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The story behind Wonder Woman’s best moment: the ice cream scene

Ice cream is wonderful

Clay Enos/DC Comics/Warner Bros. Pictures
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

There are a lot of moments in Wonder Woman that are about Diana, Princess of Themyscira, encountering something in Man’s World that she’s never seen before. Babies, revolving doors and snow are just a few of the things that are thin on the ground on her island home. But one of those scenes is already standing out from the rest.

The scene is just a few lines of dialogue in Wonder Woman’s busy middle, but it shows both Diana’s childlike joy at even the simple marvels of Man’s World and her quickness to see the best in everyone around her — and to make sure they know that she sees it. It’s exactly the kind of humanizing moment that’s so lacking in Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe movies.

And it’s cribbed directly from comics.

This post contains minor spoilers for one scene in Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman’s now oft-referenced fondness for ice cream originated in the very first Justice League story told in DC Comics’ 2011 New 52 reboot, Justice League: Origin. Writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee crafted a story about a young League, many of its members still taking the firs steps of their superheroic careers.

Much like in Wonder Woman, Justice League: Origin’s Diana is new to Man’s World, and while she wanders the streets of Washington, D.C., she meets an early admirer.

From Justice League #3
Jim Lee/DC Comics

Raquel introduces Diana to the concept of ice cream as “the world’s greatest food,” and Diana asks the nearby vendor if she can try some.

From Justice League #3
Jim Lee/DC Comics

Diana’s emotions here are somewhat understated — significantly so compared to Warner Bros. Animation’s direct-to-video adaptation of the story arc, Justice League: War. A few quiet panels in the comic are transformed into something that stops just short of an dramatic anime reaction shot.

JL:W’s more bombastic interpretation of the scene is arguably the point from which its prominence among fans springs. Search Tumblr for “wonder woman ice cream,” and you’re more likely to see art and gifsets referencing the animated movie than the comic. You can also find an example of a young Diana having a huge appetite for ice cream in James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson’s Wonder World, a two-part story in DC’s digital-first series, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman.

The wonderfulness of ice cream isn’t perhaps the most famous quality of Wonder Woman stories — which is all the more reason to be excited that it made it into Wonder Woman. And to be excited at how well the scene, cribbed almost word for word from the comic and movie that came before it, is played.

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