NYCC: Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Panel with Rucka and More

DC Comics commemorated Wonder Woman's 75th anniversary with a celebratory panel Friday evening at New York Comic Con. Creators in attendance included current "Wonder Woman" series writer Greg Rucka, "Wonder Woman '77" team Marc Andreyko and Cat Staggs, legendary artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, "Wonder Woman: The True Amazon" writer and artist Jill Thompson, "DC Super Hero Girls" writer Shea Fontana and "Wonder Woman: Earth One" artist Yanick Paquette.

The panel started with a short video detailing Wonder Woman's visual history in comic books, with at least one illustration from each year of the character's history spotlighted. Variety's Senior TV Editor Brian Steinberg moderates the panel, and pointed out Christie Marston, Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston's granddaughter, sitting in the front row.

"It's a huge privilege," Andreyko said of writing "Wonder Woman '77. He said he met Lynda Carter soon after starting on the series, and she "exceeded all expectations." "To this day, Lynda takes very seriously being a positive role model for girls, and all people. The fact that I get to do this and I get paid? I have nothing to complain about, ever."

Announcement time: Andreyko is co-writing "Batman '66/Wonder Woman '77" with Jeff Parker, to be illustrated by David Hahn and Karl Kesel. "It's six issues, the first two issues take place in 1944 with a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne, the second two take place in '66, the final two in '77," Andreyko said. "We're introducing a villain who's never been used on either of the shows but is super-famous in the comic books."

Steinberg asked Rucka why he came back to Wonder Woman after leaving the character. "I never left the character," Rucka replied, rhetorically. "I stopped working for the company."

"Everybody in pop culture knows who she is, nobody knows who she is," Rucka continued. "Everybody recognized the iconography, but no one understands the sheer glory of the character." Rucka said Gal Gadot "stole a whole movie" ("Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice") from the two leads. "She may finally get the due that all of us who have adored and admired this character [have given her] for so long," Rucka said. "Maybe they're finally going to get it."

Fontana discussed the Wonder Woman of "DC Super Hero Girls." "I've been trying to make the series that I would like to have seen when I was a kid." The third "DC Super Hero Girls" graphic novel is titled "Summer Olympus," with Wonder Woman going to see her dad Zeus at Mt. Olympus.

Garcia-Lopez's art appears on a new Wonder Woman stamp from the US Postal Service, and described seeing the character on a postage stamp as "very emotional."

Thompson talked "The True Amazon." "I think I added a dimension to her that was something I always needed when I was looking at Wonder Woman growing up," she said. "I don't think there are enough words to say about what it's like to work on the most iconic female superhero ever created, except I hope I leveled her up a little bit."

"You want find Steve Trevor in this version," Thompson continued. "It's pretty much all Wonder Woman and Amazon-based."

Paquette said he read the first five years of "Wonder Woman" comics in preparation of "Earth One." "It's weird," he said. "Crazy stuff in there. If you put it in the context of the '40s, it's even more revolutionary."

Addressing the second volume, Paquette said, "Grant is sending me a few pages at a time," and that hopefully the second and third volumes will be completed quicker than the first.

The panelists were asked for their first memory of Wonder Woman. Rucka: "It was probably 'Super Friends,' in PJs with a bowl of Cheerios, going, 'Wow, there's a video amongst all those guys, and she's awesome. And those guys are dumb.' I suspect shortly thereafter it was Lynda Carter, which reinforced everything I just said." Andreyko said he saw Wonder Woman during a stunt show at Sea World as a child. Staggs: "Super Friends and Lynda Carter were my first [Wonder Woman memories]."

Paquette said that as a French-Canadian, he didn't know "Super Friends" or the "Wonder Woman" TV series as a child, but knew the character as part of pop culture. When he started working on the character as an artist, he read years of Wonder Woman comics -- something he said he learned was unnecessary as he progressed in his career. Thompson said she had a similar experience when she started drawing Wonder Woman.

Asked via Twitter about the possibility of a Wonder Woman/Poison Ivy team-up, Rucka said there's a great story to be old starring the two character, but he's not telling that story this year.

Towards the end of the session, Steinberg asked the panelists for favorite Wonder Woman stories, and Rucka cited 2001's "Wonder Woman" #170 by Phil Jimenez and Joe Kelly. "I love the stories where you see Diana's human," he said.

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