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Why Can't Wonder Woman Have a New Costume?

Neither Superman nor Batman's "classic" costumes are their originals, but any attempt to alter Wonder Woman's even slightly is met with widespread outcry. Why?

Take a good look at Superman or Batman's original, 1930s costumes. They're completely different from either their current incarnation or even what most consider their "classic" looks. Now look at Wonder Woman's. In sixty years, not one stitch is different.

Batman and Superman both have established costumes that are considered their "classics," for Supes it is, more or less, his Silver Age costume. The darker blue, the larger symbol, the red and gold are all completely iconic, much moreso than his original look. For Batman it gets a little more complex as his Neal Adams incarnation is usually the go-to for the look, even if the color palette and bat-symbol have changed.

And there was some backlash for these, and especially for the most recent, changes. But nothing compared to the vitriolic, frothing rage that accompanied a short jacket and pants for Wonder Woman's out-dated look. So much so that DC actually rolled back to it and kept it through the New-52 relaunch. But why her? Why is it SO important for Wonder Woman to keep that look? Well the sad truth may be: it's all she's got.

If it weren't for the coloration and style, could you even tell when this was drawn?
If it weren't for the coloration and style, could you even tell when this was drawn?
== TEASER ==
Pictured: Not even a good idea at the time
Pictured: Not even a good idea at the time

Quick! Name the most influential Batman story ever written! Not necessarily the best, but the one that defines who Bats is in the modern world. Did you say Long Halloween? Maybe Hush? Dark Knight Returns? Maybe Death in the Family if you've forgotten Joker becoming the ambassador to Iran?

How about Supes? It gets a little tougher because, in my opinion, Superman is just about toughest character to write for in all of comics. But you've still got Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Superman For All Seasons, or Birthright.

Now quick: name the one arc that totally defines the character of Wonder Woman. I'm so into comics that I've opened a store AND write about them for a living, and I can't answer that question. The current New-52 incarnation is actually one of the best, most solid pieces of character-defining writing the character has ever received and while Straczynski had an epic run, I would say that as a character nothing really happened to Wonder Woman herself. It seems to be the same reason we can't get a WW movie, despite he being one of the "Big 3" of DC. I also just this second realized that she doesn't have a proper nickname like "Bats" and "Supes." Or "The Dark Knight" and "The Blue Boyscout." Or "The Bat" and "The Man of Steel."

To go off on a slight, but related, tangent: Red Letter Media recently completed a masterful deconstruction of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In it, the salient point was made that, despite the great movies and fond memories: Jones isn't in any way an interesting character. This was driven home by the host's hypothetical situation that if Jones' trademark fedora, leather jacket and whip were removed, what would set the character apart from the myriad other pulp adventurers? As much fun as those movies are, and I personally enjoy the first three very much, it's very true: Indiana Jones is defined more by his appearance than by his personality. And the same could be said of Wonder Woman. She's never had a writer with a steady enough hand to really nail down what makes her HER. One arc has her as a tough-as-nails warrior who has no time for petty concerns and others have her as a more nurturing, motherly figure trying to protect everyone she can.

Pictured: A reasonable evolution.
Pictured: A reasonable evolution.

Putting aside her BDSM-laden origin, (ah, phrases you only hear in comics) which was also titanically sexist, what defines Wonder Woman that doesn't define a myriad of other heroes? Determination? Easily the most generic personality trait to ascribe to a superhero. Caring? Is she? She's often portrayed much more as a militaristic-minded, hardened fighter.

I'm sure the comment section of this very article will provide many traits that could accurately describe Wonder Woman, but I wonder how many will be contradictory and from storylines that are relatively close together.

We've seen Diana get an update with the latest issue of her title, but this feels much more like a temporary thing, though personally I think it could stand to stick around for awhile. With Carol Danvers getting an amazing, modern redesign, isn't it about time to retire the 1930s-style one-piece swimsuit for female superheroes? Isn't it time for Wonder Woman's costume to evolve along with her character?