Wonder Woman is one of the most recognisable superheroes in the world. You show someone a picture of her and more likely than not they’ll know who it is, even if they couldn’t tell you what publisher she came from or name any of her villains. But, for a character so iconic and recognisable, DC seem to be having a helluva time with her origin story. Take Batman. In every canonical take on his character, he’s a billionaire driven to fight crime after witnessing the murder of his parents as a child. That never changes. Neither does Superman’s Last Son of Krypton origin.
But poor Princess Diana is all over the place. It’s almost as if DC are scared that her Greek myth origin will put people off, or that reading about Zeus and Hera will look a little too much like learning. Before the New 52, J. Michael Straczynski’s reboot cut her off from the destroyed Paradise Island and had her raised from childhood on Earth, with little knowledge of her heritage. And as for that failed pilot – Themyscira was demoted from island home of the Amazons to the name of Diana’s decidedly Earth-based company.
Over her decades in print, the weight given to her mythological heritage has ebbed and flowed. In the late sixties she was depowered and became a mod boutique owner called Diana Prince. In Gail Simone’s recent run the Amazons featured heavily and Simone was very interested in Diana’s spirituality and her feminism, but actual Greek gods featured sparingly and Diana herself was depowered in her human, Department of Meta-Human Affairs agent form.
brian azzarello, greek myth, wonder woman