Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver
Wonder Woman may not be your first thought when someone mentions online Amazons, but that’s about to change. Today marks the release of the first chapter of the eagerly awaited SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN, a brand new, digital first comic that features standalone, out of continuity Wonder Woman tales told by some of the most talented men and women in comics. Some of these creators have worked on Wonder Woman before, others are brand new to her world, but in either case working on this new series boils down to one thing—if you had one chance to tell a Wonder Woman story, what would it be?
Answering that question first is a creative team that’s very familiar to fans of DC Comics, Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver. Gail, of course, has written Wonder Woman in the past. She had an extremely successful run on the comic that spanned from 2007 to 2010. However, this was the first tale drawn by Ethan focusing on Wonder Woman. We were curious about their story, why they decided on this particular take, and what the character means to them as artists and fans. Fortunately, they were gracious enough to help sate that curiosity with a little interview…
Gail, you’ve written Wonder Woman before. Was this a story you never had a chance to tell? Or was it something conceived entirely for Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman? How did it come about?
Gail Simone: It’s a story that was conceived entirely for Sensation Comics. Ethan and I got together up front and talked about what we wanted to do. It’s a pretty open project. We were told we could do anything, so we went back and forth on a few ideas and the one that Ethan and I both liked was Wonder Woman in Gotham.
As soon as it came up, I just thought about how amazing Ethan’s art would be for a story like that, and it does look amazing!
Without giving too much of the story away, can you tell us a little about it? I’m assuming she runs into Batman…
GS: She doesn’t run into Batman! What happens is Batman is out of commission, and of course without Batman, the villains are pretty much going to do whatever they want. Oracle sees that this is a problem, and she tries to figure out who she can call to come in and help while he’s gone. Of course, ultimately she decides on calling in Wonder Woman.
Ethan, is this your first time drawing a full Wonder Woman story?
Ethan Van Sciver: Yes, this is my first time. I’ve drawn Wonder Woman several times over my career at DC, but I always wanted to do a complete Wonder Woman story. I couldn’t have gotten a better opportunity with Sensation Comics than with Gail.
I know that Sensation writers and artists are given a lot of freedom regarding Wonder Woman’s look and even the era her story is set in. Ethan, did you work with Gail on deciding which costume to use or was that largely left up to you? Why did you go with this particular look?
EVS: It was more or less left up to me, but my instincts said that I was probably best off thinking of this as an issue from Gail Simone’s run. So I drew the Wonder Woman of her time on the book.
Really, had I given it more thought and we talked about doing something different, I would’ve loved to have drawn Wonder Woman in the 1940s or the current Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman period. I’m just a big fan, full stop. But this to me just felt like an extra issue from Gail’s magnificent Wonder Woman run, and I got to draw it.
Gail, on a personal level, how important is Wonder Woman to you? It’s clear you’re a huge fan.
She’s extremely important to me as a character. Diana and Barbara Gordon are the characters that brought me into comics when I was a kid. But my lasting relationship with Wonder Woman is just the appreciation of having a character like her who’s proactive. She has her own agency, she goes out and has her own adventures and her own stories. She’s not a sidekick. Her adventures aren’t pressed upon her. That is really important as a female reader—and I think male reader as well. But also as a writer, it’s really great to have a character like her that’s so strong, and that has her own way of doing things. Working with that within the story is just an absolute joy. It’s important to be able to tell these amazing stories where we have a character that has compassion as well as strength and the ability to bring justice.
Considering how much the character means to so many people, do you feel a certain level of pressure when writing or drawing her?
EVS: No, because I think she means just as much to me as she does to everyone else. She has been in my life since I was a very small child and I watched the Wonder Woman TV show religiously and saw Wonder Woman on Super Friends. I’ve always read her comic. So even though I may have different ideas about Wonder Woman than other creators, I feel like my vision of her is just as valid, and it’s really just a matter of putting the Wonder Woman that exists in my imagination on paper.
Honestly, it’s effortless. It’s not really that difficult because she’s so fully realized in my imagination.
GS: I don’t feel that kind of pressure either because I think of it more as a joy, privilege and honor to be able to write these stories. What I really loved about working with Ethan on this is that he is one of the artists who has the same respect for the character that I do. You can really see that in the story, the fact that he can get her kindness and compassion, and also the warrior and anger, all at once. That’s really a trick, artistically, and he does it just amazingly well. When you look at it—that’s Diana.
Finally, we’ve been talking a lot about Batman this year, but Wonder Woman has been around for generations as well. Why do you feel she’s remained so relevant and important to so many fans?
EVS: Well, to me, she is the first lady of super hero comics. I think if anybody is to name a female super hero, they’re going to say Wonder Woman, first and foremost. She exemplifies what it means to be a hero in the same way that Superman does. The great thing about Superman and Wonder Woman is that as heroes, they represent ideals that we wish we could attain. Wonder Woman certainly is.
GS: I think she’s the whole package. She’s the things that Ethan said, but she also inspires people. I’ve traveled a lot around the world, and I was doing a lot of traveling while writing Wonder Woman. I saw how people in other countries would respond to her compared to people in America. There are a lot of similarities, but there’s something even deeper there. I think that anyone who has ever felt repressed or helpless in any way, Wonder Woman becomes their inspiration to get out of that. I think that’s a really powerful symbol on top of all of the surface stuff.
I think there’s something deeply rooted in her character. I’ve heard story after story about how Wonder Woman and her comics helped people get out of an abusive relationship or fight their cancer, things like that. I think her character in particular has really grown beyond the company who owns her or anyone who writes, draws or films her.
EVS: She seems like she’s your friend. Differently than say Batman or Green Lantern, Wonder Woman feels like she’s your friend.
GS: It’s that compassion that she has, really. People feel like they can get close to her.
Be sure to get your daily dose of Diana by downloading Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver today in the DC Comics Digital Store.
And we’re just getting started! Here’s who we have lined up for the next several digital installments…
CHAPTER #2: GAIL SIMONE AND ETHAN VAN SCIVER (8/20)
CHAPTER #3: AMANDA DEIBERT AND CAT STAGGS (8/27)
CHAPTER #4: JASON BISCHOFF AND DAVID WILLIAMS (9/3)
CHAPTERS #5 & #6: IVAN COHEN AND MARCUS TO (9/10 & 9/17)
Finally, if you prefer to wait for print, SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #1 will be in comic stores everywhere on August 20th!