Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Ever-Lovin' Hulk

For reasons that will remain obscured I've spent a lot of time over the last two weeks watching short YouTube videos of superhero theme songs from days past. Some of them I remember vividly from my childhood (the amazing '60s Spider-Man song, all big-band and swing--"Is he strong? Listen, Bud: He's got radioactive blood!"). And some of which I was totally ignorant of. Such as this Iron-Man opening:

It's pretty wild. But not nearly as crazy as this perversion of the Incredible Hulk. Listen to the lyrics carefully: the song imagines the Hulk as a cuddly innocent, the "ever-lovin' Hulk":

There are lots more if you dig around. But what surprised me the most was the them from the Lynda Carter [ed: it's "Lynda"!] Wonder Woman, a show I revered as a kid, largely because of Lynda Carter. As a 4-year-old I didn't really know what a babe was, but I knew that Carter was one. What I didn't realize was that this was a hippy feminist version of the character:

Listen to those lyrics. Wonder Woman is "fighting for her rights" and "changing hawks into doves" (not to mention "changing minds") by using the power of "love." What, the gods of Olympus sent the Amazonian princess to America to lobby for the ERA? It's crazy. Rightly understood, Wonder Woman is the least empathetic, least liberalized of the major DC heroes. She's royalty from a culture which barely understands, let alone celebrates, the mores of the West.

That's the prime (though not the only) reason she's such a hard character to write. I've only seen three interesting depictions of Wonder Woman through the years and each of them is based in her apartness from the world she's serving. The most interesting Wonder Woman is probably Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier where she basically goes native in Vietnam and starts massacring Vietcong soldiers after deciding that she is no longer willing to serve as an agent of the U.S. government. There's this great scene where she mocks Superman for his Boy Scout sensibilities as she's basking in the blood of her vanquished foes. It's Wonder Woman as Greek mythological figure and it's pretty great.

1 comment:

trumwill said...

I've never had much use for Wonder Woman. I think you're right about her being a hard character to write. I collected WW for a little while when Byrne was on the book, but WW herself was conspicuously absent.

The GraphicAudio production with her ("Mythos") is pretty good, though.