Monday, July 24, 2017

Friends don't button the top half of their shirts around friends.

That's the second-to-last page of Wonder Woman: I Am Wonder Woman, a 2010 junior reader book written by Erin K. Stein and illustrated by Rick Farley. I am fascinated with the image. Actually, I'm fascinated with just about every image in the book, but this one is my favorite. I love that Wonder Woman is just having a casual dinner with her friends Superman and Batman, who are shown training with her and helping her fight a dragon earlier in the book, and her guests are both wearing suits...but with their dress shirts unbuttoned enough to reveal the icons on their superhero costumes.

That is fantastic.

I can't imagine the exact circumstances that lead them to be half-dressed in this particular way; they are obviously somewhere private (Wonder Woman's home in Washington D.C. is my guess, based on the context), where they can be free to air out their costumes a little, but the World's Finest still feel compelled to have their civilian clothes on over their costumes. Superman looks pretty disheveled, with his tie just hanging there, while Batman has his pocket hankerchief impeccably folded.

I kind of love the fact that these two egomaniacs who spend so much of their lives wearing logos for themselves just can't bear to cover up their logos when they don't have to, particularly in the company of Wonder Woman. This is like them saying visually, constantly, "I'm Superman" and "I'm Batman."

I suppose there's another reading, though. Maybe they do that so they can help Wonder Woman tell them apart better? Raised on an island where she never had occasion to lay eyes on a man, perhaps all men look alike to Wonder Woman? And thus the two fit, dark-haired dudes wear their logos like name tags?

I'm also finding myself wondering about how breathable spandex is, because good God it must be warm wearing a bodysuit under a suit all day, and if they always wear their costumes under their suits, as that would mean that they're always just a few broken buttons away from having their secret identities exposed.

I could go on--I have lots of thoughts about what they're eating!--but I'll shut up now. If you ever want to stare at weird pictures of Wonder Woman and ponder the world in which they are illustrating though, you probably can't go wrong with this book. (Ralph Cosentino's Wonder Woman: The Story of The Amazon Princess is still the best Wonder Woman book for children, though.)

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