DC Comics rebooted some of its marquee heroes this year with Rebirth. Wonder Woman's new comic arc began in June, with writer Greg Rucka and artists Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp at the helm. Now Rucka's given Comicosity an in-depth interview speaking in clear terms about Princess Diana of Themyscira's sexuality, which has been examined closely since Wonder Woman Rebirth kicked off (and since our heroine debuted 75 years ago).
Asked for specific clarification, Matt Santori-Griffith says his interview-opening question about Wonder Woman's queerness considers the term, in this instance, as "involving, although not necessarily exclusively, romantic and/or sexual interest toward persons of the same gender." The 46-year-old Rucka answered:
"And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, 'How can they not all be in same sex relationships?' Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise. It’s supposed to be paradise. You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able—in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner — to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, 'You’re gay.' They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist. Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes. And it needs to be yes for a number of reasons. But perhaps foremost among them is, if no, then she leaves paradise only because of a potential romantic relationship with Steve [Trevor]. And that diminishes her character. It would hurt the character and take away her heroism. ... By our standards where I am standing [in] 2016, Themyscira is a queer culture. I’m not hedging that. And anyone who wants to prevaricate on that is being silly."
While many are looking to DC for an official endorsement of Rucka's take, the writer did say that "nobody at DC has ever said, 'She’s gotta be straight.' Nobody. Ever. They’ve never blinked at this."
Will Wonder Woman make a bold proclamation of her sexuality any time soon? Rucka would rather take the most useful writing policy in existence: show, don't tell.
"When a character is being asked point blank, if it’s germane to the story, then you get the answer. But for me, and I think for Nicola as well, for any story we tell—be it Black Magick, be it Wonder Woman, be it a Batman story—we want to show you these characters and their lives, and what they are doing."
Rucka also doesn't overestimate the importance of his comments. "It doesn’t matter if I say, 'Yes, she’s queer.' Or 'No, she’s not queer,'" he says. "It matters what you get out of the book. Can you find it? Is it there? Is it on the page in action or in deed? Then, there’s your answer."
When Rucka was announced as Wonder Woman: Rebirth's author this past spring, writer Donna Dickens opined in a mostly critical piece on her HitFix vertical Harpy (dubbed "fangirl headquarters") that Rucka has "written some of the better Wonder Woman stories in the last decade or so." Following up on the Comicosity interview, Dickens writes, "As a bisexual woman, Rucka’s acknowledgment was the equivalent of letting out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Rucka gets so many things right here that I got a little verklempt the first time I read it."
Comics Alliance editor-in-chief Andrew Wheeler also shared some compelling thoughts on Twitter:
"I think this is a great interview, I have endless love for Greg. But let me say this...The reason queer readers ask for unambiguous texts is not that we don't see value in queer coding; believe me, we cling to it. It's because there are always forces that want to walk back or ignore our presence in the text. Queer coding in fiction is a form of marginalisation that empowers our erasure. And sometimes what we think is a whole undeniable queer circus of bells and whistles can still be forced back into the closet if the will is there. This isn't the first time Greg Rucka has acknowledged Diana's bisexuality nor is he the only creator to do so. But I think we need to hear it from DC, and we need to see it supported in a way that no-one can argue with, before we can feel secure about acknowledging it as canon. It's not unreasonable of us to not want to act on trust that a giant corporation will do right by queer people. Show us that DC supports this. Don't tell us. I'm glad Greg gave this interview and wanted to give the interview. I'm glad DC supported the interview. I think all of that is great. (I say that because I want to be clear that I'm not looking to pick a fight; I want to articulate what I think is an important perspective.) Here's the thing about queer people; we're not holding out for your best case scenario.
And the one-two finisher?
Here's the thing about queer people; we're not holding out for your best case scenario.— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) September 28, 2016
Say it, DC.— Andrew Wheeler (@Wheeler) September 28, 2016
If you're going to claim the good press, say it.
Read Comicosity's complete Greg Rucka interview here, then check out these awesome cosplayers from New York Comic Con 2015: