Wonder Woman? Oh, brother!

Wonder Woman #31James Robinson is an incredible writer. And yet placing him on Wonder Woman for a six-issue arc focused on Wonder Woman’s brother is incredibly tone-deaf. I certainly understand the bind DC’s editorial department finds itself within. Fan favorite Greg Rucka has left the company to pursue creator-owned work. That leaves an open slot for a writer on Wonder Woman. And James Robinson is a writer whose strength resides in crafting cinematic adventures with a historical bent. Were I an editor at DC I would immediately wish to place him on Justice Society of America. However, the JSA is currently indisposed.

So what is an editor to do? I wouldn’t want to let a writer of Robinson’s caliber slip through my fingers. And yet there is no way I would entertain the idea of a man writing Wonder Woman given the current cultural climate and miniscule number of opportunities for female writers in the industry—especially on a story arc focused on a male character. But I would have six months to keep Robinson occupied until I could place him on JSA as well as an open Wonder Woman slot to attend to. What to do?

Partner up. DC has recently announced that select books will feature writers from the DC Talent Development Workshop paired with established writers for small arcs. Why not continue down this path and pair Robinson with Vita Ayala? It’d ensure that Wonder Woman possesses a female voice, cement a positive relationship between writers of different generations and cultural backgrounds, and raise the profile of a younger creator. In six months one could separate the two, leave Ayala on Wonder Woman, and move Robinson to JSA.

Status quo. Another option would be to leave writer Shea Fontana on Wonder Woman and allow Robinson to tell his Wonder Woman story elsewhere. Where? Justice League. But what of Bryan Hitch? Well, I would certainly want to hold onto him! And so I would encourage Hitch to create a title for DC’s Dark Matter line.

Relaunch. Nothing like pairing a hot creator with a brand new #1 issue, no? And so one could seek out a low-selling book to quietly cancel and place Robinson on a new Catwoman series. This would loop Robinson into the all-powerful Bat-house and create yet another solid mid-list title for DC. As for Wonder Woman? That title could again be left to Fontana.

King Kirby. Another possibility would be to use Robinson to help boost the profile of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters and build a brand around them. Robinson could work on a limited series featuring Darkseid or Orion—one that meshes well with Tom King’s and Mitch Gerads’ upcoming Mister Miracle project.

I believe the options listed above would help to keep both Robinson fans and Wonder Woman fans content, strengthen DC overall, and provide opportunities for marginalized creators.


My 9ine.

After page four, the whole thing goes into a 9-panel grid, and it’s to give you a sense of that claustrophobia. To give you a sense of what it is to be trapped, not only in the themes and the words, but in the actual panel structure. He’s trapped behind those bars we had in Omega Men, and how does he break out?Tom King

Okay.

The Wild Storm #1

All right.

Hrm.

Are…are Moore and Gibbons secretly on deck for the ultimate Crisis story? Is this foreshadowing? Or is this just a shared love-letter to the nine-panel grid? Looking at this I can’t help but lament the lack of Milestone in this DC revival of worlds. Its absence is notable and, by God, I would love to write a story set in that universe with an artist who is absolutely committed to ruining the nine-panel grid! I’d purposely have a black character on every single page of said story just jacking the layout up and knocking panels out-of-place. I’d gleefully be the fly in the buttermilk. The dark speck marring one’s pristine nostalgic vision.

For that is what we are, no? The group here to remind you that the good old days weren’t so good? That we haven’t lost a way we never had? That returning to the nine-panel grid isn’t an indication that the walls are closing in because we’ve been hemmed in. Y’all just got here. And still refuse to acknowledge our presence a majority of the time. To hell with a nine. It’s the sequential art version of clapping on the one and three.

It’s not that I hate the shared art direction above. I love-to-hate it. There’s a big difference. It’s like relishing the presence of a cherished villain. Like setting a glass of perfectly chilled water on a ledge. Near a cat.

(I’m the cat.)

I see a nine-panel grid and within those gutters I see perfect order and a wallowing in nostalgic longing for a creative era that would have resulted in my ostracization had I been present. And I think to myself, I would love to create complete chaos and discomfort here. I see pacifiers for middle-aged, middle-class men in those grids, not bars. They are in our present day as creatively restrictive as a gimp mask. A familiar binding one seeks out and derives pleasure from.

But I’d be lying if I said the repetition wasn’t intriguing. It is highly intriguing! Here we have the nine-panel grid in four out of the six major DC worlds—Detective, Wildstorm, Charlton/Watchmen, and Kirby’s Fourth World. Only Milestone and Quality are missing. This cannot be a coincidence. I believe Mitch Gerads, Jon Davis-Hunt, Gary Frank and more are collectively up to something. I want to know what it is.