365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

T-shirt #247 - Wonder Woman

T-shirt #247 - Wonder Woman

I have never been a huge Wonder Woman fan.

Before I am accused of being a chauvinist or worse a misogynist, I have many favorite women superheroes, one of whom I already wrote about early on in the blog (and at great length): T-shirt #28 - Batgirl.

Because of the male domination of the industry, there are not many T-shirts featuring logos and icons for the women characters. Technically, my Hawkman T-shirt (#49) can also apply to Hawkgirl/Woman and was mistaken for Hawkgirl's costume symbol the other day by a well-meaning student of mine. And many uniform shirts, such the X-Men Logo, The Fantastic Four Logo, and the Hydra Logo would all apply to the women characters as well as the men.

Though other shirts would apply to both male and female heroes, like yesterday's, as there are women in the X-Men, there are very few shirts available and thus few featured that sport women's logos or characters. In addition to the aforementioned T-shirt #28 - Batgirl, I featured Death twice -- T-shirts #224 and T-shirt #225 -- H.R. Watson from Paul Pope's THB in T-shirt #160,  Elektra in T-shirt #84, the wonderful Love and Rockets comic and characters as shown in T-shirt #19, and technically, for readers of Nowhere Men, T-shirt #26, is dedicated to a woman character. I had not read any of Nowhere Men when I bought the "Science is the new Rock 'n' Roll" shirt. I just liked the slogan. The volume one trade is awaiting my purchase at Fanfare, though I already featured the shirt without originally mentioning the comic book at all. I later added a postscript directing readers to a review of the comic in that entry after I realized I had written the whole entry without naming the comic book source material at all.

Because of the dearth of women's logos in shirts, I have only specifically featured women in comics via the shirt itself seven times (if the Nowhere Men shirt counts) and this shirt will make eight, but I have written about women in comics repeatedly; listing all these instances would be too time consuming. Just click the Comic Books category and scan through the entries. Some of my current favorite comics feature women prominently, such as Lazarus, Velvet, and Mind the Gap, also I have featured such characters as Madame Hydra, Snow White (from Fables), and the X-Men's Psylocke in T-shirt #218. Oops. Since her picture is actually on the shirt, this brings my shirt feature count to eight shirts, so NINE counting this one. :-) I could count the image of the woman on my Optic Nerve T-shirt (#98), too, I guess. There's no rule that the characters must all be superheroes, so that brings my count to ten with today's.

I have written many times on the subject of women and subjects related to women. In fact, most of the people at my fantasy Dinner Party are women: Suzanne Vega, Margaret Atwood, Erykah Badu, Laurie Anderson, and Marisha Pessl. I have recently written about my adoration of Veronica Mars (T-shirt #240), who would be at The Dinner Party if she were a real person and BUFFY, of course, in T-shirt #170. Also, it seems that I kind of forgot about my "Women" category, as it only has one shirt, featuring Katie Holmes, T-shirt #93. I could go on and on. Many shirts have featured women in some way or content about or created by women, such as one of my favorites in T-shirt #161 with TED talk videos by Susan Cain and Jill Bolte Taylor. And I have not even featured the two feminist shirts I own yet. So stay tuned.

So, there's plenty of women featured on the blog even if there are not that many logos specifically for women superheroes or images of women superheroes on shirts. But today's post is about Wonder Woman.

Something about Wonder Woman always kept me at a distance. And I am not sure I know what it is, though I will advance a couple of theories here today. I adore Wonder Girl, Donna Troy, who was and is one of my favorite heroes in comics, along with Batgirl, from a very young age. In fact, my favorite piece of fan fiction, which I am worried I lost a digital copy of when I purged floppy disk when helping my parents move, was a story loosely based on a thirtysomething episode but instead featuring Dick Grayson (Robin/Nightwing) and Donna Troy (Wonder Girl) as a married couple at Christmas time. This would be my ideal Christmas blog post if I could find the digital copy of the story or if I wanted to devote the time to re-type it. Many of the women characters in the Legion of Superheroes are my favorites. I adore Catwoman, Misty Knight, Black Widow, Mera, Pantha, Hellcat, Tigra, and the Scarlet Witch. So, it's no dislike of women that puts me off Wonder Woman.

Possibly, my current feelings about Wonder Woman are colored by how under-whelmed I am by the current Wonder Woman comic book by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Really, there's nothing wrong with the new Wonder Woman comic, and I know many people love it. I have had the debates with fellow readers in Fanfare. The art is gorgeous. I do not have a problem with Cliff Chiang's art. In fact, I quite adore the updated versions of the gods and their images. Very well done. I like the story emphasis on Wonder Woman's posse, which for a time included Hermes (until a falling out) and has consistently featured the New God Orion. Issue #22 did a very good job capping the ongoing storyline about Wonder Woman protecting the baby Zeke. I rather like this review of issue #22, even though I liked the issue more than many of the previous issues. My biggest issue with the comic is that I was not engaged, and I think that the reason for this is the lack of emphasis on Wonder Woman's character. A large cast is a great idea, and I like a large supporting cast for a book like this one, but Azzarello does not manage it well. It's the same problem I had with 100 Bullets. This was a brilliant book for the first thirty or so issues, but as his cast expanded, Azzarello took too much reader engagement for granted, and I would pick up the book and not know what the fuck was going on.

