Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Villains & Vigilantes: which is which, exactly?

OK, here's my golden opportunity to alienate nearly every fan of this game including the creators themselves and the long-time publisher of record, FGU.

"Never miss an opportunity to offend someone," I think has become my motto on the web, simply because it is impossible. [Remind me to tell you of the guy who gave me a negative rep for announcing to my buds that I was taking a break from my regular superhero game forum and then promptly did the same thing himself a few weeks later. If I do it, it's bad form - if he does it, it's a necessity. LOOO-SERRRR]

How do you tell a villain from a vigilante, is my question - both are breaking the law, so are not BOTH guilty?

Well, whenever someone makes the law a god instead of a servant, you get questions like that. Jesus had to deal with a fair amount of legalism in the religious leaders of his day because they thought by abiding simply by the rules, they were right and everyone else is wrong.

Now Jesus did not tell them the law was WRONG - but their application of it was wrong. they did not use the law to protect and serve but to beat and abuse those who failed.

Their response was sort of like Lex Luthor's in Superman Returns: WROOOONGG!!

Now as a former victim of my self-imposed perfectionism and always eager to please some verbally abusive alcoholic, I am pretty aware of how people NEED the law to stop excesses. The law, she can be a most useful tool.

But she is an editor, not a creator. She only shows up to mop up a mess caused by others. We write laws to protect people from other people. If we are not careful, we can overdo it and - just as the religious leaders did - misinterpret the words to fit what WE want them to say.

So, again, what makes the difference between a villain and a vigilante?

A villain is self-serving. He decries the injustices of the world and demands re-payment. If not satisfied, he takes matters into his own hands and begins his personal quest for self-actualization. He thinks of himself as a hero and the world and the government as his enemy - a 'self-righteous hypocritical enemy' at that.

This was best shown by Bill Willingham in the mini-series JLA: Salvation Run.

From the blog a full synopsis is given of Lex Luthor and this part is especially true - for ALL villains as well:

Other villains fight men. Luthor is, when you get down to brass tacks, a man trying to fight God.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Luthor shares a number of personality traits with Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Able to inspire/charismatic? Check. Proud? Big check there. Narcissistic? Check. Selfish? Check. Unwilling to dignify his opponent by speaking of him plainly? Oh, check. (In Paradise Lost, Milton uses Satan’s arrogance to avoid the trap of having to describe God – Satan defines God in loose, etheral terms rather than speak in the plain specifics of which he’s capable. Sound like anybody? Hint: “the alien.” [i.e. Superman]) Utterly self-confident? Check. Said self-confidence (mostly) justified? Again, check. Utterly obsessed with his enemy, who is only his enemy by choice? Oh my check.

Great writing. If you leave my blog for his, I wouldn't mind. He nailed it.

Villains serve themselves. Vigilantes - the superheroic kind - are out to serve the public good. They exist to restore rights to victims, not take rights away. The problem is they don't wait around for 'official approval' having seen the officials drop the ball too often.

And if you are watching a legal system fail in front of you, you stop trusting it - or fearing it. A corrupt police officer or judge does more damage than they know; they EMPOWER the criminals. When the supposed 'authorities' cannot be trusted, what do you do? Wait until they repent or start cleaning up ASAP? You see this cycle often in the inner city: Kids who grow up under the care of abusive parents or parents who neglected them learn quickly that mommy and daddy really aren't going to do too much for them, so they have to fend for themselves.

How can you respect an authority that keeps failing you? And I don't mean 'Daddy told me I couldn't go to the Jerry's house party!' I mean 'Daddy spent the paycheck at the casino.' Let's be real here.

Hmmmm. In reading the above, I realized that my example showed that the crime was irresponsibility. We write a lot of laws to show people they have responsibility to the family, to their employees, to the public in general.

And right now, a trademark battle is being waged, where it is the creators versus the publisher of record. Both sides are claiming the right to use the trademark with FGU saying it never lost the right. On paper, FGU has a strong claim. In the hearts of gamers and friends, Jeff and Jack have the better claim.

