Published July 01, 2010
Wonder Woman may have finally been given a pair of pants, but has she been stripped of her patriotism?
The new and allegedly improved Wonder Woman (a.k.a Diana Prince), has been given a head-to-toe makeover by artist Jim Lee, replacing her signature American flag decorated briefs with skintight black pants and purging the super hero of all her trappings of Americana.
Wonder Woman’s original red, white and blue costume, which practically screams America through its stars and stripes covered bodice and belly, was a product of World War II-inspired patriotism, explains Charlie Jane Anders, Managing Editor of io9, Gawker Media’s blog about comics and science fiction.
“The American-ness of her costume really dates from World War II, and it feels like it's part of her roots, even if she is supposed to have come from an island full of Amazons," Anders told FOX411.com. "I think making her look more ‘globalized’ isn't necessarily a bad idea, but you have to be careful not to sacrifice what makes her distinctive and thrilling in the process."
Some fans don’t welcome the change.
“One of the reasons I fell in love with the character of Wonder Woman in the first place, back when I was a kid, had a lot to do with the visual aesthetic of her costume being inspired by the American flag,” says Antony Coukos, Wonder Woman collector and curator of ExperiencetheWonder.com, a collectibles and fan site for the female super hero. “Rendering the patriotic elements of her classic hero costume to ‘accessories’ that look be-dazzled onto the clothing - such as gold stars on the shoulders of a blue leather jacket - definitely seem to portray Wonder Woman less as the Ambassador of Peace we have come to love over the past 70 years. This version looks more like what we might see in a fashion magazine featuring a street-wear look ‘inspired by Wonder Woman’.”
A comic book artist who has worked with DC Comics, which publishes the Wonder Woman comic books and owns her image, says the removal of the flag symbolism probably has a lot to do with international commercial intentions.
“This new sleek and fashionable Wonder Woman will translate well to a film franchise centered on a female action hero. That wouldn’t have worked as well with the bright and flashy red, white and blue costume, and it definitely wouldn’t have played in the very lucrative international markets," said the artist, who wished not to be named because of ties to DC. "The new Wonder Woman costume looks like something you could put on Angelina Jolie, or on one of the bad guys from the 'Twilight' saga.”
Indeed a Wonder Woman movie is in development and slated for release in 2013.
For its part, DC has been dancing around the question of why the flag was dropped from Wonder Woman’s couture. Artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, who undertook the redesign, admitted in a blog post on the DC website that changing the classic costume was incredibly challenging.
“We decided to go for broke, take no prisoners and let me tell you—it was difficult. Wonder Woman’s costume is so infused into our understanding of the identity of the character that it took many numerous back and forths ’til we broke down what existed, got back metaphorically to the clay from which Wonder Woman started and something new started to form," Lee wrote. "So we played down and scaled back the iconic elements—the stars, the eagles, the double WW’s, lightened up the motifs and added armor which could pass as street gear."
But when asked about the absence of the American flag on the new costume, a spokesperson for DC hedged.
“We at DC Comics are exceedingly proud of Wonder Woman’s heritage and Superman’s heritage as iconic symbols of American patriotism," the rep told FOX411.com. "Suggestions that any costume changes within their 70 plus years of rich storytelling come at the expense of this heritage are unfounded. The latest evolution of Wonder Woman’s iconic costume is a central part of the latest comic book storyline. All of the classic symbols – patriotic (stars, eagle) and heroic (lasso, bracelets) – are ever-present. We encourage Wonder Woman fans to stay tuned.”
Lynda Carter, the actress who portrayed Wonder Woman on TV in the 1970s, declined to answer Fox 411.com’s question about the removal of the American flag from the Wonder Woman costume. In a previous interview, Carter said she thinks Wonder Woman would want all the upset fans to just “get over it.”
“She’s got an attitude, and if this is the new thing she wants to wear, well by God she’s going to wear it,” Carter said. “And I like that. And I hope somewhere in the story someone mentions, where’s the old one? And she says, 'Get over it.'”