In Diana: Princess of the Amazons, writers Shannon Hale and Dean Hale and artist Victoria Ying tell the story of an 11-year-old Diana before she was Wonder Woman. It turns out Themyscira can be a pretty lonely place when you’re the only kid around, and longing for a friend of her own, Diana soon takes matters into her own hands. But when things take a surprising turn, she learns that when you literally make new friends, you should be very careful what you wish for.
DC Nation talked to Shannon Hale and Dean Hale—the team behind the Rapunzel's Revenge and Princess in Black book series—about Diana: Princess of the Amazons, the latest DC graphic novel for kids, and what young Diana has in common with the adult Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman obviously means a lot to people of all ages all over the world. What was important to you in telling a story for young readers with the character?
Shannon Hale: Wonder Woman is obviously aspirational. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid running around in Wonder Woman underoos until now as I drive my mom minivan with a large gold Wonder Woman emblem on hood. I love graphic novels in general and have seen what a huge difference graphic novels have made in turning so many kids into readers. So, a graphic novel for young readers starring a young Wonder Woman? Win-win!
Dean Hale: I wanted young readers to be able to see themselves in Diana, all the while knowing who she grows up to be. That maybe they could see greatness in themselves and who they might eventually become too.
What qualities does the 11-year-old Diana share with the adult Wonder Woman? And in what important ways is she different?
Shannon Hale: It was important to us that 11-year-old Diana is a kid. She’s not yet fully formed, she’s still trying figure stuff out and she makes mistakes. But the heart of who she’ll become is there: her generous spirit, her love for her family and Themyscira, her driving sense of right and wrong and passion for justice.
Dean Hale: What Shannon said. The traits that make her a hero are all there, but unrefined and mostly unchallenged. I feel like this story gives us one of those earlier refining moments.
Victoria Ying’s art is compelling and, frankly, adorable. What do you love about how she brought this story to life?
Shannon Hale: I love how expressive her characters are! Diana feels so many different things and you know exactly how she’s feeling, every panel. And Victoria was gung-ho to draw kangas! She’s the best.
Dean Hale: Victoria is awesome. She pulled off fun, emotion, action and cute in a way I didn’t think was possible. Just what the story needed. Also, KANGAS.
Beyond Wonder Woman, how did you approach adapting the rest of the world of Themyscira for this story?
Shannon Hale: Since we’re telling this story from the point-of-view of a child, we really tried to see it in a new way—the way a kid would see it. That’s a very unique perspective on Themyscira, where everyone is an ageless adult. Young Diana will love aspects of it that adults don’t even notice and also feel the loneliness of being the only kid in the world.
Dean Hale: Yes! Being able to show such an iconic place in the DC Universe from the point of view of someone who is, in many ways, both an insider and an outsider. That duality is super-interesting to me and creates a kind of conflict that I think is great for stories.