Fisking Barbara Ellen Over Superman And Wonder Woman

Barbara Ellen, columnist for The Observer newspaper wrote about three topics of international note this weekend. First, the trial of Anders Behring Breivik and how people shouldn't publicise his name. In an article with his name in the headline and a big photograph of him. An assault on the elderly woman who tried to restore a 120-year-old fresco by herself. And finally the coupling up of Superman and Wonder Woman with the subhead "Is this really a job for Superman?" Let's have a read.

The DC Comics revamped range of Marvel comics will include a comic (Justice League 12), where Superman and Wonder Woman get to have (small children, look away now) "special cuddles".

We also look forward to the Guardian Media Group's range of News International newspapers covering the story.

An image has been released of them snogging, necking, making out, whatever you wish to call it.

To quote John Cleese, "What's wrong with a good old fashioned kiss?"

DC Comics says that their romance is not a "one issue stunt" and the super-coupling will continue causing heavy breathing and excitement among comic nerds worldwide.

They really didn't say that last bit. I think you did, Barbara.

(Who perhaps should direct their energies into finding themselves real human lady friends, but, hey… the nerd-heart wants what the nerd-heart wants.)

And apparently can't be women, or at least heterosexual women. Instead they can only be straight males or lesbian females, but neither of which can be lucky in love. And heaven help the gay Superman readers (of which there appear to be plenty), apparently they need to be converted.

But I do hope the next novel you read, the next movie you see, the next opera you enjoy, the next play you attend, you are as critical of the audience for being sexually-deprived nerds. Start with Romeo And Juliet.

The revamped Superman has his parents killed off and the marriage to Lois Lane excised from his personal history, as if it never happened, which seems a tad rude. Sadly, Superman also no longer wears his pants outside his tights. I understand the need to "darken" superheroes or, to be more precise, re-darken them, but there was something rather camp and engaging about the early TV takes on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Must the comedy always be completely leached out of them?

So apparently the comic book versions must be written to resemble the early TV versions, despite being a different medium, decades ago. It may be worth pointing out that the Superman and Wonder Woman TV shows were intended to be straight action dramas, as was Batman initially. But if camp comedy TV versions are to emulated rather than the originals, I look forward to all war dramas being rewritten to emulate 'Allo 'Allo.

As for Superman and Wonder Woman's romance – at the risk of sounding cynical, aren't we all supermen and wonder women in the early days of relationships, when we are on our best behaviour?


Only time will tell how the golden couple will fare once the novelty fades and grim reality sets in. "You can pick up buildings and bend bridges with your bare hands, but you can't put your own cape in the laundry basket?" Or: "What does a guy have to do to get his leotard washed round here?"

I see. You have noted subtext but seem to be acting as if it isn't intentionally there. As if writers haven't considered this. And won't be writing in that fashion. Who don't understand allegory as if that isn't the driving force of many a superhero comic. Or at least bear in mind the common arc of a relationship. After all it's just comics.

So, good luck to the Marvel reboot, but some of us might hold out for Justice League 13. If there's any justice in the world of superheroes, Lois will show up, none too chuffed about the whole airbrushed from history thing.

Again, I love the Associated Newspaper's version of The Observer, don't you? Lois has been appearing in Superman comics for the last year with a new beau. She'll probably be fine.

Is this really a job for Superman? Possibly more so than writing for The Observer being a job for Barbara Ellen. Even The Daily Mail was more accurate with greater insight…

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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