Hi! I never once got the impression that you were attacking me, nor did I feel that way about the previous individuals who asked my thoughts on the DCCU. Always feel free to ask, though I do apologise if I don’t always give in-depth responses since I’m usually tired at the end of the day. :P

But to answer your question, the reason the daughter of Zeus origin doesn’t work for me is that it (a) lacks originality, and (b) it takes away the feminist aspect of her origin by making it a lot less female-centric. What was very significant about Diana’s clay baby origin is that the story was centred on a queen desiring a child of her own and praying to the Greek gods for that miracle in her life. Then, in true Greek myth fashion, Queen Hippolyta got her wish after she sculpted a baby out of clay and the Greek gods turned that clay baby into real baby for her. Not only was Queen Hippolyta the sole parent of this baby girl and was granted her wish of motherhood, but Diana was also the daughter of all of Themyscira having been equally raised by her Amazonian sisters. I loved that Diana’s original origin was exclusively about celebrating femininity, and in particular, motherhood and female relationships. Her New 52 origin does not accomplish that same goal. 

By making her the daughter of Zeus, writers effectively bring a man into her narrative where none existed before, effectively disempowering its feminist foundation since it wholly repurposes Queen Hippolyta’s motivations for becoming a mother. It’s also—as I said earlier—less original since this is literally the origin story of many Greek characters, including other Greek gods, therefore making it far less interesting. The fact that Zeus is the shagger god of Greek mythology notorious for impregnating various women (not always consensually), and the women themselves are always punished by his wife Hera for the actions of her husband, this origin effectively introduces patriarchy into the narrative of a character that originally existed completely independent of it. 

While it is still possible to characterise Diana as the feminist icon we know her for—as an ambassador for equal rights and peace—unfortunately, her origin would still not be feminist for exactly the reasons I listed above. This is of course, not getting into how the Amazons themselves were written as rapists and murderers of men, which is a whole other discussion in itself.   

Not going to lie, I was blown away by your answer. I never considered giving Hel a chance because I didn't think Earth-2 was worth a read(keeping up with comics is hard for me so I wanted to stick to one universe/earth) but I will definitely be checking out Earth-2(New 52 because I don't know where to find pre-crisis stuff without paying so much) but thank you, I was oblivious to most of that until now. Have a great night [: I'll keep you updated when I read(if that's no problem!)
Anonymous

You can actually find a lot of the pre-Crisis Earth-2 stuff on Comixology and it’s not very expensive. :)

Here’s an incomplete list of ones you can buy on Comixology that feature Helena Wayne:

1. Adventure Comics (Issues #461-466) - Pre-Crisis
2. Justice League of America (Issues #183-185) - Pre-Crisis
3. Infinity Inc (Issues #1-12) - Pre-Crisis
4. Wonder Woman (#291-293) - Pre-Crisis
5. Crisis on Infinite Earths (All Issues) - Pre-Crisis
6. JSA: Classified (Issue #4) - Post-Crisis
7. Infinite Crisis (Issue #3) - Post-Crisis
8. Justice Society of America (Annual #1 and #20) - Post-Crisis
9. Superman/Batman (Issue #27) - Post-Crisis

It’s harder to trackdown Helena Wayne’s solo stories from the pre-Crisis era since most (especially Joey Cavalieri’s run) haven’t been reprinted, but all of Paul Levitz’ first run of her solo stories can be found in the Huntress: Darknight Daughter trade paperback.

With Infinite Crisis, I’d recommend reading the entire six issue miniseries, and I’d also recommend reading JSA: Classified #1-4 since it revisits Power Girl’s pre-Crisis origin, including her friendship with Helena Wayne. We also see how she reacts to the post-Crisis Helena Bertinelli whom she mistakes for Helena Wayne.

As a bonus you can get all of Power Girl’s first appearances on Comixology as well:

1. All-Star Comics (Issues #58-67) - Pre-Crisis

Hopefully this is enough to get you started. :)

Why do you love Helena Wayne so much? What about her sets her apart from other heroes?
Anonymous

Hmm..well. The first obvious answer to this question is the fact that she is the adult daughter of my unsinkable DC ship (one of them anyway), Bruce and Selina. That alone was enough to entice me to at least check her out, see if I like her. Needless to say she didn’t disappoint!

