I first saw Wonder Woman not in a comic of her own, but in Superman/Batman’s The Supergirl From Krypton by Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner. You first see her with her arm around Kara Zor-El’s neck and her hand out. She’s telling Superman and Batman basically to back off. It’s a powerful scene with the trinity of the DC Universe, and always stands as an amazing image in the back of my mind. Once I saw that, I fell in love.
Like many people, I knew of Wonder Woman before that. I cannot exactly tell you when I learned about. Her being an Amazon or being made of clay. As a much older adult, I know more about Diana, Wonder Woman’s alter ego, than I care to admit. She has, and continues, to inspire not only me but a generation of men and women with her strong identity and heroic endeavors.
Unknowingly, Diana stands as one of my first queer icons. Diana grew up on an island of warrior women. She trained, studied, and enhanced herself to physical perfection. As a young man growing up gay in the Midwest, the idea of living on an island that was only men seemed fantastic. I took what I knew of her, and extrapolated it towards my own life.
I learned more about her as the years went on. She was only a teenager when she came to the United States in George Perez’s run, making her an immigrant. This oddly never gets explored fully. She did not flee her country, nor did she give up her citizen ship. She simply lives in this country seemingly illegally. It’s just one of the untapped interesting ideas that are out there with our current government seeming to be so against people entering the country illegally. Here is a hero that just did that, and no one is speaking about it.
In the Golden Age, Diana did not have the same sort of immigrant status. She took over the identity of a woman named Diana Prince whom she looked identical to. She was relegated to secretary in the Justice Society, when in reality she was just as strong and powerful as the other members. She still fought Nazis, spies, and other villains just like they did, but she still acted like a love struck teenager towards Steve Trevor.
The panel above is from Infinite Crisis by Phil Jimenez and Geoff Johns on the wall in my bedroom. It’s surrounded by a bunch of other Wonder Woman panels. The Earth-2 Wonder Woman stands on her invisible jet and looks down at Diana who thinks, at first, that this woman is her dead mother. That picture embodies everything I love about her. She’s there to be a guiding force. She’s a strong powerful older woman who lived through these trials and hardships of her life to have her happy ending with Steve Trevor.
When building how to live a superhero life, I think a lot about Wonder Woman.She’s a strong female figure. She fights for what she believes in. She is not simply a Christian superhero. She is queer. She’s a guiding force. She’s a vegetarian.(She talks to animals. It makes it hard to eat them). She knows multitudes of languages and knowledges. She’s an ambassador of peace and love. She’s one of my icons. She’s one of the heroes I hope to live up to, even if she is fictional.
(Picture Copyright DC Comics. From Infinite Crisis #5. Written by Geoff Johns, Drawn by Phil Jimenez).