Renae De Liz has worked on a variety of comic book titles, including “Red Sonja,” “The Last Unicorn” and “Dream Police.” Her most recent project is a series featuring the iconic DC Comics character of Wonder Woman.
The Alaska native is both the writer and penciller of “Legend of Wonder Woman,” a nine-issue series that offers a look at the Amazon princess from her early days. The first three issues show her life on Themyscira before moving into the world outside the island.
De Liz took time to answer a series of e-mail questions about the project.
Q: In “Legend,” how much material was based on research and how much on your own interpretation?
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A: I was given 100% freedom to retell Wonder Woman’s origin, and my goal was to draw out the essence of the character, and create a tale that was very accessible to new readers of all ages.
I first set a framework of her classic, indispensable elements based mostly on her older, Golden-Age roots (only the ones that “felt right” for Wonder Woman), and from there “filled in the gaps” with my own ideas of what would best complement Diana’ character and story.
Q: So many great writers and artists have worked on “Wonder Woman” titles. Was there anyone who inspired you?
A: I love the older Golden-Age comics, and I appreciated many of the things (“Wonder Woman” creator William) Marston originally went for in terms of her character and story elements. I adore the “zanier” elements from her history. Most artists and writers who contributed to Wonder Woman over the decades have added something amazing and permanent to her character, and sorry if this sounds too diplomatic, but it’s the truth that I really appreciated the special traits lent by all of them.
Q: What was the one thing about Wonder Woman you wanted to get across in “Legend” that had not been fully explored before?
A: There are so many things, but at the core, I wished to follow her origins from the eye of a young woman, and allow us to be there with Diana as she goes through her life as a young Amazon girl to Wonder Woman. As a reader, I never really understood her origin, so I wanted to give her origin story a lot of space and flesh it out, her beginning has many unique things to consider.
With Batman and Superman, we already understand their background, having grown up in a world similar to ours. You can easily jump from Point A to Point B without losing too much information. Wonder Woman starts on Themyscira and ends up a hero who loves the world and fights to protect it. But WHY? That gets lost when you jump from Island to Hero. Diana grows up on a magical island amongst a people much different than what we’re used to. I wanted to explore where her values stem from, and be with her as she grows to love the world so we can firmly understand how she can dedicate her life to protecting it. Once that’s in place, we can relate to her further adventures just as strongly as Superman or Batman.
Q: Because you write and draw, does one support the other or is there always conflict?
A: The writing and drawing goes hand in hand, and went incredibly smooth. It’s almost like one big task, instead of separate. I’m quite a perfectionist, so being in control of writing and pencils was crucial to create a story I think “felt” right.
But when the tasks went on to inks and colors (to my husband, the amazingly talented Ray Dillon) things tended to get difficult at times. He and I think so differently, so sometimes I’d struggle to articulate many of the subtleties needed to make everything feel just right in inks and colors. It’s a testament to his patience and dedication that he dove right back in to change anything I needed if it felt off to me, and I love him for that.
Q: What were two themes you wanted to get across in “Legend”?
A: The top two themes would be “adventure” and “accessibility.” Adventure means allowing the reader to have fun as they journey with their heroes in the story, not bogged down by taking itself too seriously. I wanted to allow things to just be silly and fun at times.
Accessibility means to ensure this was a title any age could enjoy. Children love stories with depth and good character just as much as adults do. For a character like Wonder Woman, who belongs to everyone, I wanted the story to not be limited to any one audience.