Breaking the (Clay) Mold: on Wonder Woman’s Matriarchal Birth
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CitationPagonis, Melissa. 2019. Breaking the (Clay) Mold: on Wonder Woman’s Matriarchal Birth. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractIn 2011, DC Comics reset their entire publication line with The New 52, wherein titles were reimagined with new costumes, plotlines, and characters. For Wonder Woman, The New 52 introduced the unexpected revelation that her once-matriarchal birth now retroactively included a father in Zeus, King of the Gods. This thesis contends that while change is a necessity in order for comic books to span decades while retaining their relevance, some changes—those that fundamentally alter or display misunderstanding of a character—cause long-term damage to that character’s legacy. It argues that the erasure of Wonder Woman’s matriarchal origin should be viewed as woefully antithetical to the principles of the character as established by her creator, William Moulton Marston, and—in contrast to her decades-long history—asks us to see her power as part of and stemming from patriarchy. From close readings of several runs under different writers—William Moulton Marston, George Pérez, Brian Azzarello, and Grant Morrison—this thesis considers Wonder Woman’s rebooted origin alongside the overall marginalization of femininity within her rebooted story to demonstrate how The New 52 disturbs the strength and depth of the character’s overall influence on our collective culture. Finally, it takes key learnings from each run to offer positive ideas on how future writers can bring Wonder Woman into the 21st century.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004234