Wonder Woman Writer Says Haters Need To 'Get Over It' About Diana's New Canon Bisexuality

The current Wonder Woman writer says that people who reject the new canonical interpretation that Diana has slept with women just don't understand the character. "You just don't," Greg Rucka told me yesterday. "That's like saying Superman is into justice and the American way, but doesn't give a rat's arse about truth. It's like, 'Really?'" I spoke to Rucka yesterday morning during the first day of New York Comic-Con. DC Comics is celebrating Wonder Woman's 75th anniversary by showing high points from the character's multimedia history in its booth, along with splashy events like a release of postage stamps. The spotlight on Diana comes at a time when the character's backstory is being streamlined, which includes a new interpretation of the character's romantic past where she's been with both woman and men. In the interview that follows, Rucka talks about when Wonder Woman's tangled history will start to resolve and his reaction to the outcry to saying that Diana is canonically bisexual.


One of the things that struck me about your current Wonder Woman is the idea that the character is in flux. I know you're not ignoring that it's happened before, but when can we start to expect seeing stuff congeal into a new history or continuity?

Greg Rucka: So #8 is Bilquis Evely's issue, which is an interlude. Number nine is "The Lies", again. It's "The Lies", Part Five. The whole Superman/Wonder Woman thing is addressed directly in that. So there's naturally conversation about it. People are like, "Are you ever going to address it?" Of course I'm going to address it. But I wasn't going to say it in issue #1. There was an organic place. This is the place it happens — and to answer the rest of the question, I'm not sure you'll get the answers to the specific questions by the end of "The Lies", by Wonder Woman #11. But, by the time you hit Wonder Woman #11, it will be much clearer exactly what I am doing to bring continuities into sync. And then the question will become, "Now that I've shown you how the crockery was broken, how is it repaired?" And that's really what's going on in "The Lies". It's not me going in and shattering dishes. It's me going, "Here's the box full of all the broken crockery... not all of it's actually plates."

You're working in a shared universe, so you have to think about characters like Donna Troy, who also have knotty continuities. Is that part of your plan?

Rucka: No. To be very straightforward, the focus here is very tight. This is one of the things that I talked to Geoff [Johns] about initially, when they asked me to come and work on it. It's one of the things I'd been telling to Doyle — my editors Chris Conroy, Rebecca Taylor... a thing that Liam [Sharpe] and I have talked about, Nichol and I have talked about. The focus has got to be on Diana and that immediate orbit. So it's Diana, Etta, it's Steve, it's Barbara-Ann, it's the villains that are in that tight orbit, as well. Once all of that is sort of fixed — and I mean that not as in "broken", but as in "staked into position" — then we can start talking about what's going with Donna. What's going on with Wonder Girl.

Because Wonder Girl herself, there's a huge continuity problem there. Cassie Sandsmark is really problematic, and I love the character. But you only get Cassie Sandsmark because John Byrne decided he was going ignore that all the Vanessa Kapatelis stuff. And so you're like, why does my continuity allow a character teed up as one Wonder Girl, and then somebody cut into the front of the line and said, "No! Here's another Wonder Girl!" What the hell, man? Honour the rest of the material.

It's a difficult position you find yourself in. I feel like you're putting in grace notes that nod at the George Perez iteration and some other stuff, too. But also not invalidating anything that Brian Azzarello necessarily did.

Rucka: No, and I think it's important to try to find those things that, again, work and that are true. One of the things that I think did happen over the course of the New 52 — and this is something that Geoff and I talked about — was that there has been this perception that Diana somehow doesn't work.

Writers are brought in and they're told, "Make her work!" And so they sit there and they try to reinvent the wheel. So, what's the latest reinvention? We're going to make the Amazons horrible people. She's not going to use a lasso, she's going to stab people with a sword. And that's not Wonder Woman! That's Red Sonja! And Red Sonja's a totally different character, from a totally different continuity. Literally, what I have been told to do is, "I want to see Wonder Woman again."

So let's look at what we're doing in Year One. Trying to honour the Perez origin — because Marston's original origin is so vague! It's literally a two page origin and you're like, "there's no character there," because he wasn't interested in the character. He was interested in the ideas and concept. In 2016, we want stories about character, so we understand the motivation. Themyscira has to be paradise. It's gotta be Utopia. It has to be a place that once she leaves it, that's sacrifice. Her willingness to go, "I will never go back there," is huge. It's her defining heroic characteristic. And it's a characteristic that we lose, and we've lost it over and over again, because God knows, for the last 10 years, every other story has been sent on Themyscira. So Themyscira needs to be rare. And one of the goals here is to say, "It is rare. We've got to make it rare again."

But you're not necessarily saying, "She's never going home again."

Rucka: "The Lies" is about how she can't find her way home. At the end of Wonder Woman #9, she finds her way home. But the arc is called "The Lies". The arc that will follow it is "The Truth". The arcs right now are "The Lies", "Year One", "The Truth", "Godwatch". All right? And Godwatch, the artist who follows Nicola will be on that, and much as we've been running these two parallels and they inform each other, "Godwatch"/"The Truth" run parallel, but toward the end each will actually break.

