It’s always been implied, going back to the original William Moulton Marston stories from the 1940s, that Wonder Woman wasn’t strictly heterosexual. Marston was a polyamorous feminist whose superhero lived in a paradise comprised solely of women who have a thing for bondage. How could she possibly have been straight?
But the visibility of her queerness has wavered over the years depending on the era and the creative team behind her, with her only canonical relationships being with men. DC Comics’ most recent run on the character, from writer Greg Rucka and artists Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp, has pushed her about as close as possible to being queer without making it textual, but now, thanks to an interview given by Rucka, we have the first time a DC writer has confirmed Wonder Woman’s bisexuality.
In an interview with Comicosity for their Queer Visibility series, this exchange took place:
Matt Santori-Griffith: I’m going to start off simple and to the point. The Wonder Woman that you and Nicola have introduced to us in “Year One” — is she queer?
Greg Rucka: How are we defining “queer?”
You’re applying a term specifically and talking to an ostensibly cis male (and white to boot), so “queer” to me may not be the same as it is to an out gay man. So, tell me what queer is.
MSG: Fair enough. For the purposes of this conversation, I would define “queer” as involving, although not necessarily exclusively, romantic and/or sexual interest toward persons of the same gender. It’s not the full definition, but it’s the part I’m narrowing in on here.
GR: Then, yes.
Rucka went on to explain why he felt that it was important that Diana not be straight:
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.
When we talk about agency of characters in 2016, Diana deciding to leave her home forever — which is what she believes she’s doing — if she does that because she’s fallen for a guy, I believe that diminishes her heroism.
She doesn’t leave because of Steve. She leaves because she wants to see the world and somebody must go and do this thing. And she has resolved it must be her to make this sacrifice.
Fans have been reading Diana as queer for basically her entire existence, but having a DC Comics employee confirm it after 75 years of her existence still feels like an achievement.
Rucka definitely seems like he was trying to walk a tightrope in terms of making Diana’s queerness textual without turning it into a “Northstar Problem,” as he calls it in reference to the X-Men character and first well-known gay superhero, and having her simply state that she’s queer. He says:
And I understand as best as I can the desire to see representation on the page. I don’t object to that at all. But my job first and foremost is always to serve the characters as best I can.
But he also says that he thought it was clear from the series’ second issue where Diana stood. In his final quote in the interview, he says:
It doesn’t matter if I say, “Yes, she’s queer.” Or “No, she’s not queer.” 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.
Rucka wants to make Diana’s queerness textual without having her simply state it, which is understandable enough, if not frustrating. People who lobby for representation of different lifestyles and cultures in their art and entertainment are often hit with the response, “It would be included if it was right for the story,” which usually means, “Unless our story forces us to include you, we won’t.” But Rucka’s answer has a different vibe. He seems to be leading towards a narrative moment that will confirm Diana is queer, instead of simply having it be stated in issue one.
There is a lot to unpack from Rucka’s interview, in terms of representation, the history of comics towards underrepresented people, and how to make those people visible.
Here’s hoping that by the time Rucka’s run on the series is over, we’ll finally have the Wonder Woman book that proves what fans have understood about the character all along.