Friday, April 21, 2006

Fears Allayed

Newsarama has posted an interview with Terry Dodson, in which he talks about pencilling the new Wonder Woman.

Allan Heinberg, the writer on the book, made some comments in an earlier interview which made me fear that perhaps the title might descend into unrelenting cheesecakery. I'm pleased to say that my concern has pretty much been dispelled by Dodson's description of how he is approaching the character.

Choice excerpts:
TD: The things I really went for were strength and beauty. Attractive. Powerful. Noble. Godlike. Yet, we want to show her being human too, because you can come across kind of cold with those other aspects played up. Something we’re trying to avoid is making her overtly sexy. We wanted her attractive, but not overtly sexy.

Something that I’ve worked out costume-wise in that regard is making her briefs not as brief, taking them away from the high-rise bikini to more of a brief. I’ve also made the part of her upper costume, which covers her chest, larger, and I’ve made the symbol across her chest bigger to cover up more over her cleavage. All of those I did because she’s a noble person, but she is walking around in a very small outfit, so it has to be balanced. It’s just minor things, but I’d like to think that there’s a little more sense of her nobility coming through because of them.

Also, something else I want to on occasion is to put a cape on her. I think that’s a really good look for her. It gets clumsy when she’s fighting, but for public appearances, I think it really gives her a regal look. That and giving her more hair, because when the cape isn’t there, her hair can act like a cape. It won’t be a ridiculous length, but as a design element, to make sure it has some of the same effect that a cape has. It also covers her up a little bit.

Those little things, I think, will help make a difference.

NRAMA: Speaking of the minor changes you’re making, while Wonder Woman has nobility and a regal nature, she’s also wearing, effectively, a bathing suit everywhere, which seems to come across as a contradiction. However, she has to wear it, given her status as a licensable property and corporate symbol. Do the two sides of that coin ever strike you when you’re drawing her, that is, “make her noble, regal, powerful, and a role model for girls and women, but put her in a bathing suit”?

TD: You do what you can. Basically, as you said, Wonder Woman is a corporate entity, so you can only make so many changes, and there are certain things that you’re tied to. So you adapt and work with what you can. A lot of it too, can be dealt with by poses and angles. It’s the way you chose to portray the character – even if she’s not wearing a lot of stuff, you can at least portray her in ways that are much more appealing to people. As an artist, you may be stuck with the outfit, but that doesn’t mean good taste doesn’t enter into the equation. There are ways to do it, and portray it in a way that conveys the positive aspects of the character without giving in to the…dark side.

You just have to remember who you’re drawing and what she’s all about, and come into it with a healthy respect for the character. It’s so easy to go cheesecake and overtly sexy – but you can draw beautiful and powerful without [being] overtly sexual.

Is it bad of me that the shot I like the best is of Diana beating up on someone?
Nah, it's cool. Looks like perhaps she and Wonder Girl have a little "disagreement" in that panel.
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