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How Phil Hester Will Change Wonder Woman [Interview]

"Wonder Woman will change very soon..."

Writer J. Michael Straczynski's Wonder Woman run has received mixed reviews since it's launch with issue #601. With a new costume and a whole new identity, the famous heroine was virtually changed overnight. Now, equipped with JMS's Wonder Woman script, Phil Hester has taken on the writing responsibilities for the Amazon Princess's ongoing book. The big question is, where will Phil Hester take the Wonder Woman story? Will he bring back the famous costume? Will we see a love interest? And most importantly, will Wonder Woman re-discover her true identity? We caught up with the writer (who happens to be one of my personal favorites) to pick his brain about his plans for the Wonder Woman story.   

Comic Vine: What is it like taking on JMS's Wonder Woman script? 

 Phil Hester: It's a thrill, of course. Wonder Woman is one of those icons I always daydreamed about writing, but never thought it possible. I feel lucky, to be honest. I also have a really tough act to follow. What JMS has planned for Diana is very ambitious. I'm not sure I have the chops to pull off what he would have, but I'm giving it my full effort.


CV: How much of his outline are you using to tell the story, and how much of the story is your idea? How will you transition the current story/script into your own? 

PH: It's very fluid. There are some elements of JMS' outline that are very detailed and long range in nature, while others are more spontaneous and fun. JMS left me notes which spell out very specific goals and benchmarks for the story, but leave me a lot of discretion in how we reach them. I've been able to introduce characters, revamp old ones, even kill a few. As long as I get to the climax JMS sketched out I'm allowed to improvise... and I am!  

 Some issues are 80/20 JMS/ Hester, others the opposite. Maybe we can make it a contest to guess which ones. The prize? A hearty handshake.

 

 CV: Where do you see yourself taking the character? 

PH: That's up to the readers. If they like my take, I may get to stick around a while. If so, I plan on making more Wonder Woman stories that are just straight up adventure stories. I think stories often eat their own tail and become too insular. Look at the Superman movies. You know why the first Superman movie worked so well? Because we got to see Superman lift that school bus up over the edge of the bridge, help that kitty, and catch that helicopter. We got to see Superman being Superman, not just in conflict with a villain, so when that conflict came we really cared. 

I'd like to do stories that show what Wonder Woman means to the world at large, not just her fellow heroes and villains. I want to reinforce her heroism, her nobility. Of course, I hope to shepherd her through some growth as a character, but first and foremost, I want to tell cool stories. Cool stories become canon by default. Do a good job, write a memorable story, and that becomes what readers remember.

 

 CV: JMS introduced a new Wonder Woman to readers in issue #601, so how long will the re-imagining of this character last?  

== TEASER ==

PH: That's almost impossible to answer without tipping my hand. The new Wonder Woman will change both very soon... and never.  


CV: What is it like to write Wonder Woman in her ongoing series? Is it difficult or easy to write an iconic character? 

PH: I thought it would be hard. I thought I would freeze. Thankfully, my excitement overrode my stage fright and I began to dream about Diana. That's always a good sign I'm on the right track. When I can't keep a character out of my head, writing them becomes easy. 

 I do feel a certain sense of responsibility to Diana's long time readers. I want to show them I respect her past while also taking her into the future. That isn't always easy. These changes can sometimes seem capricious, but I'm going to do my best to do the legwork necessary to make whatever changes I execute seem credible and, most importantly, in the best interest of the book. We can't just stand still and become a nostalgia service. We have to break new ground, and I think Wonder Woman is going to make a fantastic pioneer into that undiscovered country.

 

 CV: Of all of Wonder Woman's biggest moments in her character's history, which is your favorite and why?

PH: I think her old school origin story is just fantastic. The pace is so breakneck, and the concepts so unabashedly peculiar, that I challenge anyone not to fall in love with it. Watching her combination of naiveté and resolve run headfirst into the absurdity of modern world is delightful. I'd love to portray her as that kind of alien again, not to mock her, but as a commentary on the mess we've made of civilization. Her perspective should always be startling to our messed up sensibilities.

