One of the highlights of Comic Con Revolution was a panel discussing the evolution of Wonder Woman, featuring artists Cat Staggs and Drew Johnson as well as voice actress Susan Eisenberg. The panel, moderated by Beatriz Valenzuela, discussed how the character has had a resurgence of popularity thanks to the recent movie and a larger change in the audience for superheroes. It was fascinating seeing people who had a direct relationship with the character and contributed in meaningful ways for the recent look of Diana.
They shared stories of how much the character as played by Lynda Carter helped introduce the character when they were young and what kind of legacy they hoped to reinforce. Cat talked about how Lynda introduced a piece of her art to the Library of Congress celebrating the character, something she was not aware was going to happen and caused her to lose her mind. Drew Johnson talked about his frustrations with how toys and memorabilia still remain gendered meaning that he cannot find t-shirts designed for men with the Wonder Woman logo. Susan Eisenberg talked about her approach to the character and how much of the character in her animated form is a team effort between the voice director, the writers and herself. All three provided some really interesting perspectives on seeing the character go from someone moderately popular to now being the heart of the DC cinematic universe. It is easy to forget how much was riding on the success of the movie since it has been almost 15 years since the last time Warner Brothers made a female-centric superhero movie. If the movie did not live up to the expectations by fans, then it would have delivered a killing blow to the franchise as a whole, especially since Batman V Superman did not exactly set the world on fire.
They all heaped praise on the movie and on Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the character, noting how much backlash she received by toxic fans who felt she did not live up their perception of what Diana should be. The success of the movie felt like a breath of fresh air and it opens up the opportunity for more stories to feature her to hopefully catch up to the all the Batman movies there are at this point. A few male fans expressed their love for Diana as a character that inspires them even if she isn’t a man, and how that was something that almost felt shameful when they were younger. The panel agreed that things were not perfect yet, given how there still isn’t that many Wonder Woman toys out on store shelves, but that things were definitely headed in the right direction.
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