Ten years have gone by since your last run on the character. What's different in your approach? Obviously you have a whole other set of continuity fractures to deal with, but what about you as a person has grown and is different?

Rucka: I am older and wiser and, as a result, I think more considerate of the rest of the canon. I think you see a lot of new, young writers come in and they get their crack at Batman, and they get their crack at Aquaman or whatnot, and throw the baby out with the bathwater. There was a time, once upon a time, that when the writers changed on a book you could hardly tell. And I'm as guilty of this as anybody else. In my younger days, I'd be like, "I don't need this, and I don't need this, and I don't need this..." and it would be done for an ego that said, "this isn't mine," and less because of a rejecting of what didn't work. I think this is common all throughout the industry.

I like to think that I have gotten older and wiser enough to go, "the things that I am changing, I am changing with deliberation and with great care," and with an eye toward wanting to build a legacy that will outlast us. One of the things I was asked to do on this run is build a Diana so that when the next person comes along, there will be a continuity. When I leave the book, the next writer, whoever he or she may be, shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. Ideally, they will go, "If nothing else, 'Year One' is a fixed point, 'The Lies' and 'The Truth' are fixed points on the character's current map."

So, were you surprised that the whole sexuality thing blew up the way it did?

Rucka: Yeah! I generally was.

Because you took it as a given?

Rucka: Yes. Because a lot of people already did. I suspect what we're seeing is the sturm und drang from a small, very vocal minority — the same people who felt that Ghostbusters with a female cast somehow invalidates their childhood, which is bullshit — and these are people who don't read the book. And they don't know the character. It's 2016. And this is an asked and answered question. We're done with this. Get over it. So I was surprised, and at the same time I'm not surprised, because Trump has a reasonable chance of winning the presidency. And the reason that Trump does is because he's tapped into the wave of fury and despair of the dinosaur that is dying. That's what this election cycle is, and you're seeing it globally. A whole bunch of people have realised, "Holy shit, the way I think is broken and wrong and outmoded and the world is changed and I'm going to die out and I'm going to take you down with me if I have to." He's another example of that.

Because there's nobody in the world who can look at Wonder Woman and go, "I love this character, I believe in what this character stands for," and then say, "...AND I CANNOT ACCEPT THE FACT that she would accept an individual's consensual love any way imaginable." If you don't accept that, then you don't understand the character. You just don't. That's like saying Superman is into justice and the American way, but doesn't give a rat's arse about truth. It's like, "Really? Excuse me. Moving on."


Comments

    Is it actual hatred or manufactured hatred to drive controversy? Honestly, I can't tell anymore in this crazy industry.

      Or is it Trolls faking hatred,

      or a few sad comic book fans that honestly dont want new comics and stories but just want the exact same story drawn panel for panel.

      I'm assuming there are people out there having a bad reaction, but it doesn't seem like there are that many and like he says they're probably not people who read these comics. These are the people who are weighing in to make a point on a larger issue. He might be trying to fan those flames by making a statement on Ghostbusters but if that's his plan it doesn't seem to be working.

      Exactly what I was thinking. Everyone I know that heard about this just shrugged and said some variation of, "Makes sense for the situation." (referring to growing up on an island of only one sex). If there have been any haters I haven't seen them.

    It's a non issue. I like the new take on her. She gives her heart basically to a warrior of equal stature to herself who deserves it. The person who earns it. That's pretty badass.

      Plus to be honest, her bisexuality is really a logical conclusion of what would happen on an isolated island comprised of a population of females. While biologically there would be the desire to breed with a male they deem worthy, the Amazons as a group would need companionship during the other times of their life.

        It's as per the ancient Greek culture it's based on, which last time I checked hasn't been a surprising revelation in a few thousand years.

    LGBT themes in Greek mythology? Never heard of it.

      Ur comment reminds me of an old Italian joke - the Greeks invented sex but the Romans added women to the idea.

    and these are people who don’t read the book. And they don’t know the character.
    It's funny. Those who actually read the books and know the character quite well over decades of reading do oppose sudden changes to the character for the sake of headline grabbing. It's those who push the agenda of "more queer superheroes" and "more diversity in comics" that are the ones who do not read the books, nor care about the character at all.

    It’s 2016. And this is an asked and answered question. We’re done with this.
    I really hate the "It's 2016" dismissal statement that gets thrown around in situations like this. Some things are allowed to be discussed. Once upon a time we were allowed to have different opinions on things and discuss them like civil human beings... But not anymore. It's 2016, and you better agree with the things I think the way I think about them or you're just wrong because it's 2016 and you're on the "wrong side of history" (Another dismissal statement that is used way too often btw)

      Was it really a sudden change though?

      I haven't been reading wonder woman for long, since it's several decades older than I am, but I'd noticed that the writers had definitely brushed against the topic many times.

      Prior to this "upheaval" I'd just assumed, based on the source for the mythology, that she was always this way.

