Chillin': Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines at Columbia College

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines at Columbia College
Movie Screening
7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20
Columbia College, Hokin Hall (623 S. Wabash Ave.)

I'm mostly interested in this one for the analysis of Wonder Woman becoming a non-feminist character. That's sort of the huge debate over Wonder Woman comics: What is the character actually promoting?

There's a huge body of comics blogging dedicated to that question. Hooded Utilitarian has written about the character a ton (like here), and in my view, that's how Wonder Woman comics are measured these days.

When DC started its relaunched universe with the New 52 in late 2011, writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang were initially praised for the book. I read the first few issues, and I thought the story and art were both very strong, especially by DC standards.

Later, though, some comics critics started seeing the same patterns with Wonder Woman as they had previously: Even while seemingly trying to build on the character's feminist foundation, the book wound up including a lot of the non-feminist characteristics that have troubled Wonder Woman for decades now.

Wonder Woman is an interesting character because she is far and above the most significant female character in comics. Because of that, there is inevitably going to be a lot of attention given to her portrayal. The mainstream comics world is constructed (mostly) by, for, and about men, and in that way it seems to mirror a lot of other parts of society, unfortunately. As a comic character, Wonder Woman makes it especially easy to see what a feminist treatment in art looks like and why a non-feminist approach is detrimental to the character and the book's effect on readers.

As for the documentary, it's only 63 minutes long, but it's gotten a positive response, having been chosen for SXSW 2012, among other film festivals. It seems like documentaries like this wind up preaching to the choir, and I'm definitely in the choir. But if you're into comics or pop culture and haven't thought much about the portrayal of female characters, this seems like a good overview.

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