The original Wonder Woman costume must surely rank high in the list of all-time great, iconic comic hero get-ups. Is this part of what puts me off?
Costumed (or semicostumed) heroes such as Wonder Woman and Superman, rather than the villains they fought or the outlaws rampant in crime comics, were the main objects of the Catholic Church’s early  criticism of comic books, censure that began to take the form of a serious campaign against comics.
Bishop Noll explained that the NODL [National Organization for Decent Literature]* objected only to Wonder Woman’s costume. “There is no reason why Wonder Woman should not be better covered, and there is less reason why women who fall under her influence should be running around in bathingsuits,” Noll wrote.
(Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008. Print. 75-78.)
I guess it’s true that I never liked her costume much, but I’ve never found it any more all-that-scandalous than those of usual dat-ass suspects such as Power Girl, Emma Frost, or Huntress. (God, I hate Huntress, and there is nothing mysterious about it. She sucks. You will not be seeing a “__ Days of Huntress” around here, ever.) I don’t think I ever gave Wonder Woman’s outfit much thought in print … but I did contemplate it onscreen, watching the Lynda Carter television series. The TV Diana had so many great wardrobe changes, not only with that wonderful spinning-into-Wonder Woman sequence, but with gear tailored to her various missions: remember that slick diving suit?
Separate from my later feelings about Wonder Woman as a comic hero, as an early television role model I had nothing but full esteem for the character, in particular her outfit. I can remember sitting on the tacky rose-patterned velour daveneau on which I’d been conceived and on which I took my afternoon naps — and, depending on where we were living, sometimes slept at night on the hide-a-bed as well (very strange experience, since my parents were extremely up front with me about the couch-conception thing and seemed to find it heartwarming; I had more mixed feelings) — in the early afternoons before I even started school, watching syndicated re-runs of the program and being wowed. If I picture Lynda Carter in a blouse and blazer speaking confidently to a male coworker, I can still vividly feel kid-sweat from playing after lunch melting the sofa’s scratchy, worn fabric in to faint little clumps under my legs. She was so glamorous that she wore earrings everywhere. Everywhere. I loved that shit.
This is definitely a non-issue. The outfit has nothing to do with me shying away from Wonder Woman for the last mumble-muffleth years. Asked and answered!
In any case, Wonder Woman’s costume recently underwent a redesign. That’s her new look up there. I don’t really care one way or the other. I guess I’m a little wary and disappointed, as always, by tampering with classics, even ones of which I’m not a fan — and, in the same way that I was slightly rankled by the initial reinvention of Kate Kane as a Jewish lesbian in the Batwoman comic (Why not make her deaf and HIV-positive, to boot? How unforgivably uninclusive of you, Non-PC D.C.!), I feel not-just-vaguely pandered to. Then again, I like the new Batwoman line now and I am hunky-dory with the matchup of Renee Montoya with Kate. So maybe the costume redesign of Wonder Woman will be another in-my-face situation. Tough to gauge since I don’t know if I’ll come out of this project wanting to read her or not.
Longtime fans, what do you think of the change?
*more on those guys soon.