I was recently given a wonderful surprise gift by my playwright friend Gary Winter: a comic of Translationista portrayed as a superhero. The drawing was commissioned from comic artist/designer Jeremy Arambulo, whose work I recommend you check out. He sketched Translationista busting out the books, each of which, if you look closely, is adorned by a quite-good likeness of the author in question. I’ll even prove it with some photographic evidence. Unfortunately the image of the comic I’m posting is itself not of the highest quality; the drawing came nicely framed, and I didn’t want to disassemble it just for the sake of getting a better photograph.
Looking at this comic reminds me of my childhood obsession with Wonder Woman. I always chose to be her in role-playing games with the other kids on the block when I was six or seven – I loved how strong and beautiful she always seemed, and also brave, because unlike some of the other superheroes of comic lore, Wonder Woman did not possess actual superhuman powers that could have protected her from attack. All she had was a trio of magical tools: a set of bracelets (good for deflecting bullets and such), a tiara that could work like a boomerang, and a lasso that could compel people to tell the truth, but she was nonetheless vulnerable to attack and capture and did often enough wind up in a pickle. Let me not think too hard about the marketing decision that dictated that the one female member of the original Super Friends clan should regularly find herself in princess-style distress and require rescuing. But maybe having friends who could help her out in a pinch was in itself one of her superpowers.
Wonder Woman is an avatar of the Amazon queen Diana. Of course, in the United States her image had to be cleaned up a bit; for one thing, the actual Amazons of legend cut off their right breasts so as to be able to hunt and fight better with their weapon of choice: the bow and arrow. For the most stunning story about an Amazon ever written, check out Heinrich von Kleist’s play Penthesilea (its heroine is an Amazon queen at her most vulnerable), which was written in German but exists in a gorgeous English translation by Joel Agee.