Wonder woman gets a makeover

Wednesday is a good day for Wonder Woman. This 69-year-old super-heroine, published by DC Comics, will don a newóand less revealingócostume and enjoy the publication of Issue No. 600 of her monthly series.

The costume ties into an alternative history for the character devised by J. Michael Straczynski, the new writer of the series, and into a quest by DC to shine a critical and creative spotlight on the heroine, who stands with Superman and Batman in its primary triumvirate of superstars, despite her series' modest sales.

In the re-imagining of her story, Wonder Woman, instead of growing up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters, is smuggled out as a baby when unknown forces destroy her home and slaughter its inhabitants.

Straczynski, who created the television show "Babylon 5" and wrote the screenplay for "Changeling" in 2008, starring Angelina Jolie, said that he wanted to address "the wardrobe issue" as soon as he took the job.

"She's been locked into almost the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941," Straczynski wrote. "If you're going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility."

He added, "What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?"

Given Wonder Woman's pre-eminence as a female character in the largely male superhero pantheon, her looks have always been a matter of more than casual interest, to both fan boys and feminists. In a 2006 interview about her work on the series, the novelist Jodi Picoult said: "One of the first things I did was ask if we could give her breast-reduction surgery, because as a woman, I know you wouldn't fight crime in a bustier. But I was somehow shot down by DC."

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