Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "wonder-woman"

Wonder Woman: Mistress of Many Clothes

I finally read a modern Wonder Woman story after reading Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told and was left with a big question. Why does Wonder Woman change clothes so often?

The premise of the story was that Lois Lane was doing a day in the life story following Wonder Woman around and during the course of the day, she has many wardrobe changes.

She begins in the classic Wonder Woman costume in which she addresses a group of college students, but begins a dizzying number of wardrobe changes:

1) She goes back to the JLA watch tower and changes into a smart outfit of a Purple turtle neck and mini-skirt to do science stuff and then does a women's TV show in that outfit.
2) She goes to the White House meets with President Lex Luthor and wears a red drape like dress.
3) She then goes to lunch with Lois and changes into the Wonder Woman costume with a mini-skirt instead of shorts.
4) She goes to Atlanta to tutor African American young people and changes into a basketball playing outfit.
5) She travels to Indonesia and changes into an exercise outfit.
6) She goes to Rwanda and changes back into her Wonder Woman costume with mini-skirt.
7) She goes to the UN and changes into a tunic and and slacks.
8) She goes to Metropolis to volunteer at an AIDS event and wears a t-shirt and jeans with then goes and shoots pool with Lois and has a heart to heart to heart talk.
9) Before leaving the pool hall, she changes back into the slacks and tunic.

In eighteen hours, she wears seven different outfits and changes clothes nine different times.

Superhero comics require a bit of suspension of disbelief when it comes to clothes, particularly in the DC universe where what happens to the civilian clothes of Batman and Superman is a bit of a mystery, but come on. She changes outfits nine times and is never shown carrying a bag.

Throughout the story, she's using JLA teleporting technology to go from one city to another, so maybe she goes up to the Watch Tower for a trip to the "Amazon Princess" room for the change.

Most of these changes seems totally inexplicable. I get that you may want to dress up for a trip to the White House or to represent your country at the UN, and maybe she'd do better not to show up in an Islamic country in her normal attire, but why make most of these changes at all? First of all, she's Wonder Woman and most people are going to expect to see her in costume. If she's going to be dressing up for various places and her outfit considered unacceptable attire for going on television, why wear it to a speech to a University. Why change clothes to go to the AIDS clinic? And why change clothes again to walk down the street and talk with Lois?

I decided to ask my wife about this. Do women have some secret desire to change clothes all the time? I said, "Honey, have you ever wanted to change clothes a lot in a single day?" She gave me a weird look.

When I explained the situation, her first concern was that this was creating a lot of laundry and she wondered who was doing it. The best I can figure out is the Martian Manhunter really enjoys doing laundry and that perhaps this is all some effort to support his training.

Of course, some people might think I'm sexist for noticing this, but I'd defer any accusation and put it on Andy Lanning, the artist who drew this story. He's the one who thinks that the world's most powerful woman wants to change her clothes all day long. While I write superhero parody, I don't think I'm going to touch this in the story, thus the reason for the blog post.
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Published on September 14, 2013 06:48 Tags: wonder-woman

Book Review: Wonder Woman Chronicles Volume 2

The Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 2 The Wonder Woman Chronicles, Vol. 2 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book begins with Wonder Woman #2 and ends with Wonder Woman #3. In between, the book features Wonder Woman stories form Sensation Comics #10-#14 and Comics Cavalcade #1.

Moulston's plotting of Wonder Woman #2 and #3 is particularly clever. After Wonder Woman #1 followed the popular practice the day of four unrelated stories starring the heroine, in Both Wonder Woman magazines we're presented with four stories that are closely related. The first set teamed Wonder Woman against Ares, the god of War in a story that seemed like a Justice Society in reverse as each featured a different sub-villain battling Wonder Woman. Mars himself is up in the first story followed by attacks by Greed, Deception, and Conquest. Thus Moulston used Greek mythology to create a modern parable of war.

In Wonder Woman #3, the four stories focus on Wonder Woman challenging the baroness Von Gunther.

