Wanted: Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman

Ben Caldwell's Wonder Woman: Gorgeous

I am completely enamored with Ben Caldwell’s pitch for a youth-skewing Wonder Woman comic, which is getting plenty of other props online. I’m generally not a fan of manga-style illustration, but Caldwell’s concept is fresh, playful and modern without being silly (*Cough* jeggings on Wonder Woman *Cough*).

A page from Caldwell's pitch

If the work looks familiar, it’s because Caldwell was behind the ethereal Wonder Woman arc in Wednesday Comics. He has posted his vision (with notes) on his blog, and what’s particularly nice is that he’s thinking about younger readers. I love his take on Etta Candy as a curvy, thrill-seeking sorority girl and his sulky/hot Batman is adorable. The idea of Bruce Wayne as “a notorious playboy who wants to see and be seen with the Amazon princess” is like catnip to those of us on team BatWondy. It seems like a well thought-out idea with more than a little personal passion behind it — and it just looks freaking cool.

Alas, Caldwell told readers to curb their enthusiasm (or ire) because this book “will certainly never happen.” I’ve been reading mainstream comics long enough to know that he’s probably right. That’s a damned shame, because the spontaneous response to Caldwell’s pitch tells me that there’s a pent-up demand for this kind of creativity and accessibility. While comic-book reading has become an adult hobby (at last year’s Dragon*Con, Darwyn Cooke correctly called it “an over-35 club”), kids still dig them if a) they can find them and b) they’re good. My children read comics, but only because I ferret out the titles that are age-appropriate and bring them home. I have a feeling that my 10-year-old son would like Caldwell’s Wonder Woman comic, even though it’s about a “girl.” But first, he’d have to wrest it from my hands.

What do you think? Would you buy this book for yourself or the kids in your life?

15 thoughts on “Wanted: Ben Caldwell’s Wonder Woman

  1. No, I can not say I would. As an old guy, I am very old school when it comes to art. I do agree that there is an over sexualizing of female images in the media in general, and in superhero comics in particular. I just find manga style is often too cartoony for my taste. I also have a feeling that in North America marketing manga has come to mean/connotation juvenile and girl friendly. That is because girls are emotional immature according to marketers. Twilight movie and manga book didn’t help this attitude. North American manga is becoming a demographic ghetto that is based on an over simplification (stereotype) of young girls. Do we really want the Oldest and strongest female comic-book icon trapped in that mode ? Remember all mass media contains intended and unintended messages. What message about females would this take send ? Great blog keep writing !

  2. I think this looks awesome, and wish to purchase it from a local comic shop, bookstore, or online dealer. Therefore, DC will not publish it ever ever.

  3. Manga is not bound by the same self-imposed limitations of most American comics. It’s genres are more fluid, and to simply say all manga is cartoony and aimed children or “girl-friendly” (whatever the hell that means), is dismissive of the majority of the manga industry, and indicative of your own ignorance of the form itself. Yes, much of what we see in the US is shonen and shoujo, aimed at teenagers, because they are the ones with the disposable income to buy manga. I, as a woman, and an avid Wonder Woman fan, welcome whole-heartedly a manga interpretation of WW. It can’t be any worse than Jim Lee’s latest crime against humanity.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, guys. Who knows — maybe Caldwell can take this idea and run with it for a character of his own making. Or maybe, just maybe, DC will recognize the potential and give it their collective blessing. (pause) Hahahahahahahaha! OK, the latter will never happen, but I’m rooting for the artist.

  5. Sounds interesting enough to me. And I’m certainly not just saying that because it’d be another notch for team BatWondy. Not at all. But it’s high up there.

    I sort of understand why the company is pulling their punches, cautious about what will sell and what won’t. But, um, they went with changing Wonder Woman’s costume. Seems a bit hypocritical. Maybe it’s just because Jim Lee created the design and apparently everything that pours from his fingers is inky gold. Or they’re only brave enough to dip a toe in the water because fans can be quite the hungry piranha pack. I don’t know. (You’d think they’d be used to something like that by now.) In the end it’s all up to DC, and all we can do is capslock them to death over the internet. And that’s all we’ll do because we’re such decent and accommodating people.

    Hey, who turned the sarcastic faucet on? Watch that water bill.

    • Yuk, yuk! I’m not optimistic, but it would be wonderful if the Internet groundswell persuaded DC to pounce on this idea. I mean, why keep pumping resources into books that no one asked for, like “Magog” or “JSA All-Stars?” And as much as I like Batman, he has a whole lot of books riding on his cape. Why can’t Wonder Woman have more than one measly comic? (Breathes into bag)

  6. What I mean was that marketers see this as girl friendly. Mass media is a business. It defines itself by marketing to a specific demographic group. In the process of creating their marketing choice they can limit the boundaries of the content. For example superhero comics and comics in general were seen as a media product that was aimed at school age children. Even now a large portion of the population see it that way. Even though manga, like North American comics, have a wide range in style and content, in North America among the general populous and the way the content is often marketed creates an image of the product that is suggests that is either intended for a very young demographic or a mainly female audience.
    By cartoony, I am referring or comparing it to a style that looks more realistic. I guess that is a reflection of my 50 plus years. I prefer a style of illustrations that tries to depict fantasy settings in a more realistic style. Much of the manga illustrations that I have been exposed to reminds me of the big-foot style of the cartoons of the 1930’s. Nothing wrong with that style, It just doesn’t appeal to me when applied to superheroes or science fiction/fantasy. For me that style suggests a whimsical less serious tone and is okay for a humour/parody.

  7. Hell yes, I’d buy this for my nephews & nieces (all under 9 yrs old, btw) quality of art & story always win out over mass produced crap nowadays.

  8. heck yeah. something new is always a nice thing to throw in. anyway i would get it for my self it looks cool and interesting. hm..if he never does touch it. hopefully he just post up little things for the fun of it

  9. Pingback: Ben Caldwell’s Wonderful Wondy « Girls Gone Geek

  10. YES! YES! YES! TO THE POWER OF 10!
    I WOULD SO BUY THIS BOOK IF IT WERE REAL! :)
    Love the idea of a Bruce & Diana romance! LOVES IT! :)

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