After much pontification, Michelle MacLaren has been tapped to direct the 2017-slated release of the Wonder Woman feature film. MacLaren has directing and producing credits that include The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad. Not a bad rap sheet, if I do say so myself. DC made it loud and clear that they were on the hunt for a female director for the silver screen debut of the amazing Amazon.
“It is a good day to die.”
-- Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
Star Trek has always had a complicated relationship with its past. As forward thinking as the show is, it remains stubbornly mired in the time period in which it was made. The cheesy sets and optimism of TOS mark it as a child of the ‘60s, the wall-to-wall carpeting and a therapist on the bridge crew mark TNG as a product of the ‘80s, the jittery camera work and focus on mindless action mark the reboot as modern, and so on. Subsequent entries in the franchise always struggle to differentiate themselves from their predecessors, and sometimes these go far enough to suggest embarrassment. To reach a wider audience, the new entry has to look down, blush, and mutter, “Okay, I guess the Gorn look a little silly now . . . but there’s some other cool things . . . ” As much guff as DS9 gets for being un-Treklike, it is the only one of the modern shows that proudly wears its love for TOS on its sleeve.
After a wildly successful and groundbreaking 3-year run on Wonder Woman by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang, DC has passed the creative reigns over to superstar artist and co-writer David Finch alongside his co-writer wife and relative newcomer Meredith Finch. I was lucky enough to chat with Meredith about her run on WW and what Diana means as a character in the following interview.
“That’s the thing about love. No one really understands it, do they?”
Fanfic is the great engine driving all fictional writing. Stop laughing, I’m serious. Well, sort of. For one thing, fanfic is older than you think it is. Did you think the Holy Grail was originally part of the pagan Celtic myth that became known as the King Arthur stories? Do you think Homer intended that Aeneas be the founder of Rome? Did you think Alan Moore actually invented any of the characters he has written about for the last several decades? And, just to be clear, I’m not exempting myself from this. Would Undead On Arrival exist without the noir classic Dead On Arrival? (Answer: no. No, it would not.) Much of writing is taking a story you love, then bending it to accommodate the characters or ideas you always thought it should have. I’ve said it before, but sometimes Spock has to be a werewolf.
I got 199 problems and the Savage Dragon ain't one of them. Savage Dragon, by Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen, has reason to celebrate. In a current market that is plagued by low-run numbers, frequent creator changes, and endless relaunches and reboots, Savage Dragon is on the precipice of its 200th issue - all by the same creator.
“I’m nothing like I expected. Life after life, with each new personality stampeding around in your head, you get desires that scare you, dreams that used to belong to someone else.”
-- Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
Like any occupation, writers have their own jargon, a combination shorthand that allows them to communicate complex ideas with one another efficiently and a way to exclude the outsiders from the conversation. Different kinds of writers have their own dialects, as well, and though there is some overlap, it’s not complete. This is why you will hear novelists like me fretting about our count, while TV writers will put a certain joke on the roof. And, all of us, regardless of medium, lay pipe. (I assure you, that’s one of those things that only sounds obscene, like “quarter pounder at the Golden Arches,” or “performing oral sex on a woman.”) A piece of slang most often associated with TV writers is the A-, B-, and C-stories (or -plots), a shorthand that refers to the different stories that happen in the same episode. The A-plot is the main one, the B- the secondary, and so on down. It’s possible to have a show with only an A-story (“Necessary Evil” from earlier this season is a good example.), but you couldn’t have one with only a C-plot. This week’s episode, “Playing God,” arguably goes all the way down to a D-story, and it’s a royal mess. Not too shocking, then, that a Dax-centric episode has an identity crisis.
“Who is to say that our definition of life is the only valid one?”
-- Constable Odo
When genre fiction is about ideas, it’s about the big ones. The definition of life as applied to artificial organisms has been an important convention in both science fiction, horror, and fantasy since Mary Shelley wrote her masterpiece. I’ve toyed with the idea myself, somewhat glibly in Get Blank, and with far more depth (and gore) in The Dollmaker. Why? Because it’s fascinating. To me, there is nothing more tantalizing than the idea of a creature made by human hands that has both free will and the intelligence to use it. What would their thought processes be without millions of years of evolution shaping them? What kind of being would deeply flawed humans be capable of creating? What the hell do they want? It’s a well Star Trek would return to over and over, most notably with Data. DS9 dips its toes into it this week, in an uncharacteristically lighthearted, but still very good episode.
"A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of both women and men."
And, really, is there anyone more qualified to define "feminism" than Gloria Steinem? After all, she was (and is) the poster person for feminism in modern HERstory. By that definition, I would give a resounding "Hell yeah!" to the question of whether Wonder Woman is a feminist or not.
“The common conceit that the human species has evolved over the last several centuries is ludicrous. What gains we have made have come at the cost of our own core identities.”
One of the ironclad rules of writing is that no villain thinks of themselves as a villain. It’s also one of the most frequently broken rules out there. Granted, it’s very rare to actually have the bad guy say, “Because I’m evil!” and follow it up with a Haunted Mansion laugh, but murky motivations have led to a phenomenon my larger social group has dubbed Doin’ It for Darkness. This is when a villain’s motives have no larger purpose than pure evil, even if they’re completely idiotic on the face of it. Unsurprisingly, these kinds of motives are most common in paranormal action shows, but they’re present even when the genre doesn’t easily support them. That’s why it’s such a pleasure to see a truly evil person who honestly believes they’re the paragon of virtue, like the baddie in this week’s episode.