This person seems to sum up how I have been feeling about the new Wonder Woman comic

THanley review of issue #23

I was inspired to feature today's shirt and some Wonder Woman content because the students of my mythology class are doing a project on Wonder Woman and so I dug out the book featured below and had some substantive discussions last week about the character's origin, history, and current portrayal.

This may be contradictory for me to claim to not be a huge Wonder Woman fan and then show the hardcover history by Les Daniels, which is a great book, as well as many comic books. But I maintain that I am just not the biggest Wonder Woman fan, though this changed during two of the comic's runs: the one by George Pérez starting in 1987 (known as volume 2 issues 1-62 essentially) and the William Messner Loebs run following George Pérez (issues 63-100) with art by Lee Moder and others and covers by the amazing Brian Bolland. I have liked others on the book (such as the art of Mike Deodato and Terry Dodson) but those two runs of the book are definitely my favorite with the George Pérez run being the clear winner. More on George Pérez in a subsequent section.

My main reason for not claiming to be a huge Wonder Woman fan is she seemed bigger than life and out of my league. There's a great deal of projection and fantasy to being a comic book fan. Surely, my affection for Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, is as much about her character as it is about my attraction to her type and my fantasy imagining of being involved with her if the comic book world were real or if she were real. Hence my story about the Dick Grayson-Donna Troy happy marriage. I always identified with Dick Grayson, and this I could see myself as him and as such WITH Donna Troy. I could never see myself with Wonder Woman just like I cannot project myself into a relationship with a super model (and really, I don't want to). Maybe it's because Wonder Woman is too ideal and so she doesn't seem like a real woman, just like those strutting, long-legged super models are too idealized and do not seem like real women. Clearly, I am more interested in the real women. Donna Troy feels more real.

I like Wonder Woman, but I would rank other women characters above her if I were to make a list.

Also, the sado-masochism of the Wonder Woman comics seemed to contradict the feminist roots of the book, despite the creator's claim that women are superior to men and one day will rule the world. Check out the "Female Bonding" article by Pereira and the THanley WW-Beyonce post in the links below. Even after the Comic Code lowered its boom on WW, there were too many submissive, bondage, and strange psycho-sexual stories about Wonder Woman that did not "feel" right, as evidenced best about my first Wonder Woman comic (see farther below), which I bought or was given at the age of six and was clearly a formative influence on me.

Nevertheless, Wonder Woman served as a feminist icon, especially for Gloria Steinem with her launch of Ms. Magazine in 1972. I have not problem with that identification. I just don't think the comic lived up to its feminist identification until George Pérez came along.






FEMALE BONDING - The Strange History of Wonder Woman - Hot & Bothered
by KL Pereira

The “Wonder Woman Was Created For Girls” Myth OR Beyonce’s Super Bowl Halftime Show As An Example Of William Moulton Marston’s Approach To Feminism
by THanley

A very cool documentary about Wonder Woman: LINK HERE.


This is the cover of my first Wonder Woman comic, issue #176, published in June of 1968. This comic over disturbs me like so many of the Wonder Woman comics from the Golden and Silver Ages mainly because I do not like seeing women in submissive, confined, or inferior positions, and I did not like it from a very young age (I was six when I got this comic). On the other hand, comic books in which Catwoman or Poison Ivy has Batman trussed up like a hog for slaughter were a different matter entirely, but that's a story for another time.

SIDENOTE: I have been trying to find the earliest issue covers each time I write about a major superhero. Look for me to collect all these covers of my earliest comic books in a single blog post (okay, maybe two) in the near future.

I did not buy another Wonder Woman comic or have one given to me for quite some time. Shortly after issue 176, Wonder Woman entered a stupid, "mod" period.

Not everyone felt it was stupid. COMICVINE ON ISSUE 178.

Then again, others hated it. Stripped of her powers, Wonder Woman became more interested in shoes and hat boxes and fashion than saving the world. It was idiotic. Okay, yeah, she's a secret agent, but still... it's dreck.

I would not buy another Wonder Woman comic for six years: March of 1974.

Wonder  Woman #211.

See the image of Wonder Woman #211 below.