Wonder Woman at this point in her history has a solid supporting cast with back up from Steve Trevor and the surprisingly competent Etta Candy. In one story, it's even revealed that Wonder Woman belongs to a local bowling league. (Wouldn't you love to bowl against that team.)

The book is one that parents should be cautious about sharing with their kids. The book's pseud-paganism and constant use of slave imagery as some sort of feminist metaphor is kind of surprising for the 1940s, and it's something parents should be aware of before buying.

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Published on November 15, 2013 20:41 Tags: wonder-woman

Book Review: Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is supposed to be made up of some of the Greatest story in the history of Wonder Woman from 1942-2001.

The book begins with two stories from the original run by Creator William Moulton Marston in the 1940s. The origin story is skipped for the more entertaining "Wonder Woman Comes to America" which has a great light sense of fun to it as Wonder Woman encounters crooks and establishes her secret identity. Second, we find Wonder Woman up against a team of supervillains when her attempt to put the Saturn women on Paradise Island's reformatory goes awry. The book length stories by Moulston were groundbreaking in that most comic book heroes would usually do 3 or 4 different stories when presented with their own magazine. Going back to Wonder Woman #2, Moulston would have a big plot for as comics as long as 64 pages. Whether this was Wonder Woman's greatest Golden Age story or not is unclear, but it's probably the one that could really fit in the 192-page book at a much more manageable 36 pages.

Next are three stories from the early to mid Silver Age by Robert Kanigher. "Top Secret" is a somewhat lame retelling of Wonder Woman's secret identity and a bizarre game played by Steve Trevor as the male Lois Lane trying to trick Wonder Woman into marrying him. "Wanted-Wonder Woman" is a fairly run of the mill alien story that just doesn't feel like it belongs in a greatest story ever told book. "Giganta-The Gorilla Girl" is from a series of stories where Wonder Woman's Golden age opponents were being reintroduced in the 1960s. Okay, but not great.

Next are three late Silver-to-Bronze book length adventures. "Wonder Woman's Rival" has Steve Trevor convicted of murder and acting like a jerk to blame Wonder Woman who tries to clear him by going undercover in mod clothing as she tries to solves the murder Steve's accused of. This was actually a pretty fun story.

Then we have "Wish Upon a Star," a story told by Green Lantern as he observes Wonder Woman as the JLA has its members observe Wonder Woman and evaluate whether to give her back membership in the JLA as part of the 12 Labors story in which Wonder Woman has to prove herself worthy of being in the JLA after leaving when she lost her powers. This is a part of Wonder Woman history that never made sense. It wasn't like she did anything unethical, so why did she have to prove that she was still worthy. So, while Wonder Woman has a great triumph, the underlying story makes no sense.

The best story in the book is without a doubt, "Be Wonder Woman...And Die" about a dying young woman who wants badly to play Wonder Woman in a film to prove herself as an actress and give some joy to her elderly father. While many stories here try to be emotionally powerful, this one does it and is the truest classic in the book.

Next up are two post-crisis Wonder Woman stories. First is, "Who Killed Windi Mayer" where most of the story is told by a male cop in this murder mystery that attempts a more realistic procedural. A police procedural is one of Wonder Woman’s greatest stories? Really?

Finally, we have "She's a Wonder" a story that's full of inconsistencies as Lois Lane follows Wonder Woman around for a day in the life with the help of the JLA teleporter. I really don't like the politics of Wonder Woman which really don't need to be stated. She comes out as pro-choice and attacks traditional religion. Whether you agree with the views expressed or not, it doesn't strike me as making the story timeless, but rather shoving politics down people's throats and dating it to the issues of the time.

