Monday 16 May 2016

Panel 32: Wonder Woman in London

Daily Constitutional editor Adam continues his Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London

If you are on older reader returning to comic books after a period away – which is my own back story, having rediscovered drawing through my daughter a couple of years ago – then you're in for a wild ride… unless you keep the following three words in mind at all times:

Rebirth, reboot, relaunch.

In the world of 21st century comic books it's back-to-the-drawing-board time-and-again with new artist/writer teams reimagining the famous names in superheroes on a regular basis. Back-stories are plundered and retooled; new-look costumes are drawn; fresh slants – social, political and personal – are found on the pantheon of characters.

Wonder Woman is no exception.

Which is why she turns up here on this blog.

These days Wonder Woman is a Londoner.

Keep an eye out for her on the Jubilee, Bakerloo or Northern lines out of Waterloo Station, she has a pad near Big Ben

It would seem that her 70 year career as a superhero has served her rather well, what with the cost of renting properties in central London ranging from £350 - £3,230 per week

Suffice to say that your average comic book creator is more likely to live in humble (and wonderful) Brockley than in a riverside penthouse.

But then, in a fictional world where the protagonists sit and have a chat atop The Gherkin

… even the price of London property seems reasonably realistic.

The first frame above is taken from Wonder Woman The New 52 by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang & Tony Akins dating from 2011 in which the character's origins in Greek mythology are brought to the fore. It's a field of research that I've always been very fond of, and one that comes up as a theme when I lead my Sherlock Holmes tour for London Walks (more from Holmes on another day, in the meantime catch up with Daffy Duck's take ofthe great consulting 'tec HERE).

Before it all gets a bit high falutin', there's also a really splendid battle with Poseidon in the form of a sea monster in the Thames by Tower Bridge…

That's London Bridge in the background of the first frame and some nice detailing of the Tower itself as well as Tower Bridge in the third. And the "Bong"? Well that's the chimes o' Big Ben carried on what must have been a particularly forceful west-to-southwesterly wind to ring out over the London traffic nearly three miles away.

(Here we go again! Tower Bridge and Big Ben will soon have to pay rent on this blog, appearing as often as they have done. See also posts on Scooby Doo & Disney & Marvel & The Fantastic Four & Über & Danger Mouse.)

The author of this blog, nonplussed at all the kissing in his comic book

The image featuring The Gherkin (above) is from Superman/Wonderwoman by Charles Soule and Tony S. Daniel (2013) – in which WW and the Man of Steel get all kissy-kissy, have tiffs and do all soppy stuff. Yuk.

By which I mean their characters and relationships are explored in a depth never before seen in mainstream superhero comics.

Nah, I was righty first time: they get all kissy-kissy. Yuk.

Despite the kissing (yuk), it is a fascinating take on the most traditionally squeaky-clean of superheroes. And the most All-American - they are both practically dressed in The Flag, they even assimilate like only superimmigrants from Krypton & Paradise Island could.

Long before she acquired her flat in Zone 1 (does she have to pay congestion charge on her invisible plane?) Wonder Woman visited London on a number of occasions. You should also check out the great fun Sensation Comics No.9 (you can buy a digital version HERE) in which Wonder Woman takes on Catwoman at the British Museum, where the latter is planning to steal the Golden Fleece…

(I visited The BM earlier in this series, in Panel No.15 on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.)

Going back further yet, Wonder Woman swung by the capital about 2000 years ago when she joined Queen Boudicca, the Iceni Queen, in fighting the Roman army. 

WW's intervention sent the guys with the funny brush helmets home to Rome about 400 years ahead of their time.

Of the locations above, I'll chose the Gherkin to add to my Cartoon and Comic Book Tour of London…