It’s rare that I don’t get through my Wednesday pull list in one sitting. My usual comic ritual is to go to the shop on Wednesday, pick up my comics, come home and sit down and read them all. It’s part habit, part relaxation. Usually, by Wednesday morning, I have my column done and most of my work for the day out of the way so I usually don’t have anything to worry about.
And then this Wednesday, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon arrived.
Holy crap is it great!
First, a little bit of disclosure. Long time readers are aware (but new ones may not be) of the fact that Jill Thompson has a place in my heart. She is one of the first comic creators to give me time for interviews, she has long been one of my favourite artists and she went above and beyond the call of duty when she did a commission for me for my marriage proposal to my wife. I have often said, if she needed me to move a couch or a fridge, all she would have to do is give me a week’s notice, and I would find a way to drive to Chicago to give her a hand. She is awesome as both an artist and a person.
Now, divorcing myself from all of that, The True Amazon is a truly wonderful book that is in the running for my favourite book of the year.
In the simplest of terms and trying not to give anything away, The True Amazon is a retelling/reinvention of Wonder Woman’s origin. Now, retelling Wonder Woman’s origin and changing it or tweaking it, is nothing new. I can’t be positive of this but out of the DC canon, Wonder Woman’s origin has to be the one of the most rebooted/reinterpreted out of all of the heroes. The original version, the t.v. version, the Geroge Perez version, Brian Azzarello’s version, Greg Rucka’s version, the film that comes out next year, all have had a take on the origin of Wonder Woman. Some have made mild changes, others have made complete overhauls. Some have taken place within the same decade.
What makes Thompson’s version fantastic is that it doesn’t negate any of the previous versions but at the same time, she has created a version that is truly hers.
Jill Thompson has created a Wonder Woman fable.
Given the story telling Thomspon has used and her style of art (which we will get back to), The True Amazon has the tone of a modern fable. The unseen narrator has the feel of a mother telling her children a bedtime story of a spoiled princess that learns the hard way how to be selfless and fight for the betterment of others. It is incredibly well done and consistent throughout the entire story. I’ve always thought Jill was a good writer. Her work on Magic Trixie and Scary Godmother is proof alone that she’s got chop but with The True Amazon, she really stepped it up a notch. Not only that, she has managed to tell her fable in such a way that it stands out from everyone else’s version of Wonder Woman. While graphic novel does harken back to the past, it defiantly has her voice.
As for the art, it’s fantastic. I’ve already started to try and figure out how I can save money to buy an original page. The True Amazon is a fully painted book, lush with colour and life. Kudos to DC’s printing choices as I can’t imagine this looking any closer to the original water colours. You can almost feel the textures in the art. Thompson has done a masterful job of giving the art a dream-like quality that fits in perfectly with the fable she has told.
The graphic novel itself is a nice, well-bound hardcover that looks great on your shelf. The pages and printing capture the art perfectly. It’s a solid book.
For those who have followed Jill Thompson’s career, it feels like everything has lead to this book. Her art is in a fantastic place. The writing carries all of the lessons she learned from working with Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman as well as all of those she’s learned as a writer on her creator-owned material. It’s an all-ages book but is also most definitely for adults (like any good fable). And with this character, it seems like many things have come full circle.
One of Jill’s first jobs for DC was penciling Wonder Woman. It was a good run that lead to her getting work that made her career. As such, despite the fact she has become a much better artist (and I say that with love as I own a page from that Wonder Woman run), it’s always attached to her bio. Now, she has another Wonder Woman that can be referenced and that Wonder Woman is glorious. This has been a passion project for Jill (she’s been working on this since 2012 at the very least) and it shows.
If you like Jill Thompson’s work on anything, this is a must have. If you love Wonder Woman, you should be heading to the store right now to buy this book. If you like well-done comics, buy this book.
If you don’t like this book… I’m not sure we can be friends.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!