As a comic book lover, I felt that Andrew Roper’s show Superhero Secret Origins would be right up my alley, seeing as this year’s show was based on Women in Comics. In his show, Roper primarily covers the story of Wonder Woman – her creation and creators, as well as her progression through the years, in addition to overviews of other women in comics and how they are drawn and treated.
The presentation is fast paced, more lecture than comedy, with Roper typically remaining out of the spotlight and focusing the attention of the audience on his slide show presentation. His enthusiasm for the subject is undeniable, and his capacity to pack so my information into a 60-minute time slot makes me feel like he should be teaching a university course of the subject. The non-stop commentary he provides helps to avoid any awkwardness from our small and initially unresponsive crowd.
The history of Wonder Woman was certainly a surprise to me, but as the tale progressed it went from feminism and freedom to polygamy, lie detectors, and the misrepresentation of women in superhero media to this day. In some ways, it’s an uplifting and hopeful tale that demonstrates how far society has come in its view of women, and women’s roles, in all aspects of life. In other ways, it’s a reminder that subtle and overt damaging ideologies remain in place. Overall, there is far, far more to the creation and character of Wonder Woman than I ever knew.
Roper also touches briefly on other female superheros, mostly to demonstrate how their lives are utilised to fire up the male superhero to do his heroic deeds. But primarily the focus is on Wonder Woman and her role in popular culture.
He mentions in his show blurb that you don’t need know anything about superheros, because you’ll still learn something during your hour with him. While this was certainly true, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this show if you don’t at least have a general interest in the superhero genre. But for those like myself who are keen, the show weaves superhero histories, politics, and social constructs of gender and tradition together in a thoroughly interesting hour of educational entertainment.