Plus the George Perez run. Love all that stuff.

 

Wonder Woman

CV: Do you see yourself delving into Wonder Woman's love life?

PH: If I'm here long enough, most definitely.

 

 CV: Who do you see as her primary nemesis? 

PH: For this run... I can't say. For any future stories; I'd love to go on a romp through her rogue's gallery. I mean I'd be compared to Grant Morrison if I could make a villain like The Blue Snowman genuinely menacing. 

 Not to get too pretentious, but her biggest nemesis will always be herself. She has great power at her fingertips, and a great thirst to administer justice. Tempering that destructive capability with her innate sense of mercy will be a constant conflict for her. How she overcomes that, or at least deals with it, will be the crux more than a few stories.

 

 CV: And I have to ask, will she be keeping the new outfit?  

 PH: And I have to not answer. Sorry. That's above my pay grade.

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Posted by Raul_The_Man

I think with his statment, "The new Wonder Woman will change both very soon... and never," might mean that she will regain her classic look but keep the new wierd memories/life that the gods gave her.  
I thought the story by JMS sounded good but to me it got bad after the second issue. I hope Phil Hester can bring it back around. I'm looking forward to it. 
Good interview.

Posted by Midnight Monk

Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT
Posted by Chris2KLee

I hope they give Phil time to build a story and make it his own, and they are not just bringing him in to wrap things up and then try and find a new direction.

Posted by No_name_here

I've been a fan of Phil's for years and am so grateful that I can call him a mentor and friend, now. He's an awesome writer and artist, a true class act. I know he's going to absolutely kill it with this run.

Posted by GT-Man

Hmmm i wonder?
Posted by Icon
@Midnight Monk said:
" Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT "
I completely agree, although I don't think she needs the jacket. That part just looks out of place (and kind of 80's/outdated).
Posted by dondasch

I like Phil Hester, but I feel that he's limited with the heretofore horrible vision JMS set out for Diana.  Wouldn't mind it at all if Phil was given a shot at writing Wonder Woman full time, if not, then please give us Grant Morrisson.

Posted by DEGRAAF

im guessing that she will change back to her old uniform unfortunately. I want her to stay in her current one. I think she will regain all her memories from both of her pasts. I know they said the gods are behind it but i hope they narrow it down to just Aries and or Hades being behind it. They need to have the Amazons and The Olympians people live together.
Posted by Nuec_Sol
@Tom Pinchuk: He is a awsome writer and artist. I actually met him at comic-con and he was really cool.
 
I am considering about picking up Wonder Woman just because Phil Hester. I am a fan of the work he has done on The Darkness.
Posted by Decept-O

This sounds like a good direction.  It is hard to make Wonder Woman appealing to a lot of readers, other than the obvious visuals for fanboys ( which isn't a bad thing per se).  She's never really had a major story arc that I can recall, other than the George Perez run like Mr. Hester states.  I am liking some of the comments he made pertaining making Wondie more of a hero doing heroic things.  Something "simple" but is actually what the character has needed.   
 
Great interview, good questions. 
Posted by Bestostero

I still have no idea what is going on with Wonder Woman.

Posted by Om1kron
@Tom Pinchuk said:
" I've been a fan of Phil's for years and am so grateful that I can call him a mentor and friend, now. He's an awesome writer and artist, a true class act. I know he's going to absolutely kill it with this run. "
if not comic viners will castrate him. LOL
Posted by Outside_85

Sounds interesting.  
Actually i am sometimes missing the times when a story could begin and end with a single issue, instead of today when every story lasts a third of a year, usually more. (Some writers, like Morrison, Johns and JMS can't help it i guess.)

