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Hello, Ladies ([personal profile] helloladies) wrote in [community profile] ladybusiness2017-06-30 12:56 pm

Suggested reading if you want more Diana of Themyscira by chaila

Today chaila returns to talk about good starting points if you're interested in reading more Wonder Woman comics


One of the amazing things about discovering Wonder Woman is that there are 75 years of stories about her! So much to read! The downside, of course, is that there are 75 years of stories about her. So much to read.

Luckily, I am incapable of passing up the opportunity to tell people about Wonder Woman stories I love, so here are one fan’s Wonder Woman comics recommendations. (Updated from the last time I did this.)

My personal essential reading list

  • Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka: Volume One, written by Greg Rucka with various artists (collects Wonder Woman volume 2, issues #195-205 and The Hiketeia, see below). This largeish volume is a recent republication of the first third of Rucka’s mid-2000s run on the comic. These issues were previously collected, more or less, in the graphic novels Wonder Woman: Down to Earth and Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals, which can still be found in libraries or secondhand.

    This entire run by Rucka (spanning from volume 2, issues #195 to #226) remains hands down my favorite Diana story ever told, and was the impetus for my falling head over heels in love with her. Refreshingly free of yet another take on an origin, this story focuses on Diana much further into her superhero career, when she is a cultural and political figure, a champion of Athena, and officially an ambassador of the Amazons. If you like this beginning, I enthusiastically recommend the whole run, which is a beautiful and devastating take on Diana as a hero and a myth, showing all the things she means and stands for to different people, while simultaneously stripping away everything from her until there’s just Diana. It seems that DC is reissuing all of Rucka's first Wonder Woman run in new volumes, and Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka: Volume Two will be available in July 2017.


  • Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka, art by J.G. Jones. This is a standalone story in which Diana attempts to protect a young woman who’s committed a crime. It features ancient Greek rituals, clashing ideals of justice, and Diana standing on Batman’s head. This story is an excellent exploration of who Diana is and her beliefs, and it’s very much a tragedy in the classical sense. You can get this as a short graphic novel, but it is also currently bundled with other issues by Greg Rucka in Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka: Volume One (see above).


  • Wonder Woman: The Circle, written by Gail Simone, art by Bernard Chang and Ron Randall (collects Wonder Woman, volume 3, issues #14-19). This story focuses more on Diana as a daughter of Hippolyta and a child of the Amazons, and some of the complex things that might mean. There’s some really uncomfortable stuff in this story about Amazons and their feelings about maternity and reproduction which, frankly, I probably wouldn’t trust in anyone’s hands but Simone’s, but here it works. No one writes Diana as a compassionate warrior as effectively as Simone, and her Hippolyta and the Amazons are definitive, as far as I’m concerned. As with Rucka, if you like this beginning, I heartily recommend the rest of Simone’s run (volume 3, issues #14-44).


  • JLA: A League of One, written and art by Christopher Moeller. This is another standalone story, in which Diana learns of a prophecy that a dragon will kill the Justice League, and decides what to do about it. This is another good, self-contained exploration of Diana and her principles--her solution is so very Diana--and the art is absolutely gorgeous. Plus Diana fights a dragon!



Some other good entry points and recent comics

  • The Legend of Wonder Woman written by Renae De Liz, art by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon. This is an all-ages retelling of Diana’s origin and initial life in Man’s World, with its own added twists on that story (you will soon discover that no telling of Diana’s origin is quite the same as any other). It spools out the telling over the entire volume, so there’s a lot more about Diana and Hippolyta and the Amazons, and a lot more Etta Candy when Diana gets to Man’s World. It manages to balance fun with some of the complexity of Diana’s origin and principles. For another all-ages comic, I’ve heard really excellent things about DC Superhero Girls.


  • Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, Volume 1, various writers and artists. This is a series of standalone short stories about Diana, each by a different writer and artist. There's a really wide variety in the stories, with Diana in different contexts, at different times in her life, and with different characters. Some of them are wonderful. These would be good if you just want some short or fun stories, without the investment of a longer run. If you like this volume, there are two more volumes in the same vein.