The George Pérez era

Though I am not the world's greatest Wonder Woman fan, I am a huge fan of George Pérez, and when he took over and re-launched Wonder Woman in 1987, I was completely devoted. I loved it. I bought every issue. I bought the poster. I hung on the edge of my seat, drooling over every image. every gorgeous page. I already devoted much love to George in T-shirt #144, when I also shared some of the beautiful George Pérez Wonder Woman art.

George Pérez's wonderful Wonder Woman comic is not only my favorite comic from this time period, but one of my favorite super hero comics series of all time. For someone who did not and does not count himself as a huge Wonder Woman fan, I feel that this is quite an achievement.

George Pérez is just brilliant. As I noted, I wrote about George before, and I am honored to count him among my Facebook friends.

George Pérez is one of my favorite comic creators of all time, and I think it's time I give him his own category.

George Pérez's Wonder Woman comic came at a time when DC was re-vitalizing its heroes after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which George Pérez also drew with Marv Wolfman at the writing helm. With comic books like The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One as well as John Byrne's relaunch of Superman (which is one of the good things he has done in my opinion), it was time for Wonder Woman to also see a new vision as one of the top three (supposedly) Franchise heroes for the company.

Much of the following will be paraphrased from Les Daniels' book Wonder Woman the Complete Story as seen in the picture above. I will cite the quotes though the not the paraphrases.

Smartly, George sought the input of women, from his wife Carol, to his new editor Karen Berger (almost solely responsible for DC's success with the Vertigo line), Jenette Khan, and even Ms. Magazine publisher and noted feminist Gloria Steinem. George said he "wanted to make her [Wonder Woman] a nice person. I probably went a bit overboard where the action was sacrificed because of that, but I was trying to make a her a peace character. It's a contradiction in terms---having a crime fighter who's a peacekeeper" (Daniels, pg.169).

One thing that George Pérez did that I admired greatly was to return Wonder Woman to her roots as a character born of GREEK MYTHOLOGY and to eliminate the references to Roman mythology creeping in since the 1940s. "William Moulton Marston had no doubt mixed the two cultures deliberately, using the more familiar Roman names for figures he wanted readers to recognize immediately (Mars) and less familiar Greek names for figures he wanted to disguise (Aphrodite)" (Daniel, pg. 169-170), Pérez rejected the idea that a love goddess would have been the leading patron of the warrior Amazons. He also jettisoned the Marston idea that "women would tame men through erotic enslavement" (Daniels, pg, 170) as a core concept in the book.

Pérez also did away with Wonder Woman's "Kryptonite," her weakness that when she is shackled she loses her powers. Pérez dealt with this issue head on in episode #19. Though he showed Diana bound on the cover, he did so because the point of the story is that she breaks out of the chains.

George Pérez stated about his work on the book: "I was trying do a humanist, rather than a strictly feminist, view of the character. I didn't want her to come out as confrontational" (Daniels, pg. 170).

He succeeded brilliantly. It's great to see all the comic covers for the George Pérez run in the Comic Vine pages. There's a fair amount of content both on George Pérez's wiki page and the Wonder Woman Wiki page on Pérez's run on the book and the stories he created, especially the events leading up to the DC crossover The War of the Gods and later the final story with Donna Troy's character. And somewhere, I own the poster shown below, though I do not think my copy is in very good condition as it was taped to the wall of my bedroom for maybe as many as 20 years.

So, is this enough content?

Two last things. I was not overly thrilled with Wonder Woman re-design as seen here, though some of the Deodato art was very cool in those issues (even though the re-design images here are by Bolland).

It's also interesting to see fan art, such as these faux Rolling Stone covers. I am not a fan of over-sexualizing Wonder Woman, though these images are clearly meant to be swipes of images from actual Rolling Stone covers, which is mildly interesting as surely we would have such issues devoted to super heroes if they really existed.


This blog entry would not be complete without some videos. Find below a clever faux-movie trailer for a Wonder Woman movie that a fan cut together from various films, including the unaired Wonder Woman TV pilot. It's a pretty good mash-up. Following that video, I share a pretty good origin video with comic book clips, and then two clips from the 1970s Wonder Woman TV show with Lynda Carter, which, YES, I watched religiously. I was especially found of Debra Winger as Wonder Girl, as I am a big fan of Wonder Girl, so I had to include a clip from that show.

Wonder Woman Movie Trailer

Fan edited trailer from the TV pilot?

Superhero Origins: Wonder Woman

Fan made composite from comic book stories.

Wonder Woman & Wonder Girl
From the 1970s TV show with Lynda Carter and Debra Winger

Wonder Woman - Season 1 Tribute

Clips from 1970s TV show



I am trying to keep this limited, but there's a lot of great covers.


COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE BLOG YEAR - 118 shirts remaining

- chris tower - first draft - 1311.23 - 19:53
second draft - 1311.24 - 12:09