Who’d win in a fight between Superman and Spawn? How the f*ck old is Cable? And what in the holy hell is a Megatron? When the tough questions arise, Panels on Pages will gather the facts, but it’s up to the PoP!ulation to draw its own conclusions. So come on… Riddle Me This!
This is the age of comic book movies. No matter what happens next, this will be the era pointed to in both cinema and comic history as the time when the superheroes dominated the big screen. Comic book movies are the blockbusters. Marvel is producing their own movies. That sounds like something out of some nerd’s fever dream, but it’s the real world. With so many lesser-known heroes getting the silver screen treatment, there’s one pretty glaring omission. Regular listeners to the PanelsOnPages PoP!-Cast will know that we’ve made a running joke out of the sheer volume of Marvel characters headed to the big screen before Wonder Woman. If you really take a moment and consider that Rocket Raccoon is going to be a in a big budget movie before Wonder Woman, your mind may melt. That’s a little ridiculous.
For as much as we like to kid (Quicksilver is going to be in two movies from two studios in two different franchises while Wonder Woman has exactly zero franchises), it does raise the question as to why a Wonder Woman movie is so hard. She’s one of the most iconic figures in American pop culture. Sure, most people don’t read her comic books (or any comics, for that matter), but if you showed a picture of Wonder Woman to a group of random people on the street, most of them would at least know who she is. You’d probably get more recognition for Wonder Woman now than you would have gotten for Iron Man ten years ago. What’s keeping the brass at DC and Warner Bros. form getting a movie off the ground?
Is there a fear that Wonder Woman isn’t accessible? Prior to the New 52 relaunch, I’d never read a Wonder Woman comic. Ever. I’d seen her in cartoons and other comics, but I’d yet to read a single solo tale. This is everything I knew about Wonder Woman at that point.
- She exists
- She is an Amazon princess from an island where there are no men
- She fights a Cheetah woman (aptly named “Cheetah” on a regular basis
- She has a magic truth lasso and flies an invisible plane sometimes (but can also fly, so that’s even dumber than it sounds)
- She is tied to the Greek myths in some way, but since it’s a DC character, this can change at any given moment depending on what Crisis happens next week
That’s basically it. Armed with such a limited knowledge, I jumped into Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman and loved it. As a big mythology nerd, it spoke to me. It’s one of the best books DC is publishing now. It’s consistently excellent. It’s also proof that you can tell a Wonder Woman story that’s easily accessible to even the most uninformed reader. Hollywood is a on a roll with these Greek movies, too. Clash of the Titans even got a sequel. You want something a little more modern? They’re making another one of those Percy Jackson movies. There’s clearly a market for those kinds of movies. Otherwise they would not be making them. Hollywood hates taking risks these days.
A few years ago, I would have pegged Thor as a tough sell to movie audiences. We all saw how that played out. Thor’s second solo film is set to do some big business in a post-Avengers world. Wonder Woman as a Thor-esque movie could absolutely work. Maybe the problem is that they won’t play her that straight forward. If you’ve not seen David E. Kelly’s infamous Wonder Woman pilot, you’re missing out. It’s a colossal failure that must be seen to be believed. For as little as I knew about Wonder Woman going in, everyone involved in that show clearly knew less than I did. It’s awful, but the script got a green light. It didn’t get picked up as a series because it is truly terrible, but the fact that this version of Wonder Woman got made at all is a head scratcher. If the character can endure for 70 years, why can’t she get a solid film adaptation? The animated feature from a few years ago is regarded as one of DC’s best ever. Put the guys behind that on a movie script. They clearly know what they’re doing.
The CW is giving The Flash a TV show. The Flash. Here’s a rundown of what I know about the Flash:
- His name is Barry
- He’s a cop, but since it’s DC, this is subject to change
- He’s like… super mega fast
- He has a Cosmic Treadmill. I’ll never forget those words.
- His villains all look absolutely ridiculous
If they can milk ten years out of Smallville, I’ll bet the CW comes closer to a quality program with The Flash than NBC did with Wonder Woman. This is a character with a cosmic treadmill. That’s the kind of goofy sh-t that can and does get a pass from comic readers. Somewhere there’s some NBC executive falling onto his sword.
So what am I missing? What is the piece of the puzzle that eludes me? The old argument that female leads don’t sell tickets doesn’t really fly after a successful Resident Evil franchise and The Hunger Games gearing up for a similar streak of wins. That’s over. There’s a pretty big Girl Power movement happening right now. Audiences (particularly the ladies) are really into the notion of a strong female lead. You’ve got to give us a new reason.
Obviously, it’s possible to tell a good Wonder Woman story that resonates with an audience (But that’s also true for Green Lantern, and we saw what happened with his movie.). If not, there wouldn’t be a sea of Wonder Woman fans at any and every convention in the country. She is a true icon and all kidding aside, she deserves a chance on the big screen. You can even put her in pants! Despite what some would have you believe, the bare legs are not the most important part of her character. Look to the source material, WB. There’s gold to be mined. More importantly, there’s money to be made and we all know how much you like money.