The other thing that appealed to me about her is the fact that she is a woman who is the biological child of a very iconic DC couple and part of a very rich legacy. Considering how much of a ‘boys club’ the Batman family tends to be in nearly every case, it was very refreshing to see a woman and not a man continue a legacy that was started by a character viewed by many as the ‘ultimate male power fantasy.’ 

The rest of the love I came to have for the character was acquired after I familiarised myself with her. 

The first story I read with her was the Justice Society Annual #1 from 2008 written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jerry Ordway. Right away one of the first things that stood out to me was that she was best friends with Power Girl, whom I learnt in that same issue was the Earth-2 version of Kara Zor-El, or the more iconic Supergirl. That to me was pretty cool! But then, as I read on, I really loved the depth with which Geoff Johns had written both characters, and I really loved the way Jerry Ordway brought out the emotional aspects of both characters to life on page. I was immediately drawn the chemistry these two women shared, and specifically the very strong bond that they shared. That to me was a pretty big deal. 

From there, I just I wanted to read more about these two characters. So I started collecting every trade and comic I could get ahold of with these two characters (namely from the pre-Crisis era) and started learning more about them. With Helena Wayne in particular, I loved the fact that she was the #1 ranking Harvard Graduate with a law degree, and I really loved seeing her as a lawyer who excelled at her job. I also loved that in addition to being a badass lawyer, she was also a pretty badass heroine as well.

What really stood out to me about that last part is that despite being Batman and Catwoman’s daughter, she didn’t choose to become either Batwoman or Catwoman II, she actually chose a different name for herself. She created a costume that honoured her heritage, but also allowed her to standout as a heroine of her own standing. She continued a legacy that was started by her parents, but also started one of her own as the Huntress. That too was a big deal to me.

On the development side, I loved the fact that she had her own narrative, along with her own love interest (even if I didn’t like him), and she was in fact given her own unique personality that was different from that of her parents. Sure, she was very smart like both of them, she inherited her father’s detective skills, her mum’s ability to pick locks, and even inherited her mum’s attitude, as well as her dad’s staunch commitment to justice. But she also had quirks that were unique to herself. What other DCU heroine can you name that would bake a soufflé in her superhero costume? What other heroine can you name that would drink wine with chocolate chip cookies while investigating a case? What other DCU heroine can you name that would actually eat a stale sfogliatella that was left sitting on a desk while hacking a police computer?

In addition to being a quirky, optimistic young woman who was very self-confident, she also had weaknesses of her own. Despite feeling fortunate to have such cool parents like Bruce and Selina, she also often worried about how knowing their secrets would negatively affect her. Knowing the tremendous power that she had possessing the kinds of skills that she had, she did at one point start worry that she would one day take it too far. And indeed, she did start taking her crime-fighting too far.

Following her last encounter with her villain, Edgar Stenville (later known as the Crime Lord), who really pushed her limits to the point of her contemplating killing, she never really came back from that. Following that encounter with the Crime Lord (which was also Paul Levitz’ last story before Joey Cavalieri took over), she became really brusque in the way that she fought. She became more aggressive in her fighting style, less tolerant with criminals, and got angrier and more withdrawn as she got older. When she thought she beat a bank robber to death, she started thinking about the kinds of choices she was making as a heroine, and even started seeing a therapist when she started feeling her darker side emerge. Contrary to popular fan opinion, the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne was a pretty nuanced and well-developed character.

Lastly, I loved the fact that she was a feminist character in every sense of the word. Not only was she explicitly aware of women’s issues in narrative to the point where it would at times be a major motivation factor in the kinds of cases she would take, but she was even developed in ways that were feminist. For example, she was written as a very capable heroine who could go toe-to-toe with Batman, and was often seen single-handedly rescuing men and women from danger. Occasional cheesecake aside, she was actually presented in a way that treated her with respect and was drawn with a natural-looking body. 

All of that taken into account, the thing that sets Helena Wayne apart from other DC Universe heroines is the fact that she best represents my power fantasies as a woman. While I still love the fact that she is the daughter of one of my favourite DC ships and has an awesome friendship with Power Girl, she is definitely so much more than that. I do strongly feel that the character deserves way better than what she’s gotten from her own publisher in the last two, nearly three decades. She does, in my opinion, deserve to be treated with more respect than she currently gets.

