To coincide with the end of his Action Comics run, which hits stores tomorrow in the form of the 18th issue, Grant Morrison sat down for a chat with Entertainment Weekly.
While he talked about his time on Action and his view on Superman now, and he talked a bit more about Multiversity, what I found most interesting was the following section, in which Morrison talked about Wonder Woman and his upcoming secret Wonder Woman project.
Is the Wonder Woman comic a limited series?
I can’t say anything about the format, because it hasn’t been announced. Everyone knows I’m doing it, and I’m working on it, and I’ve got pages in from the artist, but other than that I can’t say anything about it.
I was never a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but your chapter on her in Supergods was interesting. Are you excited to put your own spin on the character?
This is some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time, because it’s a completely different type of comic book. Usually I don’t do masses of research, but for Wonder Woman, I’ve actually been working my way through the entire history of feminism. I want this to be f—ing serious, you know? I want this to be really, really good, to reflect not only what women think, but what men think of women. I’m trying to do something really different from what’s been done with the character before. That one’s been amazing fun, because it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever done before.
It feels like that’s a character where it almost seems like it’s been difficult for her to integrate into the modern age. Is there a reason for that? Is it just because her history is more wrapped up in sociopolitical stuff than the other heroes?
Basically, the early Wonder Woman comics were based on her creator William Moulton Marston’s ideas about men and women, which were quiet bizarre. He was a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a really smart guy. He saw mild S&M as a healthy thing, as long as smart women were in charge. [Laughs] Wonder Woman came out of this alternative sexuality, and that’s why they were so popular. Once the editors realized, “There’s a lot of tying up in these stories, we should tell him to slow down on this” — as soon as they stopped all that stuff, Wonder Woman sales declined, unsurprisingly. When Marston died, the sales never quite recovered.
A lot of great writers and artists have worked on Wonder Woman. Brian Azzarello’s doing a great Greek Myth-flavored take right now. But something of what [Marston] brought to it was never there again. Especially when the TV series came along: Linda Carter did such a brilliant job of doing Wonder Woman for TV, but she was kind of Mary Tyler Moore, you know? She wasn’t a sexual creature, really. Wonder Woman’s had to represent women without really having much of a sex life. It’s ridiculous! Superman’s got Lois, and Batman’s got all these fetish girls he runs around with. Wonder Woman’s kind of suffered, because that aspect of her, a sense of her humanity, has been taken from her.
We kind of want to get back to that, and do that in what I hope is a much healthier, 21st Century way, but at least give Wonder Woman her Va-Va-Voom back. Among many other things, because obviously she has to represent a lot more than just that. But I think that was something that’s really been lost. She became a feminist icon in the ’70s, as well, and I think a lot of people didn’t want to make her seem particularly sexual. She became kind of like the Statue of Liberty. It’s not right. Because she should represent women, in the way that Superman’s very dynamic and represents men the way we wish they were.