Online
Posted by NightFang
@Tom Pinchuk said:
"I know he's going to absolutely kill it with this run. "
I hope you're Tom, because I don't think I can take this Wonder Woman anymore. 
Posted by DMC
"We can't just stand still and become a nostalgia service. We have to break new ground,"
 
Love it. ^_^.
Hopefully that something all WW fans (especially the hard core) can agree on and are willing to accept some changes to the character. Don't get me wrong, I hope that in the end WW will be, more or less, her same old self (character wise).
Posted by Grimoire

I will just wait and see like everyone else. Hope its good.

Posted by Terrific_T

Wow. I was just about to drop Wonder Woman until I read this.
Posted by ImperiousRix

I was actually gonna jump into Wonder Woman at 601 until I started hearing rather negative reviews about JMS's direction.  

Now that the helm is going to Phil Hester, however, I might just have to jump on board.  I've always loved Hester as an artist, and just recently started reading up on his writing exploits.  Seems like the series is in great hands.

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

I want to see someone do something Dr. Poison, and I think Phil Hester is the man to do it.

Edited by Blackestnight

This is refreshing because as I think everyone knows, I think the WW character has been butchered recently. She couldn't go down any further. Bring wonderwoman back to wonderwoman. 
 
The only thing getting butchered worse is the re-boot of spider man with a skinny metro sexual dork playing a super hero. Non-comic readers should be involved in film using heuristic trite narratives that dont actually fit the real story. They see what expect to see, typical weakling becomes strong... and shy becomes famous. That is not what happened. It was the opposite, being a hero wrecks peter's social life and relationships but he does it anyway out of responsibility.  And he was never weak, just not as popular as flash. That was from being so smart not from being a pussy. Being true to Ben and being with MJ are way more central to his thinking than his place at school which he doesn't think about. 
 
Anyway I'd like to see a real Wonderwoman movie. The animated film wasn't bad I mean for her it was good. They do need her to be her like he said we saw superman just being superman before a conflict was made. They screwed up the Hulk that way too by mot just letting Hulk smash stuff for a while before a conflict came. I miss the 70s Hulk tv show. They just let him smash and dominate thats what people wanted to see Hulk do..

Posted by Dude4

Phil's a good writer and Wonder Woman needs a jumpstart.  Let's hope something happens. 
 
BTW, why is Phil having to follow JMS's plot outline?  Shouldn't JMS stick around to finish the story he's started?

Posted by Scary Tousers
@Raul_The_Man said:
" I think with his statment, "The new Wonder Woman will change both very soon... and never," might mean that she will regain her classic look but keep the new wierd memories/life that the gods gave her. 
I think it will be te opposite - she will regain her previous life but keep the outfit.
Posted by Pokeysteve

If she keeps the new outfit and regains her Perez origin I'll start buying these again. Anything to do with this new origin and significantly weakened Diana and her books are dead to me. What the hell was DC thinking with this. Next they're going to have Superman running around at night beating up bad guys while struggling to lift objects he could normally toss into orbit. 

Online
Posted by jetgirl

please don't change wonder woman anymore great interview

Posted by queenfrost_

Why isn't this on the front page? And great interview :D
And puhlease, Wondy should so go back to her original costume. It's the Amazon wear with a twist of modern society!

Posted by Noctis
@Midnight Monk said:
" Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT "
Agreed. But I would prefer if they made her more like this.

Posted by Pizawle

After the JMS plans are done, I'll probably come back to the title.

Posted by Daffodil

Blue Snowman <3

Posted by BallsMonkey

If h throws out JMS's notes and gets rid of that ridiculous new costume I'll jump back on the book.

