When it comes to the cultural and spiritual divide that exists between the two major comic houses, one as epic as that of Capulet vs. Montague or York vs. Lancaster or even Stark vs. Lannister, I have often stated my allegiance to Marvel. I am so very definitely a Marvel girl that I almost automatically recoil from anything DC-related, and while there are some exceptions to this admittedly discriminatory rule – I love Teen Titans and the Green Lantern animated series, and have recently spent many a happy hour in the archives of Yale Stewart’s clever DC-based webcomic JL8 (it’s Tiny Titans, but better) – by and large, if it bears the DC imprint, odds are that I probably couldn’t care less.
Why, then, do I have any opinion at all on the concept of Batman and Wonder Woman as a couple? Sure, I watched the 70s Wonder Woman show in reruns when I was a kid – Lynda Carter’s tiny waist simply defies science – and I dug the Burton Batman, but I really have as little vested interest in the romantic entanglements of these characters as I do in their Super Friends cohort Gleek, and he was nothing more than a stupidly babbling blue monkey. Really, when my learned colleague came at me with her yearning for a Batman and Wonder Woman happily ever after, my reaction should have been somewhere commensurate to the interest I take in gossip rag speculation regarding the love lives of minor European royalty, or sundry Kardashians. Which is exactly none.
But Kim said: “Hey, even though it’s not exactly canon, you know who are a great couple? Batman and Wonder Woman!” (or words to that effect), and my automatic, almost violent, reaction was: “No. No they’re not.”
Let me tell you why.
It’s not the Wonder Woman/Batman-ness of it all, I’ll tell you that right now. As a non-partisan of either, I have no idea if perhaps Superman has a superior claim to Diana’s affections or if it is only the feisty Selina Kyle who can and should light the Bat’s dour fire, as apparently many Justice League fans believe—though I do think The Dark Knight Rises proved to us all that Catwoman is way too cool for that stodgy Bruce Wayne. No, it was the non-canon-ness of it all that had me immediately up in arms at the very suggestion of this cross-racial pairing. (DC Universe Amazons are a different race to humans, right? Or did the New 52 reboot retcon that?) Because non-canon makes me mad, people. MAD.
I think it started on that dark, desolate day during the internet’s infancy, when I was painstakingly trawling my way around infant, text-based Star Trek sites via my neophyte search engine of choice, AltaVista, and a primordial web browser I have just now remembered the existence of, Netscape Navigator. (Wow, turns out both of those things still exist, though the former is now powered by Yahoo! How sad for them that I used Google to find that out.) One of these sites held an intriguing link to something called “Fan Fiction,” which turned out to be stories based on both The Original Series and The Next Generation, and I figured, hey, I already read the franchise-sanctioned novels based on both series, why shouldn’t I give these a whirl?
Oh. Dear. Such a mistake that was. I well remember my thoughts as I read one: “What?! What the hell is going on here? Kirk and Spock should not be doing that! Stop it, Kirk and Spock! My eyes, my eyes!” Yes, I had innocently stumbled onto my first example of slash fan fiction, and that is the kind of thing you just cannot unsee.
It’s not that I have any problem with same-sex couplings. In fact, I encourage them. But even the most imaginative of fan fiction writers should, in my humble opinion, adhere to the boundaries set upon the characters by their creators and caretakers and not fly off on the most ridiculous of Alternate Universe tangents. I just feel like, when you’re playing in someone else’s playground, you should at least have the courtesy not to knock over the seesaw and break the chains on the swing-set. I mean, fine, suggest Angel (David Boreanaz) and Spike (James Marsters) crossed swords occasionally in their bad old days, or give Lost Girl’s bisexual Bo (Anna Silk) a tryst with the Dark Fae’s seductive Morrigan (Emmanuelle Vaugier). Neither is unlikely. But don’t force poor Bilbo into a sado-masochistic orgy with all his Dwarf companions, or make of Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) a Virginia Andrews novel. That’s just wrong, man. Creepy and wrong.
Not that Batman and Wonder Woman is a same sex, against-preference thing, of course (though Wonder Woman’s all-female birth society does make you wonder if maybe she and, say, Batgirl wouldn’t be a more probable pairing, somewhere down the track), but you see what I mean. I have equal objections to stories that have Aragorn choosing Eowyn over Arwen, or give Castiel (Misha Collins) a romantic history with the Winchester boys’ long-dead mom. And don’t even get me started on crossover stories, the kind that see Harry Potter, devastated from the loss of Ginny in a tragic Floo Powder incident or some such, move to the US and hook up with Elena from The Vampire Diaries. Seriously, just stop it, people. Make up your own stuff.
Also, why bring upon yourself so much torment? Shipping a non-canon couple can only be considered a painful exercise in futility, as those who are certain Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and his alien robot car Bumblebee are a match made in the AllSpark would no doubt tell you, if only they weren’t—surely—currently under some form of psychiatric assessment.
My formidable opponent has since given us several examples across various media, seeking to prove that a Batman/Wonder Woman relationship might just possibly be sort of canon, and Lord knows I have clung to a hoped-for fictional coupling with perhaps even less to go on (hello, Jack and Sam of Stargate SG-1). And I am certainly not suggesting here that a love interest must have been planned, or even considered, from the beginning of the story to end up being awesome; indeed; there are times when a potential romance will catch even the creators off guard, like how Angel was supposed to die only a few episodes into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how over on Homeland – if I may be allowed to step outside our usual purview for a moment – apparently only the intense chemistry of Claire Danes and Damien Lewis led to Carrie and Brody’s obsessive, disturbing affair of the heart/terrorist mind game. But I think we should let the creators throw us those curve balls before we jump ahead to the end of the inning, and dammit, these characters have been around for upwards of eighty years and have hardly shared more than a chaste peck on the cheek when not under the alien influence of something or other in all that time. If, at this late stage, the DC Comics writers and artists find a way to get the World’s Greatest Detective and the Amazing Amazon into some non-Alternate Universe snuggling, I’ll be all for it, and if I then have latent questions about the wisdom of having an uncomplicated, earnest soul like Diana Prince as anti-hero, playboy Batman’s significant other, I’ll just remember how reluctant I was about Scott Summers and Emma Frost at first, and how great Team Marvel made that turn out. (Plus, Batman and Wonder Woman = his-and-her cool planes!)
Until that day, though, I hold fast to the opinion that Wonder Woman and Batman should remain nothing more than teammates and platonic, super-powered super friends.
Uh. Not that I care.
READ THE OPPOSING ARGUMENT
BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN: SUPER-COUPLE
BY KIM SORENSEN