So here's the final tally on Villains & Vigilantes, my favorite role-playing game of all time:

Jeff Dee and Jack Herman, as Creators: 1
Scott Bizar, FGU, as Editor in Chief/Publisher: 1

Jeff & Jack, as Copyright holders [actual game rules]: 1
Scott: 0

Jeff & Jack, supporting game after 1988: 0
Scott: 1 [yes, it's been available]

Here's the conundrum in my mind: merely publishing this game kept FGU as the trademark holder for Villains and Vigilantes under the original agreement, done WAY back in 1978 when these guys were in their late teens.

I think publishing has changed so much, a sympathetic judge may fairly rule that Jeff and Jack have the right to use the trademark. You see, with Print-on-Demand, and easy electronic file transfer on the web, a publisher who prints a bunch of copies and pays the cost of printing and ships them out to various stores to be bought is a thing of the past.

That was how things worked - and that was why the law was created to keep respect and honor and equitable treatment between the Publisher and the Creators.

But if 'publishing' means 'keeping an electronic file up on some server somewhere so it can be downloaded' then as long as THAT criteria is meant that the creators will never get their rights back.

You see in the real world, after a while, you'd just let go of the trademark since it was no longer profitable. If no demand, no printing. And then the rights revert back to the creators.

So should FGU give the rights back to Jeff and Jack - though they [FGU] have done nothing wrong?

Legally? Don't know. I really don't.
Ethically? Yes.

You see, the problem is, FGU is just an entity. We, the gamers, do not know them. We are glad they have served honorably and done the job they were supposed to do. I have personally talked with Scott Bizar and was very pleased to hear how he paid commissions, etc. I think he's been very good to Jeff and Jack.

But in the end, FGU only owns the trademark. Not the concepts, art, rules, or anything else. In other words, they own the label on the package.

And "a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet."

So what I hope for is this; that FGU would, for the next 2-5 years, would SHARE the trademark with Jeff and Jack. Both would publish materials compatible with the V&V Second Edition rules.

If Scott has any backlog of scripts or material, NOW would be the time to publish it. Get it out and into the hands of fans.

THEN hand the keys over to Jeff and Jack, with his blessings.

I know. Sounds like a fantasy, doesn't it? And I am not so naive as to think this the only solution.

But I love reconciliation. And I love heroes.

And I want to see both the creators of V&V make a wise agreement in 2010 with the man who published their work when no one else would.

Its a bit like Siegel and Schuster vs. DC comics all over again. Without DC, Superman would never have lived. But because of DC, those men never got the recompense they could have had. Finally, citing 'moral obligation' and fearing bad publicity on the eve Superman the Movie's film debut, DC decided to honor the creators of Superman and start paying for some medical bills, etc. DC had no legal order to do so. They did not have to do it. But they were smart: they watched the fans.

Fans may be the ones who decide this in the end.

Well, we've waited 20 years to see a great game come back to the forefront.

We can wait a little more.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Strange Tales: DVD Double Feature -Redemption of the Lost and Damned

Man, talk about a strange double feature! I watched two RedBox movies yesterday: Daybreakers and Wild at Heart. Well, maybe that wasn’t as strange as they might first appear since both are movies of men being trapped in darkness and unquenchable thirst and, with the help of others, get out into the light.

It’s just that in the supernatural effects-laden Daybreakers, the battle is more obvious, more visual, as in all fantasy tales. It has lots of gore but a positive message in the end.

Back in the day of Strange Tales, Weird Tales, House of Horror and other such comics, many a cautionary tale was told in dark supernatural tones – with the unrepentant and gloating getting a HORRIFIC come-uppance in the end. Well, in Daybreakers, I can only say that the filmmakers stayed true to formula.

