The Next Chapter

Mariko Tamaki's take on writing the Wonder Woman comic book focuses on the less super aspects of being a hero

The award-winning Canadian writer and illustrator spoke with Shelagh Rogers about writing the latest comic book adventures of the famous DC Comics superhero.
Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian comic creator. (Shawnee Custalow)
Listen10:25

Mariko Tamaki is an award-winning writer and illustrator from Toronto, now based in Los Angeles. Her 2019 book, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, is a graphic novel illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. It tells the story about a teenage girl named Freddy whose girlfriend, Laura Dean, keeps stringing her along. 

It was recently announced that Tamaki will be the newest writer for DC Comics' Wonder Woman comic book series. She spoke with Shelegh Rogers about her love of superheroes and why Wonder Woman has endured over the decades.

Meeting Wonder Woman

"My first encounter with Wonder Woman was Lynda Carter on television.  It was back in those days when she would  spin around and that golden glow would envelop her and then she would have her costume change. That was my Wonder Woman, for sure.

I was somebody who was solidly connected to the TV version of things for a very long time.

"I was somebody who was solidly connected to the TV version of things for a very long time. I didn't get into comics until I was a little older. It was in my late teens, and then 20s and 30s, is when I started reading more comic book stuff."

Concept sketches for Wonder Woman by Mikel Janín. (Mikel Janín/DC Comics)

More than "cape and boots"

"I'm always aware when I'm writing characters that there is a visual aspect of them. My thought on Wonder Woman is that she doesn't really care. This is her. This is her body armour and these are her boots and this is the thing that she wears. Other people may think whatever they think about it, but that's not an issue for her. 

My approach to [superhero] characters is usually to try to put them in situations that aren't just 'cape and boots' situations.

"My approach to [superhero] characters is usually to try to put them in situations that aren't just 'cape and boots' situations. I'd like to put them in their apartments. I like to go the more humanizing route. There's more layers to them."

Cover art for Wonder Woman #759, out June 10, 2020. Written by Mariko Tamaki. (David Marquez/DC Comics)

21st century woman

"The amazing thing about these characters is that they do evolve. They do adapt to new audiences as new writers take them on and as new generations are encountering them. The Wonder Woman movie felt incredibly empowering. It felt incredible to see when she's charging across the field to save the villagers. I was 100 per cent into that.

The amazing thing about these characters is that they do evolve. They do adapt to new audiences as new writers take them on and as new generations are encountering them.

"There's like a nugget of that moment that's true in all versions of the characters  — that idea of saving the day. The question of what saving the day means changes as we move forward in time."

Mariko Tamaki's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

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