Artist at Work

Jim Lee brings the superheroine to life

story by Brent Lang

Over the course of his career, Jim Lee’s pen has drawn the biggest names in comics — Superman, Batman, and the X-Men are among the superheroes that have received his treatment. But Lee, who is co-publisher of DC Comics, acknowledges that Wonder Woman presents particular challenges.

“With a character like this, you want to balance her attractiveness with her nobility with her power and strength,” he tells Variety. “You want to do right by the character. You want to do right by the generations of creators that stood before you and that made this character a cultural icon. So, you know: no pressure.”

In honor of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary, Lee drew a limited-edition lithograph of the Amazon princess exclusively for Variety. He says he channeled the superheroine in order to capture her grace and resilience.

Time after Time
To celebrate Wonder Woman's 75th Anniversary, Jim Lee drew an exclusive image of the iconic character for Variety.

“Any time I draw a character that iconic, I enter this fugue state,” he notes. “To do it well, you have to embody and embrace the ideals of the character, so maybe while you’re drawing, you find yourself with your chin out, looking up into the sky, being noble and heroic.”

Over the years, Wonder Woman’s costumes have undergone radical changes, with every alteration leading to outcries from fans. Lee thinks it’s important to strike a balance between respecting the character’s legacy and modernizing her in ways that will make her relevant in multiple eras.

“The fans are traditionalists,” he says. “Every generation feels like, ‘This is the version I grew up with, and don’t mess with it. Don’t change it.’ At the same time, we need to keep pushing it forward to appeal to the next generation.”

Drawing on Experience

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