New 52 Female Characters Question, Please!

gailsimone:

Okay, I know we all miss a lot of pre-new52 characters, especially benched ones, but if we could just talk for one minute about the new ones.

Can you tell me the female characters, heroes and anti-heroes in particular, that have appeared in the New52 that you LIKE, LOVE, or feel have great potential, at least?

I am curious for reasons, but I am just wondering who, in the last couple years, has intrigued or interested or compelled you in some way, even if their role was small.

If the character is obscure, please let me know where they have appeared, I don’t need issue numbers, just what title they were in, cool?

EDITED TO ADD: The characters do not have to be NEW, just that they have at least appeared in the new52 and identify as female, okay?

Thank you!

For me the main draw of the New 52 was reuniting Helena Wayne (the Huntress) with Power Girl since they’ve always had a very strong chemistry together in past continuities. Enough to say that it was often difficult for me to read Power Girl as a solo act post-Crisis because Helena had always been such an important person in her life. 

I also feel that they both have so much potential to have their story further explored and developed, which is what I’ve been wanting to see since they both made their New 52 debut. I want to know why these two women are friends, why they are specifically drawn to each other the way they are, and just as important, I want to see them form other relationships as well while still being a part of each other’s lives.

Obviously for me, it’s been a huge disappointment that these two women have been so under-utilised across two universes (and are being squandered on bad writing on top of that), but I do hope this changes in the future and they get better narratives as time goes on. 

I just hope that these two women won’t be separated again as either a consequence of Earth-2: World’s End or in any attempt to ‘relive’ Crisis on Infinite Earths which involved both a dead Supergirl and later a dead Huntress. (Maybe I should emphasise I very much don’t want to relive that experience all over again. Once was enough).

Questions

I got some interesting questions in my inbox the last 24 hours.

Just as a heads up, I had a workload dumped on me this week, so I apologise in advance for not responding to you guys sooner. Unfortunately I won’t be getting to your questions until Saturday when I actually have some free time. :(

If you’d like, you can still send any questions you have, just know that I’ll only be able to answer then over the weekend.

Thanks in advance!

REALLY COOL questions about comic books

haaaaaaaaaaytham:

1. marvel or dc?? why?
2. favorite male character?
3. favorite female character?
4. would you rather be an xmen or avenger?
5. what would your mutant superpower be?
6. would you want to live in a universe where superheros/villains existed?
7. who do you think has the coolest superpower?
8. favorite story arc?
9. what would you do if you had a superpower? would you keep it to yourself?
10. who would win in a 1v1 fight: iron man or captain america?
11. which character do you wish didn’t exist?
12. favorite villain?
13. favorite extraterrestrial character? (ie. superman, thor)
14. lamest superpower?
15. which character do you think should get a movie? (besides hawkeye and wonder woman bc literally everyone wants that)
16. worst outfit ever?
17. favorite comic book artist?
18. favorite writer?
19. what would you say to stan lee if you met him?

Do you believe rape, be the victim male or female, should ever be used in stories? Even if simply in someone's back-story? If the answer is yes, how would you write it? How would you handle it?
Anonymous

I think, as a writer, if you’re planning on using rape as part of a character’s origin story, it is important to consider why you want to use it in the first place. To start with, it’s important to acknowledge that rape along with other forms of sexual violence are crimes that don’t get taken seriously enough by society and the justice system at large, and should therefore never be presented in ways that trivialise it. This is, unfortunately, a mistake that many writers make.

A lot of times when writers use rape in fiction, it is either done to disempower women and serve as a catalyst provokes another (usually male) character into action, or it is done to provide a woman character with a traumatic event that’s unique to her gender that motivates her into becoming the person she inevitably becomes. In the case of men being raped by women in fiction, it is often presented in a way that depicts female sexuality as ‘animalistic’ and something that the man ‘should enjoy’ because he’s being raped by a ‘hot babe.’ In the case of men raping other men, it is still presented as ‘animalistic’ and ‘pleasurable.’ All four cases trivialise and normalise rape culture, as well as completely dehumanise the victims in the narrative.

