Wonder Woman has always been popular. But with a new movie on its way, interest in the Amazon heroine is higher than ever before, particularly among people who don’t read comics. It’s easy to understand why. Unlike Superman or Batman, not only has Wonder Woman never before appeared on the big screen, but her story isn’t as well known. It’s arguable whether Diana has a definitive origin story, but even if she does—most people don’t know it. Among casual fans, Wonder Woman is instantly recognizable, but many people would be hard pressed to say what her powers are, probably because those powers have often varied over time.
In short, there’s a good reason why people are newly curious about this 75-year-old hero, and many of them may be open to reading a Wonder Woman comic this holiday season. If that sounds like anyone you know, we have a few suggestions about which comic they may most enjoy. The important thing to remember is that if these are new readers, then you’ll want to make sure you get them something new-reader friendly. And for Wonder Woman, 2016 is a great year for that.
This year, there are three new Wonder Woman graphic novels on shelves this holiday season that are tailor made for new readers. Any of them would make a great gift. However, they’re all quite different, so you’ll want to consider who the person is you’re shopping for.
For the YA and Fantasy Fans
Written and drawn by Renae de Liz, the artist behind Womanthology and the acclaimed comic adaptations of The Last Unicorn and Peter Pan, THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN is a new nine-chapter miniseries that retells Wonder Woman’s origin and entry into the world of man in an exciting new way. Leaning heavily on—and benefitting greatly from—de Liz’s considerable skill with fantasy, The Legend of Wonder Woman at times reads like a hybrid of Hayao Miyazaki, Tamora Pierce and George Perez, offering a complex, yet all-ages friendly take on the Amazon warrior. Set largely during World War II, it also offers a bit of alt-history that seems almost possible. Well, as possible as an alternative history featuring a red-white-and-blue super heroine bestowed with the power of Greek gods can be.
Aided in no small part by inker/colorist Ray Dillan, de Liz’s art looks absolutely gorgeous, coming off as enticing and lush during the story’s Paradise Island sequences, and gritty and cold when the action moves to the European battlefront. It’s hard to imagine someone not falling in love with the medium if this is someone’s first exposure to it. Plus, try not to cheer when the Invisible Jet makes its first appearance. Just try!
For People Who Need Proof that Comics Aren’t Always for Kids
The “Earth One” series of graphic novels are always great choices for new or casual readers uninterested in getting involved in a universe’s worth of continuity, and WONDER WOMAN EARTH ONE is no different. Written by Grant Morrison (THE MULTIVERSITY, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) and drawn by Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING), this buzzworthy graphic novel made a splash last spring when it landed on bookstore shelves shortly after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Like The Legend of Wonder Woman, Earth One is something of an origin story. But that’s where the similarities end. Drawing heavily from Wonder Woman’s comic book history, Morrison restores many of Diana’s more provocative themes, including bondage, and uses them to tell a story that lays bare today’s struggle between the sexes. While Wonder Woman Earth One contains plenty of action and fantasy, it seems more concerned with bringing Diana’s role as a feminist icon to narrative life.
As for Paquette’s art, it’s all vividly rendered in warm, lush colors that really bring out the paradise in Paradise Island. Pages are often broken down in ways that resemble ancient Grecian art, with many panels broken up by Diana’s signature lasso. In short, it’s a book that looks as unique as it reads and a great choice for anyone who enjoys entertainment that’s not afraid to be a little provocative.
For Lovers of Fairy Tales, Myths and Coming of Age Stories
Of the three books discussed here, WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON may just take the biggest risk of the three—it presents a Wonder Woman who isn’t just unheroic, she’s flat-out unlikeable. Set early in Diana’s life, The True Amazon follows Diana as she grows up as Themyscira’s only child and princess, getting so caught up in all of the fawning, compliments and overall mythology surrounding herself that she becomes spoiled and big-headed. Wonder Woman’s biggest struggle here isn’t with a super-villain, but with her own hubris.
Of course, if you think Diana’s heading for a hard lesson, you’d be absolutely right. Written and drawn by Jill Thompson, the legendary SANDMAN artist and creator of Scary Godmother, The True Amazon reads like a myth or fairy tale, complete with almost lyrical narration and a potent message. It draws more heavily from Diana’s Greek roots than either of the other graphic novels, and as it’s set entirely on Themyscira, it maintains its mythic tone throughout the entire story.
Visually, the book looks unlike anything else DC published this year. Rendered completely in watercolor, it’s true to Thompson’s unique visual style, which is far removed from the traditional superhero style found in most of DC’s books. In fact, much of what’s to be found in The True Amazon is pretty different than what you’re accustomed to seeing in a Wonder Woman comic, making this not only a great first comic for readers curious about Wonder Woman, but an essential book for longtime readers who think they’ve seen it all when it comes to Diana as well.
WONDER WOMAN EARTH ONE and WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON are now available at bookstores, digital retailers and comic shops. THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN will be available in hardcover on December 7, 2016.
Holiday shopping driving you batty? Look for more DCComics.com articles and DC All Access videos suggesting great geeky gifts for the DC and comic book fans in your lives, all holiday season long!