The story's also bizarre for Wonder Woman's distracting constant wardrobe changes. Through the 18 hour day, she begins in Boston and then teleports to France wearing her traditional Wonder Woman costume and then speaks to College students then goes up to the Watch Tower to work on scientific experiments and changes into a Purple turtleneck and black mini-skirt, and does a TV interview in the same before teleporting to the White House wearing a dress that could double as a tent, before changing into a Wonder Woman costume with mini-skirt, then she goes into Atlanta and changes into a Wonder Woman t-shirt with gym shorts, then in a white t-shirt and workout pants in Indonesia, then back to Wonder Woman with mini-skirt in Rwanda, then to New York where she puts on a blue tunic with gray slacks at the UN, and then to white t-shirt and Jeans in support of an AIDS charity in Metropolis and finally back to her UN outfit on the streets. All told she wore seven different outfits and changed clothes nine times in a day. Mind you, she is at know time carrying a bag with extra clothes.

In addition, the artists and writers couldn't seem to agree. A full page spread of Wonder Woman declares she wears no make up while she's obviously wearing pink nail polish and lipstick.

While the story showed Wonder Woman doing great things and interacting with Lois, who is jealous of her relationship with Superman, the story seemed forced. The writers seemed self-conscious about making all the right points that they ended up with a lot of junk and lacked consistency.

Until this last story, the book was bordering on being four stars, but this makes a definite three.

The other thing that keeps this story out of the four star territory is the introduction. It's by Linda Carter who played TV's Wonder Woman and seems to know nothing about the comic. This is a book that needs an introduction. If I hadn't researched beforehand, I wouldn't have know about the "12 labors " series or how rare the lengthy villain battle contained here during the Golden Age was. Wonder Woman went through more fundamental changes than other characters which leaves many questions. Why did they redo Wonder Woman's origin in 1958? Why were they reintroducing Golden Age characters in 1966? You won't find the answers here.

There was a time that DC would put good introductions that would give fans the context to understand what's going on when they did DC Archives and the original Greatest story ever told collections in the late 1980s and DC Archives books. What Wonder Woman got here was a mish mash of stories with no context, some of them excellent, and some unintentionally laughable. She deserves better than this thrown together book by DC.

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Published on November 17, 2013 11:18 Tags: wonder-woman

Too Many Superheroes Spoil the Movie

I'm definitely feeling bearish about the new Batman-Superman movie after the report that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman.

This is no reflection on Ms. Gadot who may be a fine actress. This is more a reflection of the fact that the production team appears to be biting off far more than it can chew.

This has been behind at least a couple critically dubious superhero films.

Andrea and I liked the first Fantastic Four movie and just recently watched Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The production crew took elements right out of the comics. Indeed, if you read Essential Fantastic Four, Vol. 3, you'll find the basis for the book's biggest plot points: The Weeding of Reed and Sue, the coming of Galactus and the Silver Surfer , and Dr. Doom stealing the Silver Surfer's powers. Each of these were great comic stories. But if you try and shove them into a movie, the result is a mess. Particularly if the film is taken up by additional concerns such as the military making fun of Reed Richards for not playing football in High School.

Same thing with Spider-man 3. While the film was actually decent in my opinion, it did have problems and chief among them was that there was too much going on: We had Peter wanting to get married, Harry Osborn (the New Goblin) getting amnesia and regaining his memory, the Sandman appeared and Peter found out the Sandman was the one who really killed Uncle Ben, and you had the Venom symbiote merging with Peter and then fighting with Peter.

You had way too much going on and that led to some weak points such as the battle with Venom were not really treated like they deserved.

Compare these films to the recent Disney produced Marvel films. They're all fairly straight forward in terms of plots with the notable exception of Iron Man 2 which was the worst of them. The individual movies knew it was their job to create a movie origin for the main character. The Avengers took four featured characters we already knew and had them fight one villain we also already knew and developed the relationship between them

The problem as I see it with this new project is you have way too many elements . Here are the things the movie needs to do:

1) Establish what normal is for Superman, something we didn't get from Man of Steel

2) Introduce the new Batman to audience.

