This post was inspired by two things: Brett White and a grocery bag. Brett White is a writer for Comic Book Resources and Marvel.com as well as the host of the Matt & Brett Love Comics podcast; grocery bags are bags you use to carry groceries. White tweeted a question of whether Black Widow or Carol Danvers (now Captain Marvel) were as identifiable as the X-Men Storm, Rogue or Jean Grey. I responded that I think Black Widow is more a part of the public consciousness than Jean Grey, but White's larger point is that Marvel doesn't seem to have their own Wonder Woman - a female character at the forefront of their company identity.
The night before this conversation, I bought a grocery bag. Austin is doing away with plastic bags, so I snagged a reusable one from a display filled with licensed character bags. The Marvel Heroes bag I bought features brightly-colored images of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Hulk. If I'm going to lug milk and bread around, why not do it in the geekiest possible way?
There's no women on that bag, and I started to wonder - had I ever seen a woman on Marvel's Marvel Heroes licensed merch? Marvel Heroes is the "catch-all" branding Marvel uses for electric toothbrushes and bubble gum, typically featuring a quartet of heroes (the ones I mentioned above and usually Iron Man) posing against a non-descript blue background. If this were a "DC Heroes" bag featuring three characters, the probability of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman would've been pretty high.
In the 70s, Marvel made an effort to include Spider-Woman in a lot of their licensing, but since then, no female superhero has had that kind of profile. Storm is a fantastic candidate, due to her iconic look and general recognizability, but the character I saw pop-up the most often on Marvel Heroes licensing through a Google search (and not that often, really) was Black Cat (and on a different topic, is the unusual choice of Black Cat a way to add sex appeal to merchandise aimed at boys? That's disturbing, if so).
If Marvel wants their own Wonder Woman, they've got to put a face front-and-center in the world of licensing, and they've got to do it consistently. Pick a flagship female character (or two) and make sure they always show up on everything, every nightlight, pajama set, and party hat, right alongside Spider-Man and Wolverine. DC works hard to make sure that Wonder Woman is a viable licensing draw, so what's keeping Marvel from creating their own?