It's been a while since comicdom's most well-known heroine, DC Comics' Wonder Woman, received a new creative team on her series and when writer Walter Simonson takes over the reins from exiting writer/artist Phil Jimenez, it'll be a chance for the veteran creator to remind fans just why Wonder Woman has endured for such a long time.
"There are two intertwined concepts behind the Wonder Woman story I'm doing," Simonson told CBR News. "The first is taken from the Aesop's fable about a brass jar and an earthenware jar caught in a flood; the second a lesson taken from C.S.Lewis' book, Till We Have Faces, in which Lewis suggests that we are fortunate indeed that the gods do not in fact dispense justice to mortals. I've gone from there and built a story around Diana, several mortals, and an interestingly random selection of gods! We're taking a closer look at the question - how hard do you have to fight when everything you've known, believed in, or loved is being taken away from you?
"My first issue is 'Wonder Woman #189' and is due out at the end of February. It ships the last week of the month.
"I'm drawing my cast out of the Phil Jimenez run that precedes mine and I'm adding a few new characters as my story needs them. So Trevor Barnes, several of the Amazons, and some of the known gods will be appearing in the story. I'm also introducing a young boy who lives in Trevor's neighborhood and a young woman who is a big Wonder Woman fan. There's also a really nasty dog but he doesn't show up for a couple of issues.
While some may look at the character of Wonder Woman and say that she's carried her own series because she is one of the first prominent female characters in comic books, but Simonson says that very fact is what makes her so special. "Actually, I think the fact that she was one of the first prominent female heroes is something that sets her apart from the rest of the pack. Essentially, she's the godmother of superheroines as Superman is the godfather of superheroes. That alone puts her in a unique category. And the fact that she's been reinvented off and on over the years and kept going is a testament to her flexibility and endurance. And really, she has a great costume! I'd be doing these stories just to get Adam Hughes to draw more covers.
"One of the big appeals is--hey! It's WONDER WOMAN!!! There are only a handful of genuine icons in the comics business and she's one of them. And she's one of the only ones I haven't done before."
However, that's not the only inspiration behind Simonson's Wonder Woman stories and he explains that he found the light bulb in his head switched on by another medium. "I mentioned the twin concepts that got me on track for the story I'm telling back in the interview. And those were the inspirations that got this story underway. Those and an old Hammer horror film called 'Kiss of the Vampire' that had a great opening. I'm not telling any kind of a vampire story but the opening of that film was extremely cool and gave me an idea for the beginning of this Wonder Woman story.
"My goal is simple. Tell a good story. And when I'm done, that's exactly where I hope I've taken both Diana and her fans - through a good story."
While fans are generally looking forward the industry legend's work on "Wonder Woman," it has been commented by some that the six issue Simonson stint on the series is being overshadowed by news of his successor- popular Batman writer Greg Rucka. In the end, Simonson's not worried about fans perceiving his work as filler or as there being a lack of demand for the story within those six issues. "On the DC Wonder Woman board, at the end of the first couple of months after it was announced I was writing a few issues, posters had already posted three times the total number of words I'll be writing in all six issues of the book. And that was a month or two ago before any information about the issues I'm working on was actually available. So no. I don't really feel a lack of interest because of Greg's approach as upcoming series writer. I don't know that I intend to 'show' fans that I'm not doing 'filler'; I just don't plan to be doing any filler. I've got six issues to kick ass and that's two more issues than most mini-series have. So stand back and give us room!"
The work on "Wonder Woman" has been enjoyable for Simonson and he says that it's due to two things: a great character in Diana and a great creative team around him. "The hardest part has probably been doing the research for the story," explains Simonson. "But since that's one of the parts that's the most fun for me in any story, it hasn't been a problem. The easiest part has been working with the rest of the creative team on the book. A pleasure and a breeze.
"As far as his being a perfect fit for me, Jerry's a perfect fit for a good story because he's an exceptional storyteller. And that's exactly the kind of work he's been turning in on Wonder Woman. Thoughtful, clever, well-considered visual storytelling. And that's the stuff I like the best. After all, it makes my job easier!"
After his work on "Wonder Woman" is complete, Simonson says he has some more exciting projects planned for fans and is able to reveal a few at this time. "I'm currently penciling the first issue of an 'Elric' four issue prestige series for DC Comics written by Michael Moorcock, Elric's creator. And for those of you who aren't familiar with Elric, check under Moorcock at Amazon.com. Just be prepared to sift through a LOT of entries. The man's incredibly prolific! And I'm also working on one of the issues of DC's 'Solo' title as well."
While fans wait for "Wonder Woman #189" to ship, Simonson says that he only asks one thing of fans: "I hope they'll all take a look at the issue. I don't think they'll be disappointed."