the first image to represent the relaunch, should have had a ton of thought poured into it.

And everybody went, “Ok, we’re going with the Wonder Woman #600 costume change, the one with pants, but sans jacket. Fair enough.” Rumors surfaced immediately that pants had become an edict at DC for all of its female characters, and as the new 52 were rolled out, there was a lot of supporting evidence (with some glaring exceptions).

A day later, DC announced that one of the 52 would be Wonder Woman #1, with this cover:

So, again, pants. Prominently displayed, alongside noticeable changes to the costumes of Superman, Hawkman, Green Arrow and others. Wonder Woman wasn’t the only Justice League level hero who was getting a different look. Fans have given a lot of thought and attention and words and blogging to the pants. I’m… I’m actually going to leave it at that. Personally, I think she looks great and I don’t feel like fighting against the lovers of the classic costume because I, too, have moments where I choose nostalgia over practicality.

However, I will start talking about Wonder Woman’s costume when things like the following happen. This morning DC announced a free New 52 preview comic will be given out at comic shops on July 20th. They also published its cover, which has a great big picture of the cover of Superman #1 on the right, and four smaller pictures of the covers of Wonder Woman #1, Batman #1, The Flash #1, and a Green Lantern spoiler (which is why I’m not posting it here, if you want you can go look for yourself).

And in that cover for Wonder Woman #1, the image has been edited so that she has a bikini bottom instead of pants. (See the first image in this post for the comparison.) Viewers were understandably confused. Was this some kind of marketing move just for the cover of the preview? Was this supposed to be the “real” cover? Newsarama quickly reached out to DC and received this in response:

We can confirm that the actual cover to issue 1 has now been revealed.

So Yeah, That’s the Lengthy Preamble to The Following Question

Why on earth wasn’t this costume in use from June 1st, the day of the New 52 announcement, on?

It isn’t as if this is the only thing that people have complained about in the New 52. Oracle getting reverted to Batgirl garnered an in-depth interview with Gail Simone on Newsarama (which Gail Simone and Newsarama had to ask you for, DC, since having your writers talk to comics journalists about the controversial changes to their characters wasn’t an intended part of your PR campaign). It’s not even the only costume that garnered some complaints. People flipped over Superman wearing kneepads. Look at Harley Quinn.

It isn’t even the first time people have objected to Wonder Woman wearing pants! Or were you just not paying attention when Wonder Woman almost became a greenlit show on NBC this spring?

But I digress. Overall, DC, if this is really the only place in which you are changing your mind about the 52, it creates the illusion of one of two possibilities.

A) It makes you look like you don’t know what you are doing. Possibly in general, specifically with Wonder Woman. You had months and months to decide something as basic as “should we keep the pants? They’ve been kind of controversial.” The alternative, that somebody made a decision and then was overruled a month after the costume went public in a tiny corner picture that makes it look like you were hoping no one would notice, makes it look like you were trying to cover a mistake.

B) It makes you look like you don’t really care what you do with Wonder Woman anyway. Like you have no one on staff who is willing to make creative and artistic decisions for the character and then stand by them. Which is a problem when a lot of what you have done with the DCnU so far would lend itself to a reading of your actions as being explainable by not caring about your female characters or audience. Like when you said that you will not be shifting your focus from “the target audience [of] men age 18 to 34 though they do realize that they have readers in other demographics.” Like when you said that three Batgirls would be too confusing for readers, while making sure that all four of the boys who have been Robin have a place in the new continuity (but not the one girl).

I don’t think that you don’t care about your female characters, DC. And I’m sorry about the double negative, but it is very hard to say that I think you do care about your female characters in the face of all this. I don’t think you don’t care. Please stop making it look like you don’t care.

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Susana Polo
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.