Also of note, these guys - the Brothers Spierig - are from Australia and only did one Indy low-budget film before this. But they were SO thorough, SO willing to write and re-write their script, and able to roll with several punches – shooting in a ridiculous 40 days instead of 60 – AND were such masters of digital video effects that they PERSONALLY did 300 effects shots, that you are amazed at the quality of the film for the budget given. It was very impressive to see. It was completed on-time, under-budget and made a respectable showing at the box office. I thought they had a $80-100 million dollar budget.

Nope. They had $20 million. The Punisher had more than that!

Hats off to these two!

It has Ethan Hawke who is ALWAYS retro-cool, Sam Neil, always a thoughtful man – especially even scarier when evil - and Willem DaFoe, who plays the unforgettable auto mechanic cured of vampirism nicknamed ‘Elvis’ – yeah, I loved that, as Memphis boy.

He gets some of the best lines too: Vampire: “Who are you?” Elvis/DaFoe: “We’re the folks with the crossbows!”

But even better, near the climax, when a cure for vampirism is discovered – and a strange side-effect is ALSO discovered, DaFoe’s character says something profound. It goes something like this:

“Vamps think they own this world. They think humans have to hide from them… But that’s not true. Vampires can never survive. That’s the truth. Every day the sun comes up. “Elvis Presley once said, truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin’ away.”

Just try to keep that in mind folks: the truth always comes out. We tend to think otherwise, but light always conquers darkness.

It’s the cockroaches that run from the light, it’s the criminals who have to hide from the police and it’s the demons who flee from Jesus. Meek, mild and sweet Jesus terrifies the snot out of them, see Mark 5.

And if you need to know the relationship between the wicked and the righteous, just read Proverbs 28.

Be the light, not the darkness.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

What If...

What If... is a movie starring Kevin Sorbo [of Hercules and Andromeda fame], Kristy Swanson and John Ratzenberger [Cheers, ALL the Pixar films]. It tells the tale of a man who refuses his ministerial calling for the world of high finance - and is shown by God what his life COULD have been had he followed his calling to be a minister.

What is chilling is how UN-dangerous and sharp and wise and generous he is even as he is 'in the world.' But - as the film progresses - it IS second-best and frankly, empty of love and warmth and family. [Same message was in Iron Man if you were awake.]

If God showing him his OTHER life sounds familiar, you must have seen It's a Wonderful Life. The difference is, the structure is neatly reversed: he has to go back to his empty life and DECIDE to take whatever steps he can to 'restore' or 'recoup' the family life he has been missing over the last 15 years. So, this is not a slam-dunk. He may only get something LIKE it if he returns to God's calling...

Suffice to say, I loved the film. I was very impressed with the quality, dramatic timing and respect given by the actors. It is not going to win any Oscars, but if you ARE a believer in Christ and want a movie to watch with your family, you must see it.

My one complaint: the title is too uninformative and vague. It should have been "A Road Not Taken" or something similar, in reference to the great poem by Robert Frost and the lead character's choices.

We make decisions - and they have consequences. Let us pray God give us His counsel and that we would have the courage to listen.

Enjoy these two amazing videos of these famous poems done for the Union Bank of Switzerland.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

If... by Rudyard Kipling


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You're a Wonder, Wonder Woman [Pt. 2]

[Ed. Note: I did some late edits - just trying to make this blog better for all.]

It’s been nearly a week since my last post, and I’ve been reading about Wonder Woman, her origin and her author, taking special note of WHY she was created in the first place – and frankly, remembering how funny and lively some of those old 1940’s adventures were. I was introduced to those early escapades of the amazing Amazon as reprints when DC Comics would do “100 Pages of Comics” back in the mid-70’s.

It was a more innocent time and a time when stories of gods were taken very lightly.

Now, in a post-Christian culture, we find darker stories of such ‘gods’ – and treating them lightly will not enhance any character connected to them. Funny thing is, Wonder Woman, with her mythic origin, belongs in the Vertigo realm of characters much more than the mainstream of DC Heroes.

