By Cy Beltran
Wonder Woman’s 80th Anniversary Celebration was in full swing at C2E2 Friday afternoon, with a bevy of creators on hand to discuss why they love Diana and the rest of Themyscira’s amazing Amazons. Moderated by Newsarama’s Chris Arrant, the panel included Stephanie Phillips (Wonder Woman Evolution), Joëlle Jones (Wonder Girl), Stephanie Williams (Nubia and the Amazons), and Will Pfeifer (Amazons Attack!).
Arrant started off by asking everyone how they came to learn about Wonder Woman. Williams said she started off with the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons of the early 2000s. Jones actually didn’t like Diana at first, having seen her in the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series, but came to appreciate her after drawing her in an issue of Batman. Phillips was always aware of the character, talking about how much she loved the New 52 run on the character. She explained how in her MMA fighting days, she used to weigh-in wearing Wonder Woman gear. Pfeifer also watched the Carter TV series, but also picked up George Pérez’ 1980s run as it was coming out.
Williams mentioned how Pérez was the one to really expand the world of the Amazons, introducing different minorities into a majority white world and really focusing on what it meant to be a woman who lived on Themyscira. She then talked about Nubia and how she was a great example of Wonder Woman being about more than just Diana, noticing how cool it was that Nubia had such a dedicated fanbase even with very limited appearances over the years. After a brief history of Nubia, Williams talked about writing Nubia and the Amazons and how important it was to show the people of Themyscira in the book along with Nubia, in order for the reader to get a complete picture of her as a queen.
Jones then took the mic, explaining how the process went for introducing Yara Flor to the DC Universe. At the time, she had been writing Catwoman, but was starting to get tired of writing the same book. During a big pitch meeting with DC editorial, she threw out the idea of Yara and they loved it and wanted it for what can be assumed to be the 5G initiative. However, when that fell apart, editorial still liked the character enough to ask to have her placed in the role of Wonder Girl. Though the idea didn’t initially sound right to her, Jones took it upon herself to do good by the character, eventually immersing herself in Brazilian culture to make sure the book was just right.
Then it was Phillips’ turn, and she mentioned how she’s living the best of both worlds, having one foot in DC main continuity with Harley Quinn and the other outside of it through Wonder Woman: Evolution. Working with Evolution artist Mike Hawthorne has been an excellent process for her, she said, as the two of them know exactly where the story is going to go with the eight-issue miniseries. This allows Hawthorne to seed different pieces throughout the main narrative, making the story feel 100% cohesive. Arrant stepped in and tried to summarize what he thought the story was about, but it was somewhat spoiler-y, so Phillips told readers to try and figure it out for themselves. What can be said is that this story is designed to show why Diana is not just the female Superman and can stand out on her own as a unique, incredible character in her own right.
Although Pfeifer isn’t currently working on a Wonder Woman book, he talked through the editorial process of managing an event like Amazons Attack!, giving specific attention to how difficult it is to make sure every piece is clear in every tie-in book. People had complained that Wonder Woman wasn’t in the book much, but Pfeifer told them “I wasn’t even writing her series at the time!”
From there, everyone went through their favorite Amazonian characters: Pfeifer’s is Hippolyta, Williams couldn’t decide on Donna Troy or Phillipus, and Jones and Phillips both said Donna Troy and Artemis because of how messy they both are. Phillips also hinted that one of those two characters would be in Evolution coming up, but wouldn’t say who to let readers experience Mike Hawthorne’s excellent design for themselves.
The creators went on to answer a few quicker questions from Arrant, expressing their excitement with how fun it is to work on Wonder Woman’s 80th Anniversary celebration (highlighting how great it is to elevate her profile in a communal writing space), giving brief hints about the upcoming Trial of the Amazons event (Williams: “You’ll see the Amazons like you’ve never seen them before”), and talking about whether or not Harley Quinn would enjoy Themyscira (Phillips: “I’m writing her, so of course she does!”).
Arrant then moved on to talk about George Pérez and his impact on Wonder Woman and comics as a whole. The creator recently revealed he is dealing with a terminal illness, which led to an overwhelming wave of support from the comics community. Williams talked about how passionately Pérez writes his characters, specifically those from The New Teen Titans and his seminal Wonder Woman run of the ’80s. Pfeifer met Pérez for the first time in the late 1980s, just after Perez took over writing Diana’s stories, and he mentioned how kind Pérez was and how great it was for Pérez to elevate her profile to the place it needed to be in the DC Trinity. Jones joked about how hard it was to see Pérez create such great work as a writer/artist in big two comics, but mentioned her love for his run and respect for everything he’s ever done.
Things started to wrap up with the panelists mentioning their favorite creators who had worked on Wonder Woman, citing stories by Dwayne McDuffie, G. Willow Wilson, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Vita Ayala. Williams also made sure to mention Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez’ excellent new Wonder Woman: Historia as a can’t-miss story for the character.
Everyone then mentioned how influential Wonder Woman has been throughout pop culture as a whole, a true feminist icon who represents hope, empathy, and strength. Arrant thanked everyone for coming by and the panel came to an end.
Wonder Girl #6 comes out December 14th, while Nubia and the Amazons #3 and Wonder Woman: Evolution #2 come out December 21st.
Miss any of our previous C2E2 ’21 coverage? Find it all here!