I must confess, my first reaction to the news that Wonder Woman is queer (several same-sex relationships on Paradise Island—I’m not sure from the discussion at the link if she’s only interested in women or men are an option too) was “but she’s straight!”
And certainly she’s always been shown in straight relationships in the past (though during the George Perez reboot she was pretty much celibate). But it sounds like Greg Rucka’s reboot (much as I could do without WW having another of those) will be truer to Diana’s character than the most recent Azzarello/Chiang version, in which the Amazons rape and kill men for reproduction and Diana’s a daughter of Zeus engaged in internecine Olympian power struggles far removed from the human world. Or the end-of-the-Silver-Age non-super Diana Prince. Or the recent portrayal of Diana in Justice League as a bloodthirsty warrior looking for things she can kill. Rucka, by contrast, describes her as having “a very active inclusivity. That’s just part of what she is. Her arms are always open wide. There’s room for everybody. That’s an active part of her. I mean, Batman doesn’t have an issue, but he doesn’t spend his days thinking about how best can he understand his fellow man.” That sounds a lot closer to Diana.
All things considered, giving her same-sex relationships on Paradise Island is a minor change by comparison. So my bad. As an acquaintance says online, writers can transform almost everything about a character without generating half the “that’s not the Super Hero I know” protests as making a character black, gay, etc. I guess I’m guilty.
I will make the minor caveat that the Perez reboot did establish many of the Amazons are in same-sex relationships (some do choose to be celibate, some follow “the way of Narcissus”) so that part isn’t completely new. But it sounds like this will be more explicit (hence my title). As noted at the Rucka link (and plenty of others have made that point), a lot of readers still assume heterosexuality is the default: if someone’s not explicitly QUILTBAG, they must be hetero.
So yes, this is a big deal in a good way. Though I’m slightly annoyed that while DC is open to established female characters swinging both ways (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and I believe Black Canary has described herself as “80 percent straight”), it rarely does this with established male characters (Constantine is the most high-profile).
There was another point in Rucka’s interview, regarding Diana’s motives for leaving Paradise Island, that I’ll get to in a future post.