Posted by Omertalvendetta

I feel the same way about Wonder Woman that I have always felt about Superman.  They needed to change the look (and direly need to for the Man of Steel) , and the story needs to improve.  I have never had the opportunity to read much, someone should point me in the right direction. However,  and please call me shallow, I can never give them both a chance until they change their iconic, yet atrocious costumes.  I don't want hate mail, I'm just sharing how I feel about them... I have never been a big fan of people that wear their underwear outside of their pants or wear large granny panties to fight villains.  It's just not serious enough for me. I can't help but laugh.  Hopefully, I haven't offended anyone, as I'm sure they are both great characters, I just cannot give them a chance (mainly Superman, as I am sincerely considering picking up WW now that she has changed her look) until their costumes change.

Posted by TheNameIsWayne

What I am curious about is what happened to Diana concerning her hallucination during Blackest Night. I feel they really need to go somewhere with the fact that her strong feelings for Bruce Wayne made her into a Star Saphire. They abruptly ended that and she showed no hint of it during Return of Bruce Wayne. also, why was she wearing her original suit in that?

Posted by Cats
@xhavoc86 said:
" I still have no idea what is going on with Wonder Woman. "
Posted by kapitein_zeppos

I'm willing to give Phil the benefit of the doubt.  Let's see what he makes of it.

Posted by JonesDeini
@NightFang said:
" @Tom Pinchuk said:
"I know he's going to absolutely kill it with this run. "
I hope you're Tom, because I don't think I can take this Wonder Woman anymore.  "
Never read anything by Hester, so I can't say whether he's great or not. I think any writer would be limited by JMS clusterfuck of a script though. Also isn't all this wonder woman mess tied into to Brightest Day/Flashpoint now? If so we may have to tolerate this crap for a good bit longer than any of us would like. All that said, I'll reserve judgment til I read his first issue free of that mess. I hope the new suit sticks minus the jacket and a few straps. 
Posted by JonesDeini
@Noctis said:
" @Midnight Monk said:
" Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT "
Agreed. But I would prefer if they made her more like this.

"
 This is perfect, man!
@TheNameIsWayne:  
Indeed, that would've been the perfect direction to go. Instead we get a bad else worlds Xena knock off. :-(, Diana deserves MUCH better, folk. 
Posted by WeaponX23
@xhavoc86: 
really?  
 
Anyway, it's only like what 4 issues?  Story isn't anywhere near completion yet.  It's different, but I think its good.  Got me into WW. 

Posted by goldenkey
@JonesDeini:
this looks fuckin great. 
Posted by vicsrealms

For me, its just nice to see JMS's name on something.  Babylon 5, Crusade, and Jeremiah were the last I have seen of him.  Had no idea he was involved with comics.  How did I miss that?

Posted by JazGalaxy

I don't get people who talk badly about the Wonder Woman Costume. 
 
What do MMA Fighters wear? 
 
What do Gymnast wear? 
 
I'll tell you what no athlete or fighter DOES wear and that's a jacket and leather pants.  
 
I think people have to get past the idea that superheroes aren't SUPPOSED to be normal people doing normal things. Normal people don't fight crime. Normal people don't go "on patrol". Normal people don't  have code names and costumes. 
 
And, crap, go to Cirque Du Soleil and tell me that their costumes don't look like comic book constumes and look darn cool at the same time. I saw a show where 5 guys came out dressed like male versions of Electra and they looked fantastic.

Posted by 00 Raiser

I think the problem with Wonder Woman is that Diana really doesnt have any villains or supporting characters that stand out in anyone's mind. 
 
Like first things that come to my mind when I hear Superman is Lex Luthor, Doomsday, Braniac, Louis Lane, Jimmy, and the Daily Planet. 
 
When I hear Batman I think of Joker, Two Face, Penguin, Catwoman, The Robins, Batgirl and even Superman. 
 
The Flash has the Rogues, The Reverse Flash, and the moment when he saved reality and got lost in the Speed Force (Barry Allen). 
 
Green Lantern has slew of characters Im not going to even mention cause thats just way to many. 
 