All that into consideration, it is especially important to take into account the message you are sending by using rape in your narrative and the attitudes you can potentially influence in the process. In particular, you need to consider the ramifications that using rape as a plot device can have on your readers, some of which can include victims of rape which can produce triggers. 

Questions to consider when you write:

  1. Do I have something important to say about the reality of sexual violence as a real problem that needs to end, and the consequences it has for its victims?
  2. Does my character—who is the victim—have agency in their own narrative and do they have a voice?
  3. Is the reason I want to use rape in my story is to function as a plot device that both shocks the reader and motivates my main character? Or so that the character can address the realities of sexual violence and bust the myths that surround it?
  4. Is my character going to be depicted dealing with the aftermath and doing what they have to to recover from it?

In all cases, it’s best to avoid using rape for shock value since it once again dehumanises the victim and trivialises the problem. If you yourself are not a victim of sexual violence, it is important to do research on the topic and understand the problem from the victim’s perspective as well as the context with which rape actually occurs. A lot of times it’s easy to reinforce myths about rape, which is exactly what you DON’T want to do. 

So, to answer your question, I think rape can be used in narratives, but how and why it is used is very important to consider. 

Do you think that Connor Hawke could fit into a rebooted Infinity Inc. series?
Anonymous

If he was still the son of Oliver Queen (who did originally exist on Earth-2), actually resembled the character from the post-Crisis continuity (as opposed to a Roy Harper look-a-like), and the JSA members were still old enough to have adult children, I think he would fit in quite nicely.

That being said, I honestly wouldn’t be interested in a New 52 Infinity Inc series. Outside of the second generation Trinity (Huntress, Power Girl, Fury) who were also members, none of the original cast members are in existence. There’s really no point in having an Infinity Inc if the members are not comprised of the children of the JSA members. We still don’t even have a Justice Society as we speak.

At the time of Helena's blasphemous demise in CIE, she was in her very late 20's or early 30's. I'm sure she was into music, into whatever was in during the early to mid 80's. As a bonafide expert on all things of one of my favorite heroes, what artists and songs do you think she would have had on a mix tape or in her record collection? And just for fun, what do you think was hers and Harry's song? The 80's forever!

I was told by another fan who read the established Crisis timeline DC published that she was 27 years old (same age as me) when she died. :’( 

(I do, however, tell myself that the version of her that appeared in the post-Crisis JSA was at least 30).

That said, I think the pre-Crisis Helena was very much a woman of her times and listened to whatever was new and contemporary. Since she originally grew up in the 1960s-1970s and had a normal upbringing at the time, I imagine she spent a lot of time listening to Simon and Garfunkel, David Bowie, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Queen, etc, just to annoy her parents. At least this would be true for teenage Helena I imagine. Then throw in some Disco queens like Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, and Patti LaBelle and she’d be complete in shocking her parents with her tastes in music. (We all know what songs some of these artists are famous for. Like this one from Patti Labelle) :)

For adult Helena, I think should be more diverse in her music tastes and would listen to anything that fits her mood. Whether that’d be an old Carpenters album or an artist more associated with the 1980s like Madonna, Paula Abdul, or Janet Jackson.

I still think her’s and Harry’s song would’ve been Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears. At least, I imagine Harry thinking of her whenever he hears this song cause he was always frequently frustrated with her double life as the Huntress. (I still think she deserved better than that lad, though).

And just for fun, because the New 52 is a new ‘dark and edgy’ universe, I imagine she’s a Lacuna Coil fan these days. The majority of their song lyrics are certainly a perfect match for Helena’s ‘edgy new’ personality. I’d throw in Epica, After Forever, and Tarja Turunen for good measure. :P

Have you seen floresfabrications? It's a tumblr of a great Huntress cosplayer whose little brother dresses as Damian? Check it out if you haven't : ) Cheers, geoff

We follow each other’s Tumblrs. :)

I do agree that floresfabrications does amazing cosplay and she’s very nice to people. I did actually refer someone to her at one point when I was asked to give cosplay advice. I feel she’s more qualified to do that than I am seeing as I’ve never made a costume in my entire life, lol. :x

Now any questions on art, graphics, web development, science, and data analysis, I can answer those since those are my specific trades! ;)