Wonder Woman has done it. With a $100 Million dollar opening weekend for director Patti Jenkins and DC’s first woman-led film, Wonder Woman has broken the glass ceiling for Hollywood super hero movies. Previously the going notion was a superhero film led by a woman could never a) be good and b) lead in the box office. Well, folks, that notion has been kicked directly in the head by a ferocious Amazon! Now the question is, where do we go from here?
While I can’t answer that question (ahem Captain Marvel soon ahem), I can answer another question I’ve heard a lot on social media since the movie came out. Lots of folks who came back loving Wonder Woman have been asking just where they can get more Diana stories between now and the Justice League film. Plenty of fans raving about the movie haven’t been reading Wonder Woman comics all their life (like me), so they want to know a good way to get some great Wonder Woman stories in their lives. So I’ve made a list below of some great Wonder Woman media products that can bring more Amazons into people’s lives.
7. Justice League: A League of One
Though Wonder Woman has plenty of fantastic stories under her own name, sometimes the Amazonian princess stole the show in other comic book titles. Hell, we saw her do it in the Batman vs. Superman movie when she showed up out of nowhere. But in the 2000 storyline “A League of One” written by Christopher Moeller, Wonder Woman takes center stage when she discovers a prophecy that foretells the deaths of the entire Justice League at the hands of a recently awakened dragon. Faced with the certainty that the dragon would end the lives of all her friends, Diana must make the terrible choice to allow her friends to fly into their doom, or face the dragon alone.
“A League of One” deserves to stand as one of those fantastic Wonder Woman focused stories where we get to see just how much Diana cares for the rest of the Justice League, and the lengths to which she’s willing to go to protect not only their lives but the entire world. With gorgeous art and fantastic, insightful writing, “A League of One” jumps out as more than just a beat ’em up Justice League adventure and joins the pantheon of outstanding Wonder Woman stories.
(Important to note: the original edition which only carried this story is currently out of print. However, the two Christopher Moeller storyarchs were released together in a new edition.)
6. Justice League Animated TV series (plus Justice League Unlimited)
If you’re looking for more stories featuring Wonder Woman as part of an ensemble cast, look no further than the DC animated TV series Justice League, and it’s sequel Justice League Unlimited. Largely considered one of the best animated DC offerings to grace television (alongside such greats as Batman: the Animated Series and Teen Titans), Justice League and Unlimited are a thoughtful ongoing series about the growing Justice League as it grapples not only with monsters, aliens, and other threats to Earth, but with its own place in the hierarchy of power on the planet and what it means to be a superpower.
The reason the series stands out for Wonder Woman fans is Diana’s development from the beginning of the series all the way through to Unlimited. Where most animated series don’t have much by way of continuity or character growth, this series takes Diana from her first arrival from Themyscira through her evolution into a member of the League, where she tackles everything from culture shock to new potentially romantic feelings for a teammate (hint hint: he has pointed ears and a cave he hangs out in!) and personal relationships with the other women on her team. The show is a brilliant example of how to take an animated show and make it interesting for adults while accessible to children as well. With two seasons of the original series and two seasons of the more serialized Unlimited, there’s plenty of Diana to explore.
And speaking of DC animated properties…
5. Wonder Woman animated movie
For a long time, the only hope Warner Bros. and DC had of making a decent film was in their animated studios. Fans who hated the grim/dark of DC’s live action movies could turn around and watch the DC Animated films for a return to that perfect blend of action and hope, adventure and fun. If you hated Suicide Squad as much as I did for example, you could go and watch the animated version, which actually had character development that made damn sense. Or if you missed Teen Titans, the recent Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, which covered one of the best storylines in Teen Titans ever, the plot involving Terra.
But none of those films in my opinion hold a candle to the Wonder Woman animated film. Before Gal Gadot blazed on screen as Princess Diana, Keri Russell voiced our Amazonian hero in the 2009 animated adventure alongside Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor. With a script penned by Gail Simone, one of the defining writers to ever put her hands on Wonder Woman, and Michael Jelenic, the movie was based largely on the George Perez run of Wonder Woman beginning in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #1, known as the “Gods and Mortals” storyline. The film features much of the same origin story we’re familiar with now from the 2017 film, but spends way more time focused on the Amazons and in Diana’s aggressive push-back against patriarchal treatment, which makes me happy. Check out this movie if you want another, more in-depth look at the reasons the Amazons are who they are and Diana’s first adventures in man’s world.
(An important note about the film is that while Patti Jenkins of course was an unbelievable director for the live action film, she was not the first woman to direct a Wonder Woman movie. Lauren Montgomery directed the 2009 animated film after working successfully for the DC Animated studio on such films as Superman: Doomsday.)
4. Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
One of the great parts of the new Wonder Woman movie was the adorable view of Diana as a little girl, galavanting around Paradise Island, ready to become a warrior and outfoxing her tutors in search of adventure. Played by the adorable and fierce Lilly Aspell, the beginning of the film answered one of the burning questions about Wonder Woman: what was it like for the little princess being the only child on Paradise Island, growing up the protected daughter of the Queen? Well, a recent graphic novel finally answered that question.
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, written by the amazing Jill Thompson, is a lush, beautifully illustrated book telling the story of Diana as a young Amazon, still learning how to be the woman we all know as Wonder Woman. A coming of age story for a girl who grew up as the favorite (and only!) child on an island of doting Amazons, the book explores what it takes to grow from a girl first exploring her power and agency into a mature and thoughtful young woman. This book is amazing for many different age groups, though it does tackle some serious topics and involves a good deal of violence (hey, they’re Amazons!) but for that reason, reader discretion is advised for younger kids.
