Long before Lynda Carter played her on TV, the Amazon princess known to mere mortals as Wonder Woman got her start in the early 1940s fighting Nazis, and in the several decades since, she has kicked legions of ass in the name of truth, justice, and equality of the sexes. So it’s appropriate that the exhibit Wonder Women—all female artists, inspired by comics and popular culture—should name-check her enduring fabulousness.
Wonder Woman has also long fought upstream against the boys’-club restrictions of the comic-book medium in general (not to mention the contemporary superhero film—she finally debuts in her own big-screen feature in 2017, after more than a dozen flicks featuring Batman and Superman). But times are changing. With the rise of the graphic novel and the loosening of the old conventions of comic books, a new generation of female artists now works in the field—whether writing, drawing, or editing the tried-and-true superheroes or less-easy-to-categorize storytelling strips, books, memoirs, and cross-genre explorations.
I grew up on this stuff—1970s The Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men comics were some of my first exposure to grownup themes of madness, mortality, and weird love (some things never change), delivered with color, action, and a sense that the stories always threatened to leap off the page. Like any living medium, it had to evolve and certainly did in the decades to come—to the point at which a great memoirist and storyteller such as the creator of New York Times bestseller Fun Home Alison Bechdel crafts her compelling grownup tales in panels and word balloons (she appears in this show with more than 40 other artists, including Barbara Schulz, who heads up MCAD’s comic-art degree program ushering in the next generation of female graphic artists and cartoonists).
Katherine E. Nash Gallery
“Wonder Woman Katy (Katy Tessman Stanoch) by Barbara Porwit
“One Enchanted Evening: Disorientalism” by Alison Bechdel
“Maiden Voyage” By Katherine Behar and MariAnne M. Kim
Here is There is Here by Diyan Achjadi, Courtesey of Weinstein Gallery