Now I have seen her new costume and while it is not utterly awful, it is just not Wonder Woman [though it would be great for a Wonder Girl, IMO]. And I know J. Michael Straczynski is re-writing her origin even as we speak, trying to re-boot the character with issue 601 [see a fangirl's review below]

I have no idea where he is going, but maybe we will see the same problems and solve them the same way – maybe we will solve them differently.

Now here are some of the conundrums/problems in Wonder Woman’s origin and history; some of these have been addressed, I know, but they need a better solution or at least a more elegant reason that is either more human and accessible to young women or at least more believable.

1) She is made out of clay by mom and given life by a goddess. Even if, as a believer you have no problem with a ‘false’ or ‘minor’ deity making life out of non-life, you have to say “Why?” Mom hated sex but wanted a kid? We need another virgin birth?

2) Why does Paradise Island exist? Because there are no men to mess it up? Would an island full of men be 'Hell Island'? [I mean I think an island full of beautiful women could be paradise - but I'm starting to sound like a Muslim fanatic if I say it out loud...] Just questioning the etymology of the name, that's all...

3) How exactly did a bunch of women become immortals? [We are assuming they too were not made out of clay.] The more I think about this place, the more it sounds like that castle with the "Grail-shaped beacon" and sex-starved women in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Perhaps it should have been called "Fantasy Island!"

[Ed. Note: O.K. - a little risque' at the end, but I'm sure William Moulton Marston would have loved it. And if you don't understand that comment, you REALLY don't know his personal life, do you?]

4) How can you have a ‘robot plane’ AND a magic Lasso AND Mental Telepathy to command the plane? I mean, what machine shop on Paradise Island comes up with this stuff? And why does her mental telepathy only work for the plane?

5) Did Diana’s mom, the Queen of the Amazon, ever like men at ALL? Or maybe too much [supposedly she was seduced by Hercules originally]?

6) How do bullet-proof bracelets and unbreakable ropes work, exactly? "Magic" you say? I can accept that they are magical - but still why isn't Wonder Woman just plain ol' invulnerable? Can these devices of bondage have a better or deeper reason for existing?

I think these questions need to be handled wisely so Wonder Woman can become more relevant to the women of the 21st century. She needs to have more understandable issues to give her writers something extra to chew on.

To sum up, she needs more tragedy - realistic tragedy - to show off her heroism and her humanity.

BTW, Superman's origin has been re-done at least four times, Batman's about the same. The core elements remain intact but how they mix and mesh and become part of the milieu have changed. And to be honest Wonder Woman's origin has been changed about as many times as well but who's been paying attention? OK - there was the BIG one in the 80s by George Perez, but it just re-shuffled more than re-defined.

The essential difference is that Superman and Batman have experienced great tragedies and the loss of their homes/worlds; Diana has not. This may be in fact what JMS is trying to remedy.

O.K. I've delayed enough. Here's what I would do:

I would set the formation of Paradise Island by Queen Hippolyta firmly in a mock-historical framework, so we could keep all the good historical aspects, but shy away from the 'BANG! It just happened by MAAAAAGGGIICC!' scenario.

We want a supernatural story about humans who struggle and survive and live and love. Not a story about supernatural events that we have to accept "hook line and sinker." [Ironic that I, a pastor, am telling you this, eh? Trust me, the more you see the humanity of Christ and read between the lines in the Bible, the deeper your faith gets. It is a most "realistic" myth if you dare call it such.]


1) The recently-widowed Queen Hippolyta fell in love with Heracles, who seduced her [just like in the first origin] and then betrayed her to capture her lands. His soldiers killed all the men under her rule with the intent to enslave their women and use them for their sick pleasure.

2) Fooled by her own blind heart, Hippolyta witnesses the carnage wrought and swears revenge for her sisters. She prays to the gods for merely the strength to set her sisters free or die trying. "Strength equal to that of Heracles, for Nature has not given me the demi-god's strength, but I have a warrior's heart and much of his skill!" Nothing seems to happen.

