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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN: Renae De Liz Goes Deep Into the Character

THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN: Renae De Liz Goes Deep Into the Character

The Legend of Wonder Woman Volume 1: Origins collected edition hits stores on December 13, 2016 and it gives us a new look at Wonder Woman‘s background, from her time on Themiscyra and her mother’s tragic story, to her time in Man’s World. Though it has a dream-like quality, there are definitely some darker themes about parental expectations and the nature of duty. The story and pencils are from Renae De Liz, with ink, colors and letters by Ray Dillon. We recently got a chance to chat with De Liz about her approach to the character, the history that informed the story, choosing to give Hippolyta such a dark thread and how Etta Candy is essential to telling this story.

De Liz spoke about rooting Wonder Woman in an existing mythos but not making her feel bound to it. She said, “I wanted her to still have countless adventures anywhere and have it feel right, be it an adventure on Themyscira, or a journey across the universe to the Green Lantern Corps’ headquarters. To do that, I tied Greek myth, DC lore, and real universal theories so Wonder Woman’s placement made sense to go just about anywhere. However, I did quite a bit of research on the Amazons, Gaea, Hercules, and Theseus, as they play big roles in Diana, Hippolyta, and Alcippe’s history.”

Hippolyta is a tragic figure this time around. De Liz explained, “My favorite thing about Hippolyta is that she was the original Wonder Woman way back in the days of Greek Myth. She gathered a nation of women to fight for their peace and freedom in a time that was far more volatile, then went on to lead them for thousands of years. She is tough beyond measure and has the wisdom of eons. I feel she is tragic, yet triumphant. Her indomitable perseverance to always continue on through it and fight harder is what makes her truly powerful.

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“She is not perfect, however, which is important. Once Diana is born thousands of years into Hippolyta’s existence, motherhood still throws her for a loop (which I think it what would really happen…parenting is hard!).  She makes mistakes as a mother, mistakes as a sister and Queen, despite her strength and wisdom. And yet she continues on to always fight harder. That is the iron core that Diana inherits most from Hippolyta.”

De Liz spoke about why Wonder Woman is such an icon. “I believe it’s because Wonder Woman is the only female superhero, or character of any kind, that so purely symbolizes the strength of women,” she said, “and the endeavor to fight for equality for all. She was born out of that feminist struggle, and has stood for those important messages for 75 years, and that history is something not easily replicated by others.”

De Liz had to strike a balance, however, between the importance of Wonder Woman as a feminist icon and making her “too perfect.” She explained, “Wonder Woman is an icon of so many important purposes and messages, creators must toe a lot of boundaries with heightened precaution because of the potentially volatile situation surrounding feminism. This can easily overshadow Diana’s character and personality and cause her to be written as absolutely perfect, or an avenue to push messages in a way that (I feel) lessens the potency of the good Wonder Woman can do with her stories.”

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Many races are represented in Themyscira, and that was important to De Liz. “Many view the Amazons as the best and strongest example of how a society of women can be (or society of any type),” she told us. “A utopia. But to me, you cannot be the best without people of all ages, shapes, races, and orientations. And while the Amazons can fight, incredibly well I might add, the strength of the sword is nothing in the place of the understanding, cooperation, and love needed to run a truly utopian society where not everyone is alike. I wanted every woman to see herself reflected in Amazon society. The best of women should not take only one color or shape.”

Etta Candy was another part of De Liz’s efforts to make sure all women see themselves in this book. “I wanted her to be an example of how a woman doesn’t need to be shaped a certain way to be brave, intelligent, and stand up for what’s right. And while I wish for a world where physical appeal didn’t matter, it was important Etta be portrayed as attractive and admired for her beauty, because women of size are almost never portrayed that way. Working on expanding that narrow definition of beauty in society is the first step in the broader fight against the harsh standards girls and women are held to that lead to so many issues, such as eating disorders.” She explained that she’s been missing from past Wonder Woman stories and felt that it robbed Diana of her fun side.

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In terms of where she’s taking the character next, De Liz said, “I’m right now working on LWW Volume 2, which is the next chapter for Diana beyond her origin. She’s now accepted her new role as Wonder Woman, but still struggles with trying to find her place beyond the hero in her new world.”

Have you guys been reading The Legend of Wonder Woman? What do you think? Tweet me/us @JennaBusch/@Nerdist with your thoughts and check out the trailer below!

Image credit: DC Comics

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