Sporadic Sequential
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Shōjo WW Watch: Day Five

Still no announcement from DC about when Pantoja's Princess of Paradise will be published, but there's plenty of discussion about the proposal around the comics blogosphere.

Over at MangaBlog, readers are divided over whether or not a manga reimagining of Wonder Woman is a good idea. Tina Anderson isn't fond of "making manga from Western comics" and if I think of the unholy abomination that was the Marvel Mangaverse, I'm inclined to agree with her. However, I think that Pantoja's Wonder Woman manga pitch looks like a special case where subject matter (Wonder Woman's origin and roots in Greek myth) and style (shōjo manga presentation) match up almost perfectly. As David Welsh wrote in the previous post's comments, "how much more 'magic girl' can you get?"

Unlike her male counterparts in DC's Triumvirate, Wonder Woman doesn't suffer from overexposure. Heck, she only has one regular book, and that doesn't even come out monthly. And looking at DC's backlist, there aren't very many special projects focusing on WW. (In contrast, just try to count the number of Batman books available for order every month. I just tallied up the number of books tagged as "DC UNIVERSE: BATMAN" under the DC Backlist section of this month's order form and it came to 134 Bat-books. "DC UNIVERSE: SUPERMAN" books number 83. Meanwhile, poor WW doesn't even get her own section, instead lumped in with the rest of the "DC UNIVERSE" backlist. But then I suppose fourteen books isn't enough to justify its own section)

If DC were really serious about trying to establish Wonder Woman as one of their "Big Three" characters, I think putting out a manga version of the character would be a good way to do that. It might not increase her importance within the "regular" DCU, but it would probably boost her profile in terms of sales and visibility within the popular culture. Even if young girls aren't familiar with or interested in Wonder Woman enough to seek out a manga version of her on their own, I can imagine their parents thinking such a book might make a good gift: "Hey, look at this Wonder Woman book. I remember watching the TV show when I was a kid! And the art style reminds me of all those 'manga' books Jennifer is always reading. Maybe she'd like this, too." (And if DC packaged and marketed the book properly, I really do think manga readers would at least check it out. Based on her sample pages, it looks like Pantoja really "gets" manga and isn't just trying to ape an art style in a crude way that would end up turning off mangaphiles.)

At Resplendent Beard, readers are wondering what other superheroes might benefit from a manga makeover. David Alexander McDonald shares his wonderful Supergirl manga pitch, which sounds like more fun than the last three Supergirl series put together:
A few years ago I pitched Dan DiDio a manga-style take on Supergirl that had Kara as a pop idol, Superman as the lead singer of the Justice League touring rock band (with the Flash as the Fastest Lead Guitarist Alive), and Lex Luthor as an Evial Music Mogul. Obviously it didn't get picked up, and we ended up with Britney Kara instead, but it was fun to do.
It's like Scott Pilgrim with superheroes! It'd be huge!! (So of course DC passed on it.)

Meanwhile, over at The Beat, reader reaction to Pantoja's sample pages is overwhelmingly positive (yeah, I'm just going to ignore that one idiotic comment completely, especially since Heidi deflated it nicely):
Seeing the manga page, I kinda wish DC would actually publish a manga WONDER WOMAN–as a one-shot, if nothing else.

Tintin’s pages are bosting. Shame it wasn’t picked up.

It’s a pity that DC passed on Pantoja’s “Wonder Woman” pitch. Giving this venerable superheroine the manga treatment seems like a great way to introduce legions of younger female readers to superhero comics in a visual language they appreciate.

I got excited for a minute, seeing those manga style pages, that there might be something interesting and new to read.

That manga page is everything I’d love WW to be.

Lea Hernandez even reveals that she attempted to champion Pantoja's proposal (alas, to no avail):
Tintin’s pages actually moved me to write to both Paul Levitz and Shelley Bond at DC and say, “You really need to do this. You really could do a comics line for girls, with your characters, and I’d be willing to work in ‘mainstream’ comics again for that.”

Paul wrote me back every time and pointed me to Shelley. I never heard from Shelley.
Finally, Tom Foss gushes (scroll down to the end), "I also think that the manga Wonder Woman pitch that's been making the rounds looks fantastic," and he doesn't even read manga! C'mon, DC: Can't you see that you have a potential crossover hit on your hands? Why not capitalize on this excitement and give Pantoja's Wonder Woman book the go-ahead?

UPDATE: Lyle at Crocodile Caucus bemoans "the missed potential when DC failed to greenlight a shoujo take on Wonder Woman," saying, "Those pages look really good."

Alas, A Blog (scroll all the way down) describes the proposal as a "really excellent-looking approach that DC rejected."

Finally, I can't believe I missed linking to this earlier, but the comments at Pantoja's LiveJournal are extremely favorable as well.

UPDATE YET AGAIN: Simon Jones, troublemaker that he is, mentions the four words [NSFW] I had hoped no one would bring up in connection with this grassroots effort to get Pantoja's pitch published: Snakes on a Plane. I know it's foolish to expect that any Internet excitement would translate directly into sales, but I'm guessing that this spontaneous, unanimous positive response to Pantoja's proposal means that she's on to something here. C'mon, this is the Internet: When was the last time everyone rallied together to be positive about something? Everyone always complains that all the comic blogosphere does is collectively complain, so isn't it pretty noteworthy that everyone is excited about Shōjo Diana? *

And as for the question of whether DC has already backed themselves into a corner with its public statements regarding their interest in doing OEL manga, perhaps they have, but I would hope that they'd be big enough (and concerned enough about the bottom line) to overlook the possibility of looking like they're eating crow and move forward with something if it warranted it, regardless of how that project might fit with official corporate pronouncements. (I also think the tactic of using the manga WW project to try to defuse the Minx criticism would appeal to DC.)

* And, yes, I realize that by typing that out, I've just invited everyone to find fault with the proposal.

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