      Kinda damned if you do and damned if you don't.

      By making things more diverse, you make things more realistic and allow for more complex characters.
      Problem is it doesn't matter what your reasoning is, be it genuine character building or an agenda, people will decide it is one or the other regardless.

        "By making things more diverse, you make things more realistic."
        No. Reality isn't as diverse as people would have you believe.

        "And allow for more complex characters."
        No. What seems to be happening now is we are defining people/characters by their sexuality or race. Rather than defining them for who they are as complex individuals.
        Take Iceman for example. He has, what, 60 years of legacy behind him? But all that is gone and forgotten now. Now, hes just the gay guy. Every story involving him the past year or two has been about him being gay.
        There is nothing wrong with a character being gay, but there is something wrong when being gay is all he is.

        And that's the direction Marvel and DC are taking now. Much more so Marvel.
        Theres nothing wrong with a black, female Iron(wo)man. But there is when that's all she is.

        Last issue of Spider-Man, Luke Cage says to Miles Morals (black spider-man) something like "Youre black, thats important." Implying: "Hey, you're spider-man, but you're the black spider-man." Making it out that that's all he is.
        About a year or two ago Miles Morals was complaining that he was being referred to as the black spider-man, saying that it didn't matter. That he is more than that.
        Then Marvel go and balls it up and make it about race.

        See what Im getting at?
        There is nothing wrong with diversity, but there is something wrong with it when that's all it is.

          Thank you so very much for saying what pretty much has been stewing in me about all these "diversity is good" discussions..

          The main focus should always be on the *characters* the characters should always be the focus and building up that character to someone you can relate, think about, care about... heck even hate as long as you feel something about the *character* not a *facet* of that character.

          This hyper focus on "diversity" basically means any "diverse" character gets so much coverage that they get snap judgements upon them so much now both for and against. And it's detrimental on so many levels. Mostly because this focus takes away on what could have been an interesting character and their growth.

          You want to "normalise" diversity? Stop putting it up on a pedestal when it happens because guess what.... that's what "normal" is... I mean lets look at the talking animal schtick it was a novelty back in the day but no one bats an eye anymore when its done on cartoons, comics and whatnot. It's no longer about that animal talking but about the character/personality of said animal.

          I see what you are saying, but you don't seem to understand what I'm saying.

          Firstly though, I'm sorry, nothing I said was wrong simply by identifying how something can be used in the wrong way.
          Diversity is realistic, it does allow deeper characters because it's simply allowing more possibilities.
          Yes, some people will use it for the wrong reasons as you mention, but I have seen your opinions used the wrong way also, unfairly imposed where it shouldn't because it inhabits the same sphere in one way or another.

          The result is what we have now, force and resistance.
          A dishonest back and forth that allows things to remain static.
          Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
          That's still my point.

          I see what you are saying because I see it myself, but I see the other side also.
          Not what "people would have me believe" but what I see and experience in the realities of every day life.

          I just refuse to pretend that things are black and white when they are so obviously not, it feels dishonest.
          (Not saying you are doing that yourself, just spoken from my own experience)

          Last edited 09/10/16 4:42 pm

          Ok you got me genuinely curious about the Iceman, I heard about gay relationship here.
          (Best I could say was "X-Men's Night" xD)

          I haven't been reading X-Men of late, have they really reduced him to just that? I mean I get relationships tend to encapsulate other spheres of a character, but has it got that bad?
          Does his character seriously get nothing else at all?

            Yep. Even to the point of his most recent outing to a gay night club to pick up a gay guy and all the awkwardness that comes with it. Then, picks up a gay guy who 'just happens to be' a gay Inhuman.
            Its all so forced and tacky.

      Sure, but what's the reasonable argument against her being bi? That it hasn't been explored properly before? That it's a product of an agenda rather than a logical conclusion for women living on an island of women? By all means, let's hash it out politely.

      @mase Wonder Woman has long been, at least, coded as queer, not to mention into bondage . I guess you missed all all the scenes where the fellow women of Paradise Island playfully tie her up in chains?

        Hasn't she been bi in-continuity for years? I remember when she started dating Nemesis they had a conversation mentioning that most of her relationships had been with women, and that scene took place before Final Crisis.

    'Its this year' is the stupidest god dam argument ever. So what if its 'this year'. People are allowed to have opinions. If anything, he is damaging DC's rep by saying that. Yes, all the queer community will be charring and so on, but so what? Really, why dose it matter? Whether she is or not is not the problem. The problem, to me, is that we are still living in a world where being bi or trans is a FASHION statement. That's whats going on right now. Its a fad. It will fade in time, and only people who really are theses things will be them.

    But right now, there are a LOT of pretenders out there fueling the stupidity and misconceptions of people who ARE trans, gay or bi. Its a problem because it makes the real QTBG's less than they are, and its a pain to see shit like this guy saying 'Its 2016' as if its something worth saying. It was started as a Meme, for god sake, and now we have people using it like it means something other than a joke? That in it self makes this guy unqualified to be talking about anything.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now