The View From A Board

Artist Mike Perkins dis­cusses the chal­lenges of draw­ing Won­der Woman

Comic Heroes - - Contents - Comic pen­ciller Mike Perkins thinks that Won­der Woman can pose some artis­tic chal­lenges

Won­der Woman’s a tricky one. From an artist’s view­point she’s a vis­ually ar­rest­ing char­ac­ter to il­lus­trate – with or with­out the star-span­gled knick­ers. There’s the clas­sic brunette beauty, mus­cu­lar and tall; stat­uesque but not a body builder… her power comes from within – blessed by the gods. The cos­tume it­self lends it­self to sub­tle and per­sonal in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Aside from the bodice, boots and bracelets one can add Greek flour­ishes and war­rior-like ac­ces­sories depend­ing on the tale. A small pleated skirt? Not a prob­lem. Leather-stud­ded straps hang­ing from her golden belt? A use­ful adorn­ment to ad­min­is­ter a short­hand vis­ual nod to Gre­cian war­riors. The lasso? Hmmm… prob­a­bly more of a cow­boy in­flu­ence there but as a handy lie de­tec­tor it prob­a­bly says more about the cre­ator of the de­vice than the read­er­ship of the char­ac­ter or the lady her­self.

Liv­ing leg­ends

I’ve fol­lowed a lot of the re­cent Won­der Woman sto­ries af­ter be­ing orig­i­nally en­ticed by the re­mark­able Pérez run in the mid-’80s that plunged Diana into the mythol­ogy of the Greeks her birth place of Par­adise Is­land was based upon. It’s a truly in­cred­i­ble run that lends it­self to con­stant reread­ing and which, in turn, con­tains el­e­ments which have helped to in­spire some of the more re­cent runs. Pérez wasn’t the first to en­ter­tain the no­tion of the char­ac­ter’s pan­theonic past but he cen­tered and grounded the char­ac­ter within it and still made it fresh to the newly-aware nu­ances of the read­er­ship that had just ex­pe­ri­enced Watch­men, The Dark Knight Re­turns and John Byrne’s Man Of Steel.

The cur­rent, en­gross­ing Brian Az­zarello se­ries has also squarely placed Won­der Woman amongst a ro­tat­ing group of worn out, con­niv­ing deities and de­ter­mined demigods, mak­ing Diana a daugh­ter of Zeus, rather than orig­i­nat­ing as a clay sculp­ture, in the process.

One of my favourite re­cent runs on the book was writ­ten by Greg Rucka. Af­ter open­ing with the gor­geously il­lus­trated The Hiketeia, he and artist JG Jones rein­tro­duced a Diana who faced her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to both the here and now and the

I was orig­i­nally en­ticed by the Pérez run that plunged Diana into the mythol­ogy of the Greeks

dis­tant past on an equal foot­ing. This was then re­flected in her on­go­ing ti­tle when a lot of her time was taken up with her seem­ingly hum­drum life as a for­eign am­bas­sador which aided Rucka in in­tro­duc­ing a strong sup­port­ing cast and ul­ti­mately led her to fac­ing down the Gor­gon, Me­dusa. It was the kind of run I’d have loved to have il­lus­trated.

One day per­haps I’ll get the chance to put my own stamp on the char­ac­ter. I have some solid ideas about where to take the cos­tume – ap­pro­pri­ate to the script, of course – and I’ll prob­a­bly have some con­tri­bu­tions to where to take the story; bor­row­ing lib­er­ally from the mytho­log­i­cal past but with an eye to the in­trigu­ing fu­ture, just as the finest runs have done so suc­cess­fully be­fore.

She’ll still be tricky, though.

Zeus’s daugh­ter

in the New 52.

Rucka’s WW de­but:

The Hiketeia.

Noth­ing gets past the golden lasso.

Byrne’s sem­i­nal ’ 90s run.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.