29 years ago - Valerie Beaudry is born.
17 years ago - 12-year-old Valerie begins studying ballet.
8 years ago - 21-year-old Valerie is unable to dance professionally because she doesn't have the appropriate bodytype. Heartbroken over her rejection and feelings of inadequacy, she is approached by Ares and agrees to become his champion in exchange for physical beauty. She battles Diana Prince, who helps her discover her own inner beauty and overcome Ares' influence. She becomes a motivational speaker, espousing the ideas Diana taught her.
7 years ago - 22-year-old Valerie finds a way to reclaim her power briefly to aid Diana Prince during the Godwar, before it is stripped away again by Ares.
5 years ago - 24-year-old Valerie gives birth to her daughter.
3 years ago - 26-year-old Valerie has her powers manipulated by Felix Faust, who uses her and Siobhan McDougal to attack Diana Prince until they work together to overcome Fausts spells and their own possession.
The major characters in DC's pantheon have all had their mythology rethought and redesigned a few times over the decades, but very few characters have experience this more thoroughly than Wonder Woman. Because of this, her major enemies have all been very aggressively redesigned a few times. This means that their core concepts are often a little defused over time. Silver Swan is one of the best examples of this. She was designed as a dangerous but elegant thing of beauty fueled by magic and feelings of inadequacy and resentment. As time went on character's visual seemed to be the most important element and her story was wildly changed. While there havebeen some interesting developments, we thought it was most important to capture the ideas that originally made her such a vital new Wonder Woman enemy.
Silver Swan's Comic History
Silver Swan is actually not a part of the original cannon of Wonder Woman enemies. She was created in 1982 by Roy Thomas, concieved as a 'homely ballet dancer made bitter from being constantly overlooked and mistreated for her appearance', who made a bargain with Diana's nemesis Ares (Still called Mars at the time) for beauty if she agreed to destroy Wonder Woman.
After the first Crisis there was a push to give ever character a more scientific explanation and characters with magical origins were often rewritten. Silver Swan has been reimagined multiple times over the years, her origins shifting subtly or not-so-subtly. Sometimes she's a victim of secret government organizations or black-book research labs. One of the most popular concepts was as Vanessa Kapatelis, the teenage best friend of Diana who often felt notably overlooked and abandoned. This is the version of the character that was carried over into the modern DC Rebirth version of the character, making her a tragic figure in the pantheon of Wonder Woman enemies.
Our Silver Swan Story
The original origin of SIlver Swan works exceptionally well in the world of Wonder Woman. She has a quality that seemed very similar to something Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston might have written; she's an allegory for something that a real woman might be subjected to. In this case, it's self-doubt; Valerie is a victim to so many outside pressures and lacks the self actualization to overcome them, making her story something that Wonder Woman can help her overcome. The allegorical nature of Wonder Woman enemies is hugely important, and this original take on Silver Swan fits perfectly. This means she retains her original magical origins, which actually noteably simplifies her overall concept.
We deliberately chose not to use the Vanessa Kapatelis version of the character., both because it always felt a little forced, and because we're using Helena & Cassie Sandsmark in place of Vanessa and her motherJulia in the larger story Wonder Woman. While we chose the origins of the original Silver Swan, Helen Alexandros, we actually used the name of the second post-crisis version of the character Valerie Beaudry. We have very little explanation as to why, other than the fact that there is already a lot of Greek ideology in the world of Wonder Woman and the characters ballet-influenced concepts feel more French than Greek.
Silver Swan's Costume
The original Silver Swan's costume was essentially a lacey, frilly bathing suit with an exposed tummy and magical wings. While this is noteably sexual, it's also a pretty fundamental part of the concept of the character... She is defined by her desire to be beautiful. A less-capable artist will almost always draw this character for the male gaze, but if it's drawn in a way that makes it clear that this is the character basking in her own vanity, then it actually works pretty well. Later versions of the character were almost always based largely in technology and were walking a very deliberate line between being beautiful and terrifying. While there might be some ideas that can be gleaned from those ideas, like her claws or the subtle metalic quality of her wings, the core concept of the character is best expressed if she looks like an otherworldly magical beauty.
Her story is basically told in full after her first encounter with Diana, after which she learns to love herself and sets aside her role as Silver Swan. She continues to be a part of the world, however... and can always be brought up again in service of other stories. We've tried to represent this by including her in a few other storyarcs, but we've maintained that Valerie herself has grown as a person and moved on, and it's only when she is deliberately drawn out that she again becomes the Silver Swan.