It’s Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary, and the Amazon superhero’s starring in a new title that goes back and forth between her past and present. Part of that past, says series writer Greg Rucka, is the fact that Diana has to have had romantic relationships with women.
The current Wonder Woman title aims to represent and streamline the character’s mythos after decades of sometimes conflicting continuities. Historically, Diana’s been romantically connected to soldier Steve Trevor, in a relationship that starts after he washes up on her home island of Paradise Island/Themyscira. In most of her various origins and interpretations, Diana’s meeting with Steve is presented as the beginning of her relationship history. That wasn’t the case in Rucka’s Wonder Woman #2, where other Amazons talked about Diana being romantically involved with multiple women.
A more intimate relationship with fellow Amazon Kasia is hinted at earlier the issue.
In an interview on Comicosity, Rucka says that the mainline version of Wonder Woman that he’s crafting is one that’s been with women in a place that had no label for such a thing:
...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.
Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.
And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons. But perhaps foremost among them is, if no, then she leaves paradise only because of a potential romantic relationship with Steve [Trevor]. And that diminishes her character. It would hurt the character and take away her heroism.
When we talk about agency of characters in 2016, Diana deciding to leave her home forever — which is what she believes she’s doing — if she does that because she’s fallen for a guy, I believe that diminishes her heroism.
She doesn’t leave because of Steve. She leaves because she wants to see the world and somebody must go and do this thing. And she has resolved it must be her to make this sacrifice.
Rucka goes on to talk about the larger real-world context of this approach, mentioning that it’s not been an editorial issue for DC Comics:
And I really don’t like the idea that there are people out there who might think DC is being mealy-mouthed about this. They’re not. No one wants to be taken out of context by ignorant people, but nobody at DC has ever said, “She’s gotta be straight.” Nobody. Ever. They’ve never blinked at this.
And when they’ve had questions about how we represent this, it’s always been about representing what the story needs. I think every publisher can be lit up for moments of negligence and mistakes they made, but it matters a great deal to me that DC be given their due here.
They would, I think, like any business, prefer this not be an issue to anybody. But most of us human beings would also really rather this not be an issue for anybody anymore. It is what it is. This is how the Amazons live.
Do go and read the whole interview on Comicosity, as it’s a fascinating look at how one of comics’ top writers approaches one of the medium’s most important characters.