3) The next day the ship they are on runs aground on an island that has never been seen before. This is Paradise Island, and the reason it is called such is that it is NOT bound by time, appearing on the seas only once a year. At the center is a huge silver meteorite, fallen from the heavens; it is an unknown metal, responsible for making this a 'land no longer bound by the waters of time.'

4) Hercules and his men begin to chip off bits of the metal, for it gleams like silver but seems as hard as iron. In an act of grandiose insensitivity, Heracles fashions a belt and bracelets from this metal "to adorn his new queen." Hippolyta plays the role demurely, signaling her distraught sisters to also play along. "We will get our revenge, sisters!" she hisses.

5) That night, in Heracle's tent, Hippolyta strikes him, intent to kill him in his sleep. However, he is not caught off guard and smugly backhands her, "Witch! I knew you'd not go so easily! Do you take me for a fool, woman?" But something strange happens: she gets back up. She is still conscious - and that blow would have felled an ox! She surmises that somehow the girdle and bracelets have helped her. She hits him back - and he goes flying!

6) Hippolyta calls all her women to strike and strike hard! Some die, but many kill their captors. simply due to their fiercenss and Hippolyta's leadership. She faces off with Hearacles in front of his men. He swings and she blocks clumsily with her bracelets - but they stop his blow! She also sees she can dish it out - her fists move like streaks of lightning, while all his moves look like they are in slow motion.

7) In minutes Heracles is humiliated - and Hippolyta has tied him up with the very chains he had used. She holds a knife at his throat and says "Swear to me that you will leave and never return - neither you nor your men - or I will kill you here and now." Heracles swears perfunctorily. She smacks him so hard he goes ten feet backwards. His eyes bug out. He is stunned by her new might. "If you ever return, I will remove your manhood and have dogs eat it while you watch!" This time he swears more frankly. His men also nod humbly. "Get. Off. My. Island." she commands.

8) The men leave and the surviving women begin to build and develop this jewel of an island. They discover that by staying near the center of it, time is slowed greatly ["Look my queen, at the sands in the hourglass!"] but at the shoreline it flows normally. Thus they can develop inventions for years at the heart of Paradise Island and then bring them out to the 'normal areas'  - allowing them to build cities and machines in mere days.

9) Thus WW's Invisible Plane is more of a 'plane out of phase' since its skin is an alloy of this time-altering metal. Her bracelets are also of this metal. Anything that comes in contact is slowed by a factor of 10x to 100x - so bullets, etc. touching these bracelets are basically stopped in time! Her lasso is threaded with this material so it is unbreakable as well. [Ed. Note: so the question is, why is neither Wonder Woman nor the Amazons slowed by this time-altering metal when THEY touch it? Simple - it is mentally controlled; it obeys the mind! And the women were indeed doing all the thinking...]

10) Now this does NOT mean that the previous origins were wrong - but they were stories handed down over the centuries and this element was interpreted as interpreted as magic, etc. The Greek gods are simply other dimensional Greeks of ages past who have this amazing metaphysical command and knowledge.

11) Finally, the big shocker: Because Hippolyta was wearing this girdle and jewelry when Heracles used her, it held what he did to her in abeyance inside her body. Do you understand what I am saying?

12) One day after their great victory, Hippolyta went to the seashore by herself to bathe. She laughed and said to her amazons it would seem like mere seconds before she'd be back They smiled and said, 'That is the only amount of time we can live without you, our queen!'

She took off the jewelery and swam in the ocean she loved so much. But the seed of a demi-god was inside her and she immediately became pregnant as time flowed again. It took years before she was aware of it. She had no desire to remain pregnant for a thousand years, and she would not kill her offspring, no matter how ill-conceived - so she stayed exiled from her amazons in real time for nine months, giving birth all alone. She returned to the center of the island, where minutes had passed, and told her sisters how 'the gods had granted her prayers and given her a daughter from a lifeless piece of clay!' [That was her idea of referring to Heracles. Her joke, if you will.]