3) Introduce Wonder Woman and her origins

4) Introduce the villain

5) Set up the villain's plot and execute it. And that plot has to be big enough that all thee heroes are needed to take it on.

There is no way that they're going to do all these things and do to them well, even in a 3 hour movie.

Of course, viewers of The Avengers will recall that the Black Window (i.e. Natasha Romanoff) was introduced with very little fanfare or plot digression as was Hawkeye (Clint Barton).

With respect, neither one of these characters is Wonder Woman. It was possible to give them short shrift because they're not well know outside of comic book fans. However, Wonder Woman is one of DC's flagship character who along with Superman and Batman is the only character to have been starring in her own magazine without interruption since the 1940s.

She also has a big fan base that will expect her to get a lot of attention. Unless, she appears at the end of the movie after the action in a cameo that will set up her own film, the producers have really set themselves up for a lose/lose situation here.
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Published on December 06, 2013 06:30 Tags: man-of-steel, wonder-woman

Book Review: Wonder Woman Chronicles, Volume 3

The Wonder Woman Chronicles Vol. 3 The Wonder Woman Chronicles Vol. 3 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book collects Wonder Woman Stories from Sensation Comics #15-#18, Wonder Woman Issues #4 and 5, and Comics Cavlacade #2.

Most but not all of Wonder Woman's Adventures tie into the war, but William Moulston Marston manages to do it with aplumb as Wonder Woman's efforts lead her to have to battle Japanese scientists who have developed a formula to turn women against their men in hopes of starting a male-female civil war. She also has to uncover the secret of a talking lion to foil some spies. In addition, in the highlight of the book from the Comic Cavalcade story, Adolf Hitler decides Wonder Woman is too dangerous and declares her Wanted: Dead or Alive. Whlle many heroes hunted Nazis, it was certainly a special case for the Nazis to hunt down the heroine.

The full issues were generally good with each story building on each other. Issue 4 once again featured four interlinked stories, this time focusing on the reform of Paula, the former Wonder Woman archfoe who becomes a full fledged free Amazonian. Issue 5 only the first and last stories were interlinked as war time paper shortages began to limit issue lengths.

On the non-War front, Wonder Woman battled the Mole Men in Wonder Woman #4, and in Issue #5 she took on Dr. Psycho, a powerful mind controlling super villain which was actually one of the better golden age villains.

The book is extremely well written, but again something kids should be cautious about as Marston's own kinks and beliefs come into play as well as a dose of Greek religion.

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Published on February 22, 2014 09:43 Tags: golden-age, wonder-woman

Book Review: Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Volume 1

Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1 by Robert Kanigher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In 1958, in Issue #98 Wonder Woman rebooted for the Silver Age. This book collects the first 20 issues of the Silver Age run with art by Ross Andru and stories by Robert Kanigher.

The art remains classy and fun throughout. I much prefer the style to the much more crude Wonder Woman of the golden age. One of my favorite features of Andru's art is his portrayal of Wonder Woman changing into costume, the sequence drawing is just a great touch.

I have much more mixed feelings on the stories. With Issue 98, Kanigher begins again with a new origin story for Wonder Woman is not tied to the golden age version. Rather than Steve Trevor crashing on Paradise Island, the Amazons themselves decide to send someone out. And Wonder Woman isn't given her costume for this purpose. She already had the costume, but they did have a contest which she won and she's immediately tasked with turning a penny into a million dollars to give charity.

She takes the identity of Diana Prince in order to avoid Steve's creepy attempt trick her into marriage and our story is set. The stories in the first half of the book tend to have a light touch with some decent humor and fun. Issue #100 actually had a very meta story in which Paradise Island insist she do something grand for her 100th issue. Plus there was an issue where Wonder Woman took a young fan to visit Paradise Island.

The second half of the book was more problematic. In many ways, the book really copied from other comics. While I'm certain that there was a certain amount of this at every DC comic in the Silver Age, it was pretty noticeable here. For example, in one issue, Wonder Woman loses her powers for a day, an idea lifted from Martian Manhunter's stories. It made sense for the Martian Manhunter with his science based wonders. Given that Wonder Woman's are more magical, this was just kind of stupid.

