What's happened to all that apologist outrage? Last month’s revelation that the Amazons are now to be regarded as a nation of men-murdering, midnight-naked canoeists brought a phalanx of fanboy flakkers bent on defending the historical validity of the revisionism. With all the passion of the deeply committed matched with the knowledge and understanding of the unknowingly ignorant, the decision to recast Wonder Woman’s people as every male chauvinist’s worst nightmare/sexual fantasy was deemed to be perfectly in line with the original depictions of the Amazons in the myths and legends of the Ancient Greeks. It was a totally misguided contention, of course, but the principle was clear; a Wonder Woman story which reflects the ideology and narrative details of the folk-tales of the long-distant past is an ethically unchallengeable, artistically superior comicbook.
We might logically expect that the opposite of this would be true, and that any Wonder Woman tale which ignored the great mass of the beliefs from the Greece of so many tens of centuries ago would be regarded as an outrageously inferior and offensive desecration. After all, if it’s unacceptable to expect Azzarello’s work to reflect a modern-era feminist perspective because of the loathing for women expressed in those old, old stories from the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, then it must be equally unacceptable for any other radical 21st century reworking to be superimposed over the culture of Hellas and her peoples. Yet Wonder Woman #8 presents us with an innovative version of Hades and the Greek underworld which bears no relation to anything in ancient records. Surely this must be a source of considerable ire to the flakkers, so concerned as they are to respect, protect and propagate the form and content of the culture of so very long ago?
Apparently not. It seems that Azzarello has been granted free reign by the flakkers to reinterpret anything at all except for those aspects which serve to perpetuate misogyny. The supposed vileness of Queen Hippolyta and her brutally emasculating sex-killers ought to be forever respected, it seems, but everything else is apparently up for grabs. And so, there’s been not a murmur of discontent - let alone any spittle-flecked raging - about the innovative if hyper-real rendition of the Greek underworld and its ruler in this month's Chasing Shadows. It’s something which really does leave the suspicion that all that rage and indignation about the sanctity of those old myths, about the necessary rightness of portraying the Amazons as despicable man-murderers, was nothing more than a desperate attempt to shout down anyone who might have pointed out how unpleasantly sexist, and indeed profoundly stupid, Wonder Woman #7 was.
Or: it was never about the sexist myths of times gone by and everything about the sexist myths of 2012.
Eros's love pistols? A hell whose landscape is physically constructed from the changeling souls of the dead? Hades as a malicious little boy with his head crowned by burning candles, the wax from which has melted across his eyes? As shocking as it might be for the inexpert, obstinate and righteous flakker to realise, I really don’t think any of it’s to be found in Homer, Hesiod or Herodotus.
Quick, fanboys, push away those unsettlingly enticing panels of naked, beautiful women paddling across the moonlit oceans at night in search of semen and blood-letting. The hallowed continuity of the myths and legends of Ancient Greece is being desecrated in Wonder Woman #8!
None of the above is to suggest that Wonder Woman # 8 lacks quality, or indeed, problems too: on the whole, I enjoyed it. Perhaps you might care to pop back on Wednesday, when TooBusyThinking will be chatting about "Casting Shadows", or tomorrow, where the blog discusses one of the greatest space heroes ever.