I am a woman with few strongly held beliefs: Monkeys make everything funnier; a good skirt can be infinitely more comfortable than a pair of pants; and Superman should be messed with as little as possible. I'm also not the kind of comic book fan to get all worked up by rumor and speculation. (I used to be, but it didn't do anyone any good, me least of all.) I like to keep a nice wait-and-see attitude, enjoying what I am currently reading, and worrying about whether I will enjoy what comes next when it actually sees print. Can you see how these things come in conflict when it comes to the announced reboot of the DC Universe? Wonder Woman is already wearing pants, Superman is clearly being messed with, and there's not a monkey in sight to make me smile.
If I'm understanding everything correctly (and I am almost certainly not), the whole thing boils down to an issue of pants, of both the US and UK variety. It started about a year ago (I think, who really remembers?) when they decided to take away Wonder Woman's pants, of the UK variety, and replace them with pants, of the US variety. Now Bleeding Cool is reporting a rumor that, post-reboot, all the ladies of the DCU will have to wear pants:
I understand that there is an editorial edict for the DC Comics superlaunch that their female superheroes wear more… practical clothing. So Wonder Woman gets to keep her trousers. But the likes of Supergirl will be redesigned so they aren’t running around in a little skirt flashing their panties at every available opportunity either. Female superhero characters will have their legs covered.
I'm going to give DC the benefit of the doubt and assume that this isn't entirely the case. There are many ways of making the costumes of female characters look practical and respectable without issuing some arbitrary and nonsensical edict about everyone covering their legs. A company that has many women working for them, and hopefully some female artists working with Jim Lee on the character redesigns, should be able to understand that.
Unfortunately, looking at Jim Lee's version of Wonder Woman, I'm not sure I see that. It's largely the same as the costume introduced in Wonder Woman #600 (minus the jacket), and I am still confused by it. Is there really a point in covering her legs when you're barely covering her chest? If there is any truth to the rumor at all, I hope it's simply that they are making an effort to think more carefully about what they have the female characters wear, making sure the costumes are both appropriate for the character and the audience. And maybe not show so much ass crack. (Jamal Igle's Supergirl run and Aaron Lopresti's Wonder Woman run could be the standard by which these things are judged.) I don't hold out much hope for it though, and if this version of Wonder Woman is anything to go by, Powergirl fans have nothing to worry about.
Furthermore, with Wonder Woman being drawn by Cliff Chiang, as was just announced this morning, it won't matter what she wears. She will be gorgeous no matter what. Plus he has her in proper boots now, so that's good.
Apparently it's not just the women who are having pants related issues though. When Jim Lee's JLA was first released, I was too busy thinking about how uncomfortable all those high collars looked, as well as the ugliness of the Superman shield, to really pay attention to the fact that Superman had lost his classic red underwear. I also haven't been paying as much attention to the Superman lawsuit as I should have been. I had been aware of the ruling awarding ownership of certain aspects of Superman's origin to the Siegels. (You can read this Variety article, if you don't know the details.) I wasn't aware of any rulings that would affect the most iconic costume in all of superhero comics. A recent Variety article explains it as such:
The Siegel and Shuster estates could wind up owning some parts of the Superman story while DC Comics owns others. The estates could get Superman's blue leotard, red cape and boots, plus an ability to leap tall buildings while DC retains villains like Lex Luthor plus Superman's ability to fly.
Now, I don't really understand all the legal stuff, mostly because I find it duller than that Green Lantern: First Flight animated movie I have never been able to sit all the way through. I do understand that the Superman depicted among Jim Lee's rebooted JLA clearly has a red cape. It's right there, attached to the neck with that stupid looking high collar. So why no red underwear? I know some people find it goofy, but it's an important part of the costume. It breaks up the big, boring field of blue that makes up the rest of the costume, while also tying it together with the cape. That little red belt just isn't going to cut it. Frankly, I think Superman can afford to lose Jor-El and Lara more than he can afford to lose a part of his ensemble. (After Superman Returns and Smallville, aren't we all a bit sick of Jor-El anyway?) If it turns out he also doesn't have his red boots, that's an even bigger problem. I'm having horrible visions of him having something similar to Wonder Woman's current weird stirrup thing.
I'm definitely on the side of the Siegel and Shuster heirs, and creator rights in general, and I think it's time that DC/Warner Brothers found a way to settle things with them and write them a big fat check. I'm still not too concerned about the DCU reboot, but an ugly Superman costume is a deal breaker for me. Of course, since the red cape is still firmly in place, maybe it really is just an issue of pants. Personally, I stand firmly in favor of the UK variety, and think the US variety is highly overrated. Maybe both Wonder Woman and Superman should just give up on both varieties and wear skirts. Or a kilt. Superman's new origin could be that, instead of coming from Krypton, he could be sent from the equally alien Scotland. What do you think?