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FIRST MAJOR BIG-SCREEN GAY SUPERHERO?

Princess Diana of ThemysciraFor those hoping to see a little more diversity in superhero films, there is now a sliver of hope. The writer of Wonder Woman’s current comic book adventures has confirmed what we pretty much all knew, that Princess Diana of Themyscira is bisexual.

“Yes,” replied Greg Rucka when the Guardian’s Ben Child asked whether his revamped version of the Amazonian warrior was queer.

“I think it’s more complicated though,” he said. “This is inherently the problem with Diana: we’ve had a long history of people – for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason – say, ‘Ooo. Look. It’s the Amazons. They’re gay!’

“And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise.

“It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able – in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner – to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist.”

Rucka’s right, Child said. “No one should be too surprised that Wonder Woman likes women when she lives in a single-sex feminist utopia. But there are also strong historical reasons why the superhero should be considered proudly queer.

“Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, a famously leftfield, not to mention rather creepy, thinker on matters of sexuality and feminism who, as documented in Jill Lepore’s 2014 book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, lived in a menage a trois (and sometimes more) with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston (often considered the superhero’s co-creator) and their lover and cohabitant Olive Byrne. Both women have been cited as inspirations for the character, with Elizabeth believed to have contributed her famous phrase ‘Suffering Sappho!’ and Olive her looks.”

Though born of male bondage fantasies, Wonder Woman still emerges as a frontrunner of emancipation in this impressive account, writes Catherine Bennett.

And Child asks: Will monster director Patty Jenkins, who’s overseeing the new Wonder Woman movie, be brave enough to incorporate her subject’s queer identity, thereby making her the first major big-screen gay superhero?

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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