The biggest ripoff of other books was the story of Wonder Girl, Wonder Woman as a girl, a blatant attempt to play to the strength of characters like Superboy and sidekicks like Robin and Kid Flash. The big problem with this was that Wonder Woman grew up in an all-female Utopia with few real opportunities for actual adventures, leading to story lines that were more than a little bit contrived such a robot girl built to be Wonder Girl's only playmate.

In addition, Wonder Girl knew that she would grow up to be Wonder Woman, which given that her origin involved a contest was kind of stupid and makes the whole origin of Wonder Woman dumb. She even sets out to try and meet her older self, something which some theorist could say would end the space-time continuum. But given that she lived on Paradise Island, I get the desperation to lift the boredom.

More than Wonder Girl treating the space-time continuum like its a toy is that these stories led to the introdtion of Merboy, an insufferable lovesick undersea teenager who makes Steve Trevor look like the biggest alpha male in the world. His attempts to woo Wonder Girl are annoying and just take up way too many pages. But this is what Kanigher was reduced to when trying to write a story about a teenage girl living on a perfect island with no men and free from competition as the only teenager.

Plus, while I'm glad they didn't go into all the complexity f Wonder Woman Creator Charles Moulston's ideology, there doesn't seem to be much of a reason for Paradise Island being all female other than that it's all female.

However, that's not to say the stories are all bad. They're some fun one and the early part of the book is a nice opportunity for parents who want to introduce their children to early Wonder Woman without any real questionable content, and of course the art is great throughout. However, the book's weaknesses stop this book from being anything other than average.

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Published on April 07, 2014 19:13 Tags: wonder-woman

Book Review: Wonder Woman Archives, Volume 3

Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 3 Wonder Woman Archives, Vol. 3 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third collection of hardback Wonder Woman stories collects Sensation Comics #18-#24 and Wonder Woman #5-#7.

The Sensation Comics stories are pretty much unremarkable par for the course Wartime Wonder Woman stories. The one exception to that is Wonder Woman #19 in which Wonder Woman's bracelets are cut by a villain and they learn that's a big mistake as she goes hog wild. The obvious lesson would seem to be that without moral restraint we'll end up hurting others, but those who interpret Wonder Woman stories probably can find the darker meaning.

The full length Wonder Woman issues really impress and be far ahead of its time in terms of stories and having them interlinked. Issue 5 introduces Doctor Psycho in its lead story and resurrects him in the final tale and in between we have more shenanigans by Mars and their attempts to control the Earth. Issue 6 introduces the Golden Age version of Wonder Woman foe, the Cheetah. Issue 7 shows them more than a Decade and a half ahead of the trend of Silver Age silliness. Amazons have the ability to see the future and they see that Etta Candy accidentally discovers a formula that gives everyone on Earth endless life with no aging, thus allowing Wonder Woman to live a thousand years into the future to see a world in which secretaries dress like they're going to the beach and men either dress as gauchos or sleave shirts, bikini shorts, and capes. It's the most insane story Moulton's written yet. Wonder Woman maintains a double identity as Diana Prince for a thousand years even after she's elected to the Presidency and keep in mind-she has no reason to maintain the identity other than to allow her to serve in Intelligence. After about 900 years, she could have told them the truth.

The story does have, as usual, doses of the author's kinks and ideology. The tale of the future has a strong bent of how women make the best leaders which may tie into the some very adult ideas, but for most girls reading this in the 1940s was probably just viewed as a rare piece of programming counter to culture. As always, parental discretion advised, but Wonder Woman continued to be a very well-written book.

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Published on June 24, 2015 23:25 Tags: wonder-woman

Book Review: Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity

Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity by Matt Wagner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This graphic novel centers around DC's Big Three Characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, the three comic book characters who have published consistently since the Golden Age of Comics.

