Exclusive: LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN writer unchained Diana from the Justice League
Wonder Woman is one of the most iconic women in pop culture today. Yet for all her ubiquitous nature over the last 75 years, Princess Diana of Themyscira has taken a back seat. While Superman and Batman thrived — receiving seminal stories such as WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW and THE DARK KNIGHT — Diana’s story-telling history has been more hit-or-miss.
Which is why LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN is so important. The DC Digital First series removes Wonder Woman from the Holy Trinity and the never-ending soap opera drama that is the Justice League and plops her down in her roots, ancient Greek mythology. From that jumping off point, writer/artist Renae De Liz and artist Ray Dillon set about molding a history for Wonder Woman that reminds us all she’s not only a superhero; she’s a demigod.
When Diana finally does enter the World of Men, it’s into the throes World War II. Not one mention is made of Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. For all we know, they’re years away from even being born. Instead the comic focuses on Wonder Woman and her relationship with both her past (her mother and the women who raised her) and her present (the triumphant return of Etta Candy and a sweet romance with Steve Trevor). LoWW weaves together ancient mythology and the seemingly unstoppable march of Hitler’s war machine to create a unique story-telling crossroads.
The final showdown in now upon Wonder Woman. Chapter 27 of LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN is on digital shelves now. HitFix Harpy spoke with writer Renae De Liz via email about her time on this project as she looks to the future and what it holds for this iteration of Diana.
Image Credit: DC Entertainment
HITFIX HARPY: When you first took on this project, did you know how much fans (particularly women) were going to love it?
RENAE DE LIZ: My instincts told me they would, but of course until it actually happens, it's only a hope! I really enjoyed that so many new readers have found Wonder Woman for the first time through this series, but I'm most excited when I hear parents are enjoying the story with their children. I love creating stories for families to share, that all ages can enjoy.
Do you feel like DC Digital First is more flexible with the types of stories writers can tell? Between LoWW, Sensation Comics Wonder Woman, and Bombshells the focus is a lot more on girl power and a female-oriented audience.
RENAE: I do think Digital First seems like an experimental grounds for new and different ideas, and I'm grateful for the freedom I was allowed on LoWW, as it couldn't be what it is without it. I hope more people go out and support these titles, because it's a vote for creative freedom.
To that point, you made sure Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls were an integral part of the story. Was there anything about writing the girls that surprised you?
RENAE: I suppose it was surprising that Etta and her pals were the easiest characters to write. They have so much personality, so much history behind them, and have been waiting so long to come back in all their glory. They practically burst in from the Golden Age and wrote themselves. I have a lot of fun plans for these gals, and look forward to telling their next chapter. This is just the beginning for them, after all!
Many of Wonder Woman’s arcs over the years have dealt with the source of her power. Did you set out to tell a story that blended Diana’s powers with both ancient beings of immense power and Greek mythology?
RENAE: Yes. As much as I love mythology, and love Diana's ties to it, I also felt she's sometimes trapped within it. The DC Universe has large-scale things happening, and Wonder Woman should be at the center of it, so therefore I wanted her to be always rooted in mythology but grow outwards to incorporate her with a more Universal/Galactic status. Gaea, I felt, was perfect to usher in Diana's birth and powers. Not only because she is essentially a female entity (and I felt Diana should only be brought to life by women) but she is a deity both of Greek myth and of the power of the ancient universe. Her Amazonian heritage makes Wonder Woman unique and special, but her galactic power ties her into the rest of the DC Universe on a larger scale.
Do you know more about the Manhunter and Gaea than you had time to share in the current story?
RENAE: There is a giant story going on behind LoWW, and I only told parts of it in this first volume.
Gaea and the Manhunters have been around a very long time, and not even Gaea had found a way to defeat these galactic assassins for hundreds of thousands of years. They have destroyed entire sectors of the universe, defeating gods and guardians of all types. So the fact that Diana--a single woman of Earth--was the first to do it, will have huge repercussions not just on Earth but elsewhere in the universe.
If you could have one aspect of LOWW live on forever in Wonder Woman’s pop culture pantheon, what would it be?
RENAE: I would make Etta Candy as permanent a character as Robin is to Batman and to never be written around her size. One of my major goals with Etta was to prove you don't have to be built a certain way to be smart, attractive, funny, brave…and especially worthy. I wanted Etta to pave the way to incorporate body diversity without making her size a gimmick, or a topic. She's amazing and awesome, and just so happens to be curvy.
A close second is Steve Trevor, in the way he's portrayed in LoWW. He's every bit as important as Lois Lane is to Clark Kent, but also critical in terms of proving men don't have to be the best-of-the best, chiseled, bubble bicep-ed, tough guys all the time. He shows men can be worthy by having emotions (other than anger), and that true strength comes from the heart. Steve doesn't care if Diana is taller and stronger than him. He has true strength, doing whatever is necessary to help others and do what is right. There's a pure goodness about him. That's why a woman as amazing as Diana is drawn to him above anyone else.
For a while, it was touch and go if LOWW would get a second arc. Where were you when you found out it had been renewed and what was your reaction?
RENAE: I was at home, and just going about my day. In fact, because I was certain it wasn't going to happen I was busy planning my next project. Then Ray Dillon (my husband) told me the good news, and I couldn't believe it. I put my heart into LoWW in a big way, and left a lot of things open in the first volume because there was a bigger story that needed to be told. I was heartbroken to think it was all to be left undone. So I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to tell the second chapter of Diana's story.
With the first arc of LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN drawing to a close this week, it's the perfect time to get caught up before the new series begins! You can pick up Chapter 27 of the comic — and see the thrilling conclusion to Diana's battle with the Manhunter titan — at Comixology and whereever digital comics are sold — today!