One of the Suicide Squad's most important characters has received a makeover in recent years, and her creator thinks it's a bad idea.
The Squad's been getting a lot of attention from fans lately, particularly because of its assembly and appearance on The CW series Arrow this week. A few days before Arrow's "Suicide Squad" aired, though, writer John Ostrander -- who conceived the Squad and remains its most influential scribe -- penned a column at ComicMix to note his disappointment with the way one of the group's central figures -- Amanda Waller -- is now portrayed:
Back in 1986, when he co-created the character with Len Wein and John Byrne, Ostrander conceived Waller as "middle-aged, black, heavyset, on the short side, and with no super powers; just an iron will and a terminal bad attitude," and she more or less stayed that way for a quarter of a century. Thanks to both the 2011 "New 52" reboot of DC Comics and her portrayal on Arrow by actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson, though, Waller's had a different look recently, one rather different from what Ostrander and company crafted.
Ostrander doesn't seem angry about the changes. In fact, he noted in his column that he was looking forward to the Suicide Squad showing up on Arrow, and he fully acknowledges that Waller is owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros., and they can do whatever they want with her. He does, however, lament that some of the attributes that made the character unique have now been sacrificed.
"I don’t control what happens with Waller or where she goes or how she looks; she is owned by DC Entertainment and Warners. I knew that going in. She is their property," Ostrander wrote. "That said, I think the changes made in her appearance are misguided. There were and are reasons why she looked the way she did. I wanted her to seem formidable and visually unlike anyone else out there. Making her young and svelte and sexy loses that. She becomes more like everyone else. She lost part of what made her unique."
After last night's Arrow, Waller's profile will likely continue to rise among fans, but the version many people will come to know will not be the one Ostrander intended. Ostrander seems to have made his peace with that, even if he's not entirely happy about it. Still, his concerns do reaffirm the importance of an ongoing conversation with regard to body type diversity in superhero media.