"That was the first time I ever got applause going to the bathroom."
So was the introduction made by Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone, as she was the last panelist to make it into the Jim Mooney Room Saturday afternoon at Wizard World Chicago. Accompanied by former lead writer Greg Rucka and current artist Aaron Lopresti, a spirited and relatively brief panel was held discussing the pros and cons of creating Wonder Woman stories.
When asked about the motivating factors of handling the Amazing Amazon, Rucka stated that "it's not corny to want to honor the character." Simone added that while it's a challenge to embrace a character with more than sixty years of history, it was not something she could shy away from. Lopresti was quick to add that while to "do her right" visually is a big objective is his work, another goal has been to avoid the cheesecake that Rucka mentioned held the character back a decade ago. When the artistic side of the character came up, easily half the room was stunned with Gail Simone's news that Michael Turner had passed away the night before. Simone even mentioned how humbling it was early on in her day that she saw a convention attendee wearing w Wonder Woman t-shirt illustrated by Turner.
For a character he no longer writes, Rucka was particularly impassioned on his take on Wonder Woman and the stories he created for her. It was abundantly clear that he was not ready to leave the title when he did and that it was editorial mandate. He expressed regret that Diana's infamous execution of Maxwell Lord was not completely told in terms of the character's redemption, or arguably lack thereof, and was quick to note that Simone was never expected to follow up on what he originally orchestrated. As for what separates Diana from Superman and Batman, Simone suggested that of the three, she is the best war tactician, having been raised as royalty in a warrior culture. Of any DC Universe hero, Wonder Woman is the best at seeing out a conflict from beginning to end with the best intentions in mind.
Simone mentioned, with agreement from the rest of the panel, that she has been able to get consistent feedback from previous creators who handled Wonder Woman before, including George Perez, Allan Heinberg and Phil Jimenez (who happens to be working on a Wonder Woman encyclopedia as we speak). With other characters, that doesn't always seem to be the case. In terms of her approach to writing the current book, Simone said she does not do it through a feminine filter in that she acknowledges her unique position as one of the first females to write Wonder Woman, but she would handle Superman or anyone else similarly.
As for what to look for in the future, Simone handled most of the hints, including that a new villain is on the horizon named Genocide (the character's notable lack of a rogue's gallery was brought up by the entire panel as well as the need to create new adversaries). Without giving anything away, on the horizon there will be a war between two gods, a male Wonder Woman introduced -- however that works -- an inclusion of Donna Troy into the mix, and a major epic that will bring many of the current and previous plotlines together.