3. The Lynda Carter TV Series
Okay, I know. It’s campy. It’s hokey and dated. It has that awesome/awful/hell yeah cool/kinda lame Wonder Woman costume change spin. But there is a great reason actress Lynda Carter is thanked during the credits for the recent film. The 1970’s Wonder Woman TV show introduced a whole generation to the adventures of Princess Diana, played with grace and charm by the fantastic Carter, alongside Lyle Waggoner as Steve Trevor. The show focused on Wonder Woman acting as Steve Trevor’s secretary Diana Prince (which the movie references!) during World War II. The show ran for three seasons and not only gave American TV audiences a look at the adventures of Wonder Woman but let them see the Amazon culture in a time when liberated women were on the rise in America.
Though the show definitely shows its age now, it joins the pantheon of TV superhero shows during that time period, like the campy Batman and Robin or even lesser known offerings like Isis.
2. The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka
Okay, not only does this graphic novel stand as perhaps the definitive stand-alone Wonder Woman story in the history of comics, but it has this kickass cover of Wonder Woman stepping on Batman’s head. The Hiketeia by the unbelievable Greg Rucka stands as a thoughtful, intense Wonder Woman story in which a young woman comes to Wonder Woman for protection after committing a terrible crime. When Wonder Woman extends her assistance, she finds herself in conflict with her long-time ally, Batman. If that sounds interesting, it isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Greg Rucka captures Wonder Woman’s impossibly complicated morality and compassion in beautiful prose accompanied by fantastic art by veteran comic artist J.G. Jones.
I can’t describe quite how much The Hiketeia not only cemented my love for Wonder Woman (as if it needed more cementing) but also proved to me that Greg Rucka deserves to be called one of the best writers of Wonder Woman ever. His understanding of the character is so clear when you read not only this beautiful stand-alone, but if you take the time to read his ongoing run on the book having started with the recent Rebirth storyline in DC. But no matter if you dive into the latest storyline and start to follow along, grab The Hiketeia for just some stellar reading
1 Wonder Woman: The 75th Anniversary Collection
Now that you’re a fan of Wonder Woman, you might want to dive into the ongoing adventures in the comics. But to do that, fans often feel they have to go back and explore all the comics gone by, a legacy that in Wonder Woman’s case spans back 75 years of storytelling. And trust me, not all of it is good. So to make it easier on fans, DC comics recently released a boxed set to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman in the comics.
The boxed set, beautifully done up in four slim volumes and incredibly reasonably priced, collects the iconic storylines DC believes spans the best and brightest of Diana’s stories. And while I have my personal feelings on some of the stories they chose to include (I honestly believe you can skip ALL of Brian Azarello’s run, as I feel it’s one of the weakest out there and the least in keeping with Diana’s character over the years), the rest of the box set captures Diana’s evolution throughout her time at DC comics. It presents a great view also of the evolution of Wonder Woman in terms of societal expectations as well, as we can see Diana’s room to move evolves with our own real-world evolution of the treatment of women. Still, as proven by the comics and our own real-world experience, there’s always more room to grow.
(In case you’re looking for something to replace the Azarello run, by the way, I’d go ahead and check out the recent Greg Rucka run which replaced Azarello’s New 52 timeline nonsense during DC’s Rebirth. Graphic novels Vol 1 “The Lies” and Vol 2 “Rebirth” are available now).
For those with a little more time on their hands or who want more of a taste of Wonder Woman’s great stories, I would suggest:
- Pretty much ALL of George Perez’s run on Wonder Woman Vol 2. George Perez redefined what we consider Wonder Woman after the Crisis On Infinite Earths storyarch smashed together all of DC’s various disparate origin stories and storyline retellings of their characters. It’s his definitive run that set up the Vol 2. line that carried us down the years until recently. If you want all of it, I’d check out the George Perez Ombinus 1 and Omnibus 2, which covers issues #1-24 and then #25-45.
- The Gail Simone run of Wonder Woman Vol 3 starting with issue #14-44, encompassing such great storylines as The Circle (included in the 75th anniverary edition), Ends of the Earth, Rise of the Olympians, Warkiller, and Contageon.
- Greg Rucka’s amazing Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 from his FIRST run on Wonder Woman back in issues #195-225 of Vol. 2. It included such amazing storylines as Down To Earth, Bitter Rivals, Eyes of the Gorgon, Land of the Dead, and Mission’s End.
- For more about the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall and characters you only see in the background of the film, like Artemis, check out Mike Deodatto’s run on Wonder Woman, including the storyline called The Contest. Here, Diana’s been out in Man’s World a while and her mother believes she’s no longer living up to her job as being Wonder Woman.
- In the 90’s comic legend John Byrne did a run on Wonder Woman that included a fantastic story arch including the gods of New Genesis and a romp through space that was fantastic. The graphic novel collection of these issues is soon to be released, so check it out if you can.
- For alternate realities that have interesting takes on Wonder Woman, I’d look at the comic book series Injustice, which expands the storyline from the DC fighting video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. While not focused entirely on Wonder Woman, the comic has some great alternate history altogether and puts Diana in an interesting place. (Note: this series is broken down into Years as there were several years between the actions in the video game being covered).
- And if you want to go WAY back, check out the original adventures of Wonder Woman in the Golden Age Ombinus Vol 1. and Vol 2. This collects the stories of Diana from the days when they still said golly gee. While super dated and often times really weird (and full of a lot of bondage, folks, that’s part of Diana’s origins), the Omnibus collections give us a lot to look at and have fun with too.