Grant Morrison Talks To Entertainment Weekly About His Mysterious Wonder Woman Project

Wonder Woman_AnimatedTo 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.

Comments

  1. JDC JDC says:

    Hat trick for Morrison!

  2. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    I wonder who the artist will be. Adam Hughes? :D

  3. MaxPower MaxPower says:

    I know not everyone loves his work (I think you’re crazy, but can respect it may not be for you) it’s hard to deny the unique perspective and ability to get to the core of a character that Morrison brings.

    • canadianD canadianD says:

      You know i’m not the biggest Morrison fan, i honestly don’t see the big deal, but the guy is talented when it comes to writing.I loved Batman and Robin and his most recent run on Action was awesome! I think his perspective is interesting and he does really sift through all the parts of a character.

      But as a reader i wonder, what kind of a Wonder Woman are we getting.Is it going to be All-Star Superman style, that is big and bold and godlike (in this case that’s a given but you know what i mean) or is this going to be Batman and Robin/Action Comics where the character is a fresh and fun take on the character.

  4. I’ve often wondered why ALL the sexuality was heaped on Catwoman, but WW was beyond a girl scout. It will be interesting to see what Morrison delivers.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I think it’s mostly because exploring sexuality with Wonder Woman is a tricky prospect that could quickly turn into a PR disaster if handled incorrectly by creators.

      WW is one of only a couple “super-heroes for girls” (as reductive as that is, it’s not an uncommon perception, especially outside of comics). Therefore, I think DC takes care to keep Wonder Woman relatively sexless so as to maintain her position as an unobjectionable role model for young female fans. (Azzarello and Chiang’s current run often tiptoes around sex through Azz’s trademark wordplay, and even then none of the veiled sexual content I can think of involves Diana personally.)

      In other words, I think DC’s strategy has been to remain silent on the issue, so they can’t say the wrong thing. And while that’s certainly not the worst strategy, I can’t help but think it might be a missed opportunity for Wonder Woman to be a positive advocate for and embodiment of 21st century gender equality.

      But I don’t know… like I said, it’s tricky.

    • No, you’re on to something. There’s this thing about keeping WW wholesome because she’s one of the good ones (as it were) and by not crossing the sexual line, that “purity” maintains a supposed role model image. Good points.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Wouldn’t that also apply to Superman as well? In the comics as far as I know he saved himself for marriage (pre-New 52).

    • bub64882 bub64882 says:

      It’s interesting to me that WW is the “Wolverine” of the Trinity at DC. By that I mean she can kill, whereas Superman and Batman cannot. But she can’t get laid. The more I think about it, the more fucked up I think it is.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      SWEET BLACK F$&^IN SABBATH, @Bub that’s hilarious. But she can’t be the Wolverine of the DC trinity, you and I both know Wolverine (both comic and cinema versions) get laid all the time. Which is funny because he’s killed way more people. Maybe she’s more like Cap America? Both have a liberty and Star themed fetish.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      @bub . . . yeah that is pretty f***** up. I only wish that it wasn’t so unsurprising . . .

  5. darkstar darkstar says:

    If she’s meant to represent modern women, maybe a woman should write her…

    • adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

      Gail Somone did that quite recently. And it was quite good.

    • StoreGuy says:

      Gail Simone’s run was fairly middling, quality wise. Some decent issues, but mostly very dull. In many ways, it feels like she missed the point of Wonder Woman – WONDER. If I recall, it didn’t really sell well. Jodi Picoult’s run was horrendous as well. It features a scene where Wonder Woman has to get gas and is baffled by a credit card.

      It’s not that I don’t think a woman shouldn’t or can’t write Wonder Woman, but the track record isn’t good. You’re right though. Still, I think Morrison might be the person to give WW a kick into the 21st Century. (Though Azzarello is doing that, too, the books is more WW’s universe getting a facelift than WW herself.)

    • CaeuZokul CaeuZokul says:

      Yes. Yes she did.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      I had the same knee jerk reaction