You might expect a thoughtful or profound epic like All-Star Superman or perhaps Kingdom Come. By this measure, the book is a failure. While it boasts about being about their "formative years," there's little indication that they're figuring things out, except for Wonder Woman. There's no period feel or nostalgia about the book.

What the book does achieve is being a very good story in its own right. Without the contrivance of this being the first meeting between the big three, this is actually a very solid tale in its own right. It's got some great action and is terrific thriller involving Ra's Al ghul and Bizarro of all people in a crazy messianic plot.

Where the book does fall down a bit is that Wagner doesn't have much clue on what to do with Wonder Woman in a way that's classy, so instead he has Ra's al Ghul talking about wanting to rape Wonder Woman. And then there's the scene where Batman stumbles on a bathing Wonder Woman out of the river on Paradise Island and is unable to resist kissing her. That's not a Batman thing to do and as bad as al Ghul is rape isn't something he'd threaten. I'm not some radical SJW, but it seems to me that in a comic book co-starring Wonder Woman, you could at least treat the character with some respect.

Beyond these issues though, the comic is fairly good reading, but just don't expect a classic tale.

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Published on August 28, 2015 19:46 Tags: batman, superman, wonder-woman

Book Review: Wonder Woman: The Complete Dailies 1944-1945

Wonder Woman: The Complete Dailies 1944-1945 Wonder Woman: The Complete Dailies 1944-1945 by William Moulton Marston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Wonder Woman's 18 month run as a comic strip character. The book presents the origin of Wonder Woman (improved slightly by not having Wonder Woman having to disguise herself during her competition to come to man's world.) The book includes comic strip adaptations of Wonder Woman having her initial battle with the Cheetah and also h sought toer solving the mystery of a woman whose kisses bring death.

The art continues to be superb, but the stories themselves tend to be too off the wall which makes understanding how the series got cancelled. There was a one week story line where Steve sought to get control of the Lasso to tie Wonder Woman's arms and force her to kiss him.

Overall, while it was too weird for mainstream comic companies, fans of the Golden Age Wonder Woman should find it enjoyable.

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Published on January 12, 2016 23:54 Tags: golden-age, wonder-woman

Book Review: Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Volume 2

Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman, Vol. 2 Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman, Vol. 2 by Robert Kanigher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collects Wonder Woman Issues 118-137, covering 2 1/2 years of comics from November 1960-April 1963.

This was an odd era for Wonder Woman. In many ways, the writers seemed to be doing much of the same thing that writers of Superman were and interested in similar themes such as featuring adventures of Wonder Woman when she was a girl and introducing a grown up version of the boy who chased her in childhood, Merman and making him a rival to Steve Trevor as a kind of mirror of the whole Lana Lang-Lois Lane rivalry, though I found it a bit tedious.

The big challenge with all of this is that Superman had two comic books, plus one more for Lois Lane, another for Jimmy Olsen, and a feature for Superboy in Adventure Comnics . Wonder Woman had one comic book, so the books became increasingly filled with tales from Wonder Woman's past and romantic fights for her affection by Steve and Merman and less with actual modern day adventures.

Another feature was what was called "Impossible stories," in which Wonder Woman would team up with Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot along with Wonder Woman's mother Queen Hipolyata to fight some evil (usually the Multi-man). Of course, except for Wonder Woman's mother everyone else in the "Wonder Woman family" was really just Wonder Woman at different ages, something that made the book confusing though apparently they kept getting requests to do more of them. It's no wonder that Bob Haney thought Wonder Girl was a separate character when he was writing Teen Titans.

The stories are fun but a bit below what you get in the better comics. My favorite is a tribute to, "The Fifty Foot Woman," and there's also a handy story explaining all the phrases Wonder Woman uses. Handy. Overall, okay, but not all that spectacular.

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Published on June 25, 2016 15:53 Tags: silver-age, wonder-woman

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
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