13) THIS IS THE DARK SECRET: DIANA WAS BORN OF HERACLES AND HIPPOLYTA. No one has ever 'heard' differently and no one WANTS to know differently. Diana is therefore supernaturally strong and fast. Everything else is equipment and skills. In some origins her bracelets actually KEEP her from going beserk and using her strength in an uncontrolled manner. THIS REBOOT WOULD EXPLAIN THAT. You ever note how many writers can't get her characterization right? THIS IS WHY - she has two polar personalities at war in her! Peace and pleasant life vs. passion and a warrior's fury!

14) Steve's plane crashing on Paradise Island gave the Amazonian scientists a model to build after - and his colors became her costume. ["What are they DOING?! They stripped my plane!!" "Do not be afraid pilot - our engineers are merely copying each piece. It will be re-assembled properly..."] But the reason she is the emissary to the 'world of men' is threefold:

a) Hippolyta knows she cannot stay on the island. She must experience war and overcome it - just as her Amazonian sisters have.

b) She can inform them and forewarn them of any threat to Paradise Island as well as be an ambassador.

c) She is the offspring of their hated enemy; he WOULD have the right to come to the island if he knew this, as her FATHER. To avoid this, she must not live there.

d) If she cannot best the Heraclean nature inside of her, she will become a threat to Paradise Island. Sadly, she would have to be permanently exiled. And as long as Diana craves battle- and she does in her deepest heart - she is a stranger to her sisters. Far better for her to enter the world than have the world enter Paradise Island.

15) Oh - last thought - Diana could have helped the World War 2 Steve Trevor, gone home for a month or two, come back and found thirty to sixty years had passed. I think that's what Bruce Timm and Duanne McDuffie were showing in the DCU Animated Series. [advance to 8:50 or so]

Well, that's all for now.

Hope you've liked this re-imagining of her origin!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You're a Wonder, Wonder Woman!

Linda Carter as Wonder Woman*sigh* She IS wonderful, is she not?

Ever since I grew up as a favored child of the 70’s with such great shows as The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The Six Million Dollar Man and Wonder Woman, and Superman: The Movie, there has been a very strange disconnect in the world of comics attempting verisimilitude that was a white elephant in the basement so to speak.

Fans of the Amazonian princess already know it but don’t say it. It is blasphemy. You might as well tell a Muslim that Jesus was the son of God and that He died on the cross, not Judas. It won’t be heard, much less conscienced.

Oh and when Batman came to film later, it just opened the believability gap even further. The first attempt at our dark knight was weird, but admirable. He was dark again, not campy. The second re-boot made his origin utterly believable – well, as believable as a multi-millionaire walking down a dark alley with his wife and kid ALONE in a crime-ridden city can be. Kudos for Christopher Nolan for all his hard work.

So what is this white elephant that I speak of?

Wonder Woman’s origin. It beggars belief.

Before you begin ranting and reaching for your back button on your browser, hear me out, Amazonian Allies.

She is a beautiful character. She is iconic and shall remain so. I eagerly looked forward in chaste worship every week to see Linda Carter portray the princess from Paradise Island. Linda Carter had a wholesome beauty and sex appeal and warmth that still to this day takes my breath away. She’s up there with Donna Reed, IMHO for having just an amazing femininity and internal beauty that WOULD ‘launch a thousand ships.’ In fact, that is the problem.

She could sell ice to Eskimos, coals to Newcastle, and sand to Arabs.

But that is from her personal charm, not from the power of the myth that is Wonder Woman.

Now I have read the books and know all about her origin – esp. that she was created by the same guy who developed the Lie Detector – he gave her a Lasso of Truth and Bracelets that could deflect bullets.

