As the new writer on Wonder Woman, Meredith Finch has her work cut out for her. Not only has she inherited a Wonder Woman who's now the God of War and Queen of the Amazons, but one who's starring in a couple other books where she plays even more roles in the DC Universe.
Including, according to Finch, the role of "symbol of equality and empowerment."
But with all the clutter in Diana's life, Finch has decided not to shy away from all those roles — in fact, she's making it the focus of her first storyline, which kicks off this week in Wonder Woman #36. In the issue, Diana is confronted by multiple challenges and tries to do her best to juggle her new roles.
Finch, a new writer for DC after breaking into the business with Zenoscope, is working on Wonder Woman with her husband, superstar artist David Finch. But the scripts are all Meredith's, and as she follows the acclaimed run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, the writer is hoping to respect what they've done with the character and show what happens next. Newsarama talked with Meredith Finch to find out more.
Newsarama: Meredith, you've been around the comic industry for what… decades now, right? What sparked your interest in writing? Were you always a writer? And how did you get started in the business?
Meredith Finch: I have always loved books. When I was a little girl, my grandmother introduced me to fantasy fiction and I was hooked. I think that comics are a natural extension of that. They are about larger-than-life characters doing extraordinary things.
David and I have talked about me writing comics for years, specifically creator-owned, but time has always been a factor. Last fall, David really pushed me to take the plunge. He approached a few smaller publishers to see if they would be interested in taking me on as a writer. Zenoscope took a chance on me. I could never have imagined that 10 months after my first published comic, I would be writing Wonder Woman.
Nrama: How do you script for David? Do you talk over ideas with him at all, since he's the artist on the book, tailoring plots and scripts to your artist's strengths? Are your scripts detailed, traditional scripts, or can you use shorthand since you're working in the same office?
Finch: Watching David work all these years has definitely given me an inside track into what he likes and what, for him, is the ideal balance between story development and great action shots. I always try to make sure that if I’m going to do a double-page spread, it’s going to be something that he will enjoy drawing, especially since they take more than twice as long as any one page to draw.
But I really appreciate that he respects my story and what I’m trying to do with the book. We are working on our third issue right now and there are times I wish our home life ran as smoothly as our work life.
Nrama: What are the biggest benefits of working with your spouse?
Finch: I think that for both of us, the biggest benefit is that the person you are working with is not just motivated to achieve their own success, but to help you achieve yours as well. I could not ask for David to be more supportive of me, and my career, on every level.
Nrama: And what are the biggest challenges?
Finch: The biggest challenge is definitely taking criticism. It can sometimes feel more personal since it’s coming from someone whose opinion I really value.
Early on, when I was trying to figure out whom Diana was, and what story I wanted to tell, we had a few fights. Art corrections can sometimes cause them as well, but at the end of the day we never take anything personally. I think that it just means that we are both really passionate about what we do.
Nrama: Let's talk about Wonder Woman as a character. What was your first exposure to the character? Were you a fan?
Finch: My first exposure to Wonder Woman was the 1970’s TV series with Lynda Carter. The last 13 years of my life have been pretty focused on my three boys, so if it wasn’t something the boys were into, or David was drawing, I didn’t have much time to pursue reading comics for pleasure. Ultimately, I think that has worked in my favor. I have always loved Wonder Woman as a character, but my childhood recollections have had time to be molded by the incredible, strong women I have encountered over the course of my lifetime.
Nrama: What kind of research did you do on the character? Or did you avoid getting into too much of her history, since the New 52 starts fresh?
Finch: My focus really was on the New 52 run by Brian and Cliff. The pre-52 work on Wonder Woman will always be special and I don’t know if there is another character in comics who went through the evolution that Diana did or had as much impact from a societal point of view.
That being said, Diana is a woman of the 21st century now, and I want her stories to reflect the world in which we live, rather than retelling stories from her past.
Nrama: How would you describe the Wonder Woman you're hoping to portray?
Finch: Diana is a woman in transition right now. When Brian and Cliff ended their run, she was the God of War, Queen of the Amazons, member of the Justice League and Superman’s girlfriend. I really want to explore the impact of those different and sometimes conflicting roles on how she sees herself.
Nrama: Some online fans reacted to David's mention of the word "feminism" in an interview earlier this year, and his reluctance to label the title that way. Just to clarify, is Wonder Woman a feminist?
Finch: Absolutely, Wonder Woman is a feminist icon. Throughout the course of her history, she has been a role model of strength and empowerment for young women, and today, those young women of the '60s and '70s are doctors and lawyers and executives for some of the world's biggest corporations. But I think that more importantly, Wonder Woman is a humanist and I would say that today, she is simply a symbol of equality and empowerment.
Nrama: The title's central conflict so far in the New 52 has surrounded the throne of Olympus. Upcoming solicitations mention that you're still playing with the idea of Diana being the God of War, and you mentioned that earlier. How much do the gods come into play in this story?
Finch: The focus of our story is much more about what it means for Diana now that she is the God of War and much less about the supporting cast of characters from Olympus.
Nrama: Can you describe the central conflict in your story?
Finch: The central conflict of our story is an internal one. When I think about what Diana/Wonder Woman represents… the word that comes to mind is love. Everything she does is based around the intense love she has for humanity. How will she reconcile that now that she is the God of War?
Nrama: Will there be a focus on any other Amazons in your story?
Finch: The Amazons are a central part of our story. Dessa will definitely be back, but we have had a lot of fun creating new characters, some with a very personal stake in our new queen of Themyiscira.
Nrama: Can you tell us any of the other supporting characters that show up?
Finch: Unfortunately I can’t say much beyond saying that we will see the Justice League and the Amazons. It’s very important to me that anyone we bring into the book serves to develop the story we are telling.
Nrama: During Brian and Cliff's run, there was a bit of flirtation with Orion, and obviously elsewhere, Wonder Woman is dating Superman. Does Wonder Woman's love life come into play in your title at all?
Finch: David and I have talked a lot about this. Being in a relationship is a very large part of anyone’s life. But there is a book specifically designed to tell the story of the relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman. I will bring that into our book, only in as much as it advances the story we want to tell.
Nrama: Since you're wrapping up this first story arc in March, do you know yet if you're on the book when it comes back next summer, after Convergence?
Finch: I'm writing Wonder Woman!!! This job really is a dream, come true. I have already started talking to both editorial and David about what I’d like to do next with Diana. I’ll keep telling my stories as long as DC will have me.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about your work on Wonder Woman?
Finch: I just want to say that I hope people enjoy our book as much as we have enjoyed working on it. I have been so blessed to work with my favorite artist on my absolute favorite character.