  • And, of course, you can always jump in with the current Wonder Woman comic, currently being published as Wonder Woman: Rebirth. There are two graphic novels so far: Wonder Woman: The Lies, written by Greg Rucka with art by Liam Sharp, which is an exploration of Diana’s conflicting origin stories, and Wonder Woman: Year One, written by Greg Rucka with art by Nicola Scott, which is a take on Diana’s early life in our world. I have some mixed opinions on these and I need to sit down with them again. The two volumes resonate with each other, but you can also read them independently. If you’re picking just one, go with Year One; The Lies carries a lot of baggage related to the last five years or so of Wonder Woman comics, but Year One should be pretty accessible.


  • The Wonder Woman book will soon be taken over by two women, writer Shea Fontana and artist Mirka Andolfo, who’ve done some acclaimed stuff for DC ladies lately (DC Superhero Girls and DC Bombshells, respectively). I believe they are only writing a limited miniseries, and I’m not really sure what’s happening with the book after that. #comics




In conclusion, comics are confusing, especially with a character like Diana, who has such a long and varied history. I’m happy to answer questions about availability/collections/where-the-heck-to-even-start, or anything related to Wonder Woman comics. There’s some great stuff in these comics, just waiting for you to read them!
chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)

[personal profile] chelseagirl 2017-06-30 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for this!

The first Wonder Woman comics I had read were some of the old William Moulton Marston ones; they are not exactly what someone who cut their teeth on Gaiman's Sandman would expect of comics. (On the other hand, it *is* the anthology Ms. Magazine put together in the 70s, which is kinda fun.) My local comics shop suggested the first Rucka volume, so that's sitting on my shelf right now.
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (wonder woman - fight)

[personal profile] chaila 2017-07-01 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
I somewhat sheepishly admit I've never really read any of the Marston comics. They have always seems pretty far from the modern character and the things I love about her? Perhaps I should find that anthology! :) Your comics shop is very smart; the first Rucka run was the first Wonder Woman I ever read, and it worked out very well for me. :)
chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)

[personal profile] chelseagirl 2017-07-01 11:13 am (UTC)(link)
I had come at this from a different direction -- I do some freelance publishing work, and had written the index to Jill Lepore's history of Wonder Woman -- much of that is about Marston and the origin of the character, so of course, I needed to read this! When the movie came out, I dug it out again. But it is very simplified, as I guess is typical of its era.

katarik: FFVII: ACC, head and shoulders shot of Elena, text detonator darling (Strictly biz rookie dynamo.)

[personal profile] katarik 2017-07-01 07:04 pm (UTC)(link)
League of One is MY FAVORITE Diana book. Thank you for reminding me how much I love it, and letting me know when to go to my friendly local shop for Rucka's mid-oughts WW run!
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (Default)

[personal profile] chaila 2017-07-04 01:06 am (UTC)(link)
Yay, it is excellent! I am probably due for a reread/readmiration of that gorgeous art.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)

wishes

[personal profile] brainwane 2017-07-01 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I’m happy to answer questions about availability/collections/where-the-heck-to-even-start, or anything related to Wonder Woman comics.

I'd love to know: if you had your druthers, who would get a chance to write Wonder Woman comics? I'm curious about the take, say, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jane Espenson, or Alexandra Erin would have.
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (Default)

Re: wishes

[personal profile] chaila 2017-07-04 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
Goodness, I am very 1) unimaginative, 2) extremely biased and myopic about things I already love, and 3) uninformed about comics people more broadly (I read lots of Wonder Woman and. . . only a little of things without Wonder Woman in them), but if I had to pick, I might really like to see what someone like Josh Friedman, the Sarah Connor Chronicles showrunner, would do with a character like Diana. That series had a lot of visual thematic imagery and mythic ideas in it, I think he could make something really interesting of Diana and the Amazons.