But like the original Green Lantern, she is SO steeped in myth that we rationalists find it hard to believe her motive or her origin. In fact, since comics were for so many decades written by men, drawn by men, directed by men, the world-famous Amazon often languished in her male-dominated world.

But you cannot simply blame the men. Just as several super-powered characters of the 1940’s got a science-based upgrade in their origin, the princess of Themyscira should have as well – but she didn’t.

Think about the change in the origins of Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom – they've wonderfully re-vamped, and still are being re-vamped today. And, to be fair, SOME of the elements of Wonder Woman’s powers have changed - she is no longer powerless when bound by a man, for instance – but her MYTHIC ORIGIN never changed.

Right now you may be asking “So – what is WRONG with her origin?”

There is NOTHING heroic about it. She’s Pinocchio – or a Golem, take your pick.

She is an object that came alive. And I think that's the LAST thing a female archetype needs to be known as - an object.

Now you can make the origin appear beautiful, like Adam Hughes has done here, but it still has that core problem: our heroine is a former statue.

You know the story of Pinocchio? A wooden boy made alive by magic who later becomes a ‘real boy?’ It is a great fairy tale, revealing how we all must move from mere appearances to being real – and this is by growing up, telling the truth and self-denial.

But it ain’t a good origin story for a superheroine who is perfect from the moment she is crafted/made/born. Unlike Superman who learned temperance and love from a kindly elderly couple though he’s a strong as any ancient god, after surviving the death of his parents and their world, Diana is a crafted doll brought to life.

In Jewish myth, a golem was a protector made out of clay or stone that would animate to protect God’s chosen people. Sort of a robot protector called at need. And Diana herself is a protector - remember those bullet-bouncing bracelets? - made originally out of clay.

But therein lays the problem of making Wonder Woman human, accessible and believable.

She isn’t human. She’s not even mortal, technically.

She is not accessible – she is an icon of beauty, grace and nobility – but like the comedic fantasies Weird Science and Mannequin, she is merely formed and crafted out of inanimate materials. She was not born of parents. She was given life at the request of her mother, the queen.

She also grew up on an island with no one of the opposite sex. Now, that may sound like paradise to the abused or those who are attracted to their own sex, but for the rest – some 90% of the population - that would be hell.

[BTW, laying the charge that only MEN can get – ‘lonely’ – is too broad of a lie to be addressed here. Women in groups may do lots of things non-male oriented, I agree. But at the end of the day…]

If I flipped the tables and said Superman grew up on a world of all men, no women, what would your next question be?

Yeah. Same here. Who made the babies? And what is so WRONG about women anyway?

So you have a character that is so aloof, it is said she did not NEED a father, just a mother and she grew up in a BEAUTIFUL place where there were no MEN to ruin it. They are forbidden: “No man may set foot on Paradise Island!”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why almost no one is going to see a live-action Wonder Woman film anytime soon. You start off calling men the bad, ugly enemy. You also start off with a heroine who is NOT human, never WILL BE human and was NOT EVER human.

You end up with - I’m sad to say – the same emotional depth as a supermodel or pin-up girl. Lovely to look at, sure – and yes, good writers can make good words come out of her mouth. But those words are NOT based on an origin that garners empathy. A Sanctimonious Swimsuit-wearing Supermodel comes running in to tell us how to live our lives – but hey, don’t come to MY house, O.K.? Men aren’t allowed.

Man, that is not cool. Talk about a busy-body.

Now that’s the rant I had to make. I think we COULD do an origin story, keeping about 80% of the original aspects of the Wonder Woman myth and yet upgrade her for the 21st century.

‘Cause there are a lot of single moms with no men in their household who need role-models – or at least their daughters do. They need to know that when men don’t act like men – taking on their responsibilities and protecting their families – that there is hope. They can stand and make it.

Wonder Woman could show them that. But she has to be MORE human, not less, to do so.

And alienation is NOT part of the solution.

And if you will bear with me, next post I’ll present a way that could be done – and possibly NOT offend every male on the planet.