LIGHTS Facebook Lights is a pretty and successful pop star. But that's now.…
- Posted on Jul 24th 2010 12:00PM by Lights
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The female figure that has inspired me most in my life -- aside from my mother -- is not real. Maybe that's strange. But that's what makes Wonder Woman so influential. It is precisely her otherworldly battles, her whimsical beauty and her supernatural movements that have driven me to set the bar higher and widen the room in the sky at which I hurl my stars.
I started reading Wonder Woman comics in my early teens. I was drawn in at first by the artwork. I picked up covers based on the jolt of empowerment I garnered from the warrior woman staring out. I could only really afford the one-dollar back issues, so I began with the early installments of Volume 2. The art was simple and straightforward. It was backed by an air of legend and grandeur that, as a gangly adolescent, I attempted to embody by inflating my chest and forcing my shoulders back for the first couple of years in high school. Felt strong. Looked strange. Got teased.
It was when I reached the later issues of Volume 2, specifically the 'Land of the Dead' series, that the hero had me for keeps. Her alter-ego, Diana Prince, blind for a time (self-inflicted in order to resist Medusa's gaze, who she ended up defeating) found herself in Hades' underworld for what seemed like eons. She was tormented and afraid, yet maintained strength and always kept pressing on. She came out with greater courage and more acute senses. In my late teens, when I moved across the country, the happenings and sentiment of those issues served as a huge comfort to me in the first year on my own. I painted a giant Wonder Woman mural on a wall in my small apartment 5,000 kilometers away from my family. There she stood, eight feet tall with a golden, bloody ax, proclaiming "Zombies!" with that classic furrow in her brow that looks so good on her.
I continued to read and collect the comics, consistently nurtured by the confidence that came from watching a beautiful woman endure with supernatural strength and cunning grace. Her power was always juxtaposed with her surprisingly human emotions and tenderness. I liked that. I saw an amplified version of who I was in her.
More realistically, I probably saw something I wanted to emulate in her. It was for that reason that I adapted her image on the cover of Issue No 2, Volume 3 (where our hero is fending off the enormous hand of the villain Giganta) to look a bit more like myself and placed it on my back via a 10-hour tattoo session. In that image, no matter how small Wonder Woman appears and no matter the odds, she still wins. To this day, I have not lived in an apartment that didn't have some massive adaptation of a few WW panels slathered thickly on the walls.
I've followed her through so many of her adventures -- emotional, physical, earthly, otherworldly -- that I feel I know her like a friend. And just like a friend, I see things happen to her that are unfortunate, like that perm she had in the '80s. But you stick by your friends and they always find themselves again. This faith is what has enabled my tolerance of the pretty extreme makeover she's just recently undergone. I trust that the leggings, wrist warmers and shoulder-pad jacket will eventually find their way back to Hot Topic to be replaced (once again) by the boots, cuffs and blazing arm muscles -- the trinity of items that represent the bad-assery of Wonder Woman.
I question what DC Comics is thinking with the makeover. Is this to set up her role in a more "contemporary" film featuring the college girl at the end of the Halloween party who failed at being a Jackson? Is this to see how many pages of forum nerd-rage it takes to fuel a small car? I love my original Wonder Woman. Please bring her back to me.