The new Wonder Woman movie (reviewed yesterday, of course) is an origin story. So unsurprisingly, that got me thinking about Wonder Woman’s origin in the comics. And that as Greg Burgas points out at Atomic Junk Shop, it’s been retold a lot lately.
The story of Wonder Woman being sculpted from clay by Hippolyta, then brought to life by Aphrodite, is certainly inspired for a female superhero — all the work of women, no men involved. It has, however, been tossed out more than once. Robert Kanigher suggested Diana had a long-lost father. The recent New 52 reboot reveals her father was Zeus. Wonder Woman: Earth One reveals Hippolyta made her by fertilizing herself with some of Hercules’ DNA.
Almost all retellings, however, stick to the same turning point: Steve Trevor washes up on Paradise Island/Themyscira and Diana returns to “man’s world” with him (George Perez’ 1980s reboot is the only one I can think of that dropped that). Even though Greg Rucka said he doesn’t want Wonder Woman: Rebirth to have her leave the island from love for Steve, I believe he still has Steve as the catalyst (my apologies to Rucka if I’m wrong).
Frankly I’d think Steve was more dispensable than the life-from-clay aspect. But apparently me and Perez are in a minority on that. Even the older Wonder Woman: Amazonia employs Steve, though in a very noncanonical role (it also works very well)
Now, as to the other matter, the origin retellings — like Burgas says, there have been a shit-ton of them of since the New 52 rebooted her:
•Rucka’s revamp getting away from the New 52 and back to classic WW.
•Grant Morrison’s Earth One.
•Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (2016) by Jill Thompson, which does dispense with Steve Trevor (and according to reviews does break fresh ground).
•The Legend of Wonder Woman miniseries.
•DC’s Bombshells series.
So why so many? Even as a Wonder Woman fan I’d hardly consider the story of her coming to America to be legendary material; it’s what she does afterwards that stands out. Is it the same logic by which we keep getting Spider-Man’s origin and Superman’s origin retold in the movies (which mercifully won’t be the case in Spider-Man: Homecoming)? Or what?