Friday, January 27, 2012

For the Kids - Wonder Woman

One of the greatest joys for me as a father is reading to my daughter. We try to read a little bit of everything to her from Little Golden Books to Dr. Seuss. At two and half, she's starting to follow along with the actual story somewhat, so I wanted to start giving her some positive female role models to counteract the Disney Princess flood. With me as a father, she's at least aware of who the major superheroes are (hell, she's named after Hawkgirl). She was Wonder Woman this past Halloween and we recently got a couple of books designed to help kids learn to read featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and another featuring Spider-Man. One of my proudest moments came recently when I started to read from one of these:

"Clark Kent is a reporter for the Daily Planet. He is secretly Super-"

"NO! I want Batman!!"

Thing is, there's only one Wonder Woman story in the book, so I wanted more. I looked online and quickly realized there wasn't much to go on, so I turned to Twitter and asked for a recommendation from Ali Colluccio AKA Wonder Ali, who's articles I've read on iFanboy. She was nice enough to recommend, glowingly, Wonder Woman: The Story of the Amazon Princess by Ralph Cosentino. (Coincidentally, about a week later, iFanboy posted this article on the subject of young girls and comics, which is definitely worth a read.)

So, I ordered the book and it came in on Wednesday, comic day, which only added to my excitement for it. I opened the Amazon box and looked through it, immediately struck by the bright art. Reminiscent of Power Puff girls, it was clean and cartoonish and it popped. The design, while maintaining a storybook form, called to mind comic style and structure. The story is simple enough, covering all the basic Wonder Woman bits. She was made out of clay. She wins a contest on Paradise Island. She flies her invisible jet. She saves people and animals and battles Cheetah, Circe, Ares, etc. Nothing groundbreaking, but it is presented in a very economical way that still flows for children. It's everything I wanted and more. I hope I can find more material like this, maybe featuring other female heroes, and that are, hopefully, more than just origin stories.

While I didn't read it to her that night (I was reading my own comics, thank you!), I did read it to her last night and I am happy to report that we loved it. As I read the opening lines about where Wonder Woman comes from, she repeated "Paradise Island" and kept echoing the end of each section for a few pages. Eventually, she just settled back in bed and listened, drifting off, dreaming (I hope) of being like the strong, empowered princess that protects the world, talks to animals and generally kicks ass.

Custom mask by our good friends at Wonderland Creations.

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