Whats Wonder Woman have? The Greek Gods? Yeah, no one is interested in characters they already learned about in middle and high school. She needs something fresh and I have to say for someone who didnt read Wonder Woman but was a fan of the character I thought new directions was a good start. It got me reading at least.

Posted by niamahai

i find it funny that Spidey's BND was 'accepted' but the plot WW's plot of  "'oh noes i forgetz and oya check out my new threads!" was not.
 
Double standard.
 
Every single one of you.
 *at least they didn't rivert to kung fu fighting high fashion WW*

Posted by Eyz

Mmmh.. I'm strangely interested in reading how this wil lall turn out!

Edited by Evpraksiya
@00 Raiser said:

"   Whats Wonder Woman have? The Greek Gods? Yeah, no one is interested in characters they already learned about in middle and high school. She needs something fresh and I have to say for someone who didnt read Wonder Woman but was a fan of the character I thought new directions was a good start. It got me reading at least. "  

 
 L O L she's got so much more...and you'll be surprised, take a look at her stories first,or at her CV profile... you'll see that the Greek gods pop up sometimes and then we've Dc Psycho, Circe, Giganta, the Cheetah,( the morality of the humans), Ares, Hercules, (they're greek yes but they're bad ) she has got a lot of war enemies, Cheshire, Copperhead, Crime Doctor etc etc,   
 
She has got supporters, Steve, Etta, the JLA,  she's never really alone 
 
 Plus she killed Max Lord not for fun ,she deserves more than that description you made..she's part of the trinity and not for nothing, try reading the Hiketeia, the fact is she's not a man and makes you think about ethics , and that's not welcomed ( i'm certainly not a feminist ) but a show with thinking and not just raw power and gadget isn't really cool...  Plus Max Lord , he failed controlling her, and she surpasses her true nature to kill him and save the others.
 
http://www.comicvine.com/wonder-woman/29-2048/  
 
  
But i agree on a point i do not want a shitty adaptation . And shitty it will be if there is one.
Posted by mbembet

she's part of DC big three (with Bruce and clark) but she can't sell as much as both of them. guess DC should make her a lesbian i believe that will sell......probably.

Posted by batman_is_god
@mbembet said:
"she's part of DC big three (with Bruce and clark) but she can't sell as much as both of them. guess DC should make her a lesbian i believe that will sell......probably. "

I never understood why she was part of DC's big three. It seems their actual third biggest has always been Green Lantern. Perhaps because there is not a definite GHreen Lantern? I could easily see WW being a lesbian. 
 
The new outfit's biggest problem is I really do not see it becoming iconic/classic. I do not say this just because it comes behind an outfit she has been published with since the 40's (although that is an issue too) but because it in no way says "superhero. It really looks like something a normal girl would wear. Jeans, tank top, jacket... this is supposed to be one of DC's big 3?
Posted by WW-Fan

yay! i think he will do Wonder Woman amazing! :D
Posted by kapitein_zeppos
@JonesDeini said:
" @Noctis said:
" @Midnight Monk said:
" Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT "
Agreed. But I would prefer if they made her more like this.

"
 This is perfect, man!
@TheNameIsWayne:  Indeed, that would've been the perfect direction to go. Instead we get a bad else worlds Xena knock off. :-(, Diana deserves MUCH better, folk.  "
To me this already screams bad Xena knock off ... It's just a Xena costume repaint with small stylistic changes.  Of course this shows how much Xena ripped off WW in the first place with the doughnut vs eagle chestpiece etc ...
Posted by Damotello
@Midnight Monk said:
" Please god let the new outfit last for long while, I'm tired of seeing the metal bikini. If people want WW to be taken seriously make her a serious character both inside and OUT "
This. This times one thousand.
Posted by Silkcuts

 CV: And I have to ask, will she be keeping the new outfit?  

 PH: And I have to not answer. Sorry. That's above my pay grade.


Best Q and A ever

Posted by Green Flash

Hester says all the right things...really a good guy.  Hope he can deliver

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