‘Suffering Sappho’ Calm Down Folks, Wonder Woman Has Always Been Bisexual…
You may have noticed that we spend a lot of our time here in Precinct1313’s legendary comic crypts discussing the awesome Amazon – Wonder Woman, in fact well over 50% of the articles emanating from these creative catacombs are about the Themysciran Titan, due to the fact that she is, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite comic-book character.
In the past few days we have received several PM’s from readers asking us for our opinion on the recent news that the venerable Princess of Themyscira is bisexual. Of course our quick answer to this question would be, “Great Hera, where have you been for the past 75 years, this is not new, Diana has always been bisexual”. It may have been implied more often than actually spoken out loud, but the signs were always there, both from her humble beginnings in the 1940’s (where, let’s be honest the allusions were so obvious, you’d have to be blind to miss them) to the actual Greek mythology that she originates from.
If you don’t necessarily closely follow the comic book scene, allow us to enlighten you on recent events that have led up to this, frankly ridiculous furore. DC Comics, that bastion of scintillating superheroes, recently softly rebooted it’s universe of characters with an event known as ‘Rebirth’.
This event has been a huge success for the company, thanks not only to fantastic storylines, great art and a reverence for their characters lengthy history, but also because they had actually listened to their fans, who had been very vocal over the direction the company had been taking the heroes and villains over the years, some missteps had been made, and Rebirth was their attempt to bring their much loved characters back to a time when their popularity soared like the Man of Steel himself.
In fact Rebirth has turned out to be the most popular and profitable event in comics since forever, with DC Comics currently holding a huge market share in the comic book industry and soundly trumping their closest rival Marvel month in and out, they are currently holding 44% share in total comics sold worldwide, with Marvel sitting at 32%.
And one of their biggest hits has been the Rebirth issues of our favourite Hellenic Herald. Wonder Woman: Rebirth has been getting rave reviews each and every issue, the storyline by sensational scribe Greg Rucka has been sublime, alternating each issue between her origin story and modern day adventures, with awe inspiring art from Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott making every issue a majestic masterpiece.
Greg Rucka has recently proclaimed that ‘Yes, Diana has had same sex relationships’, in an interview with Comicosity he stated – “It’s supposed to be paradise (her home island of Themyscira) You’re supposed to be able to live happily, in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner, to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship, and in this case the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say ‘you’re gay’ they don’t know the concept exists”
The link to the full interview is above and if you have the time, it’s an interesting read. The context has always been clear though, Diana, though her origin has changed slightly over the years (child of clay or daughter of Zeus) spent millennia on an isolated island populated by just women. She had never met a man, so it was obvious that she would have had same sex relations with other Amazons, as stated earlier, this was always implied, and in some cases (Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One being the most recent) was actually written about.
In the 1940’s when Wonder Woman was first unleashed onto the world, the suffragette movement was beginning to gain tract and Diana who emerged triumphantly from the mind of her creator William Moulton Marston was at the forefront of this. Marston specifically created a female superhero to counter the dominant male oriented comic book market, as strong and smart as her male counterparts but filled with compassion and love of nature and the world around her, basically a deeper more rounded creation than any of the male superheroes.
It was in fact Marston’s wife Elizabeth, and Olive Byrne (who lived with them, in an extended relationship) that inspired the creation of Diana. Marston was a psychologist as well as a writer, and it was through this that he determined that women overall were more honest than men in certain situations, and could work faster and more accurately.
In an interview in a 1943 issue of ‘The American Scholar’ Marston wrote – “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender and peace loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of perceived weakness. The answer was to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman, plus the allure of a good and beautiful woman”
Wonder Woman being bisexual doesn’t change the character in any way whatsoever, it has always been part of her make up, it’s her heritage and should have zero bearing on whether people derive enjoyment from her continuing tales of fortitude and heroism. DC Comics are not jumping on a bandwagon, they haven’t all of a sudden decided to make Diana bisexual to be hip and trendy, this is what she has always been. Wonder Woman is an extraordinarily important character, the original female Superhero, THE progenitor in her field, a shining example of inclusivity and empowerment and her sexual orientation should hold no relevance in this.