Wonder Woman: Amazon. Hero. Icon.

wonder-womanFreelancers love it when the phone rings and an unexpected offer comes through. Such was the case in early July, when Chris Cerasi called to offer me Wonder Woman: Amazon. Hero. Icon.

Apparently, the project had been assigned to a poet, Jeff Oaks, and as occasionally happens, a change needed to be made so I got the nod. The book is a visual celebration of the Amazon Princess, not unlike the Cover Girls book that was released a year or two back.

I was asked to write 8-10,000 words about the character and her place in comics, aimed at the mass audience. We’d concentrate on the comics and not her mass media interpretations so while there will be nods to Linda Carter and Super Friends, there certainly won’t be a lot said.

Instead, I devised thematic chapters, had that list approved, then wrote a sample chapter, revised it and got a green light from the publisher, Rizzoli, under their Universe imprint. I spent part of August working on the manuscript, while the art director began his hunt for visuals.

Chris McDonnell is no stranger to graphic art, having recently completed the wonderful-looking Unfiltered, a book celebrating the work of Ralph Bakshi. Coming from outside comics, Chris brings a fresh eye which is especially helpful. He researched the various collected editions for starters and began roughing out pages based on the page count and my chapter breakdown. As of today, I have seen four drafts of the layouts, each one richer and more interesting.

Still, on Wednesday I went in to meet Chris and Chris to pick even more work. After all, there’s an entire era, essentially 1972-1985 that has never been collected and therefore may be underrepresented in the book. Given the lovely work Jose Delbo, Don Heck, and Gene Colan did during that stretch, I wanted to make certain they showed up. Similarly, we looked at Wonder Woman artwork from less familiar sources ranging from the 1970s calendars to the various trading card sets. I suspect the fifth iteration will be truly amazing.

In the meantime, I have Chris’ editorial notes and am clarifying, revising, and expanding some of the text, trying to find a fresh way to cover her history.

According to Amazon, the book has an April 6, 2010 pub date and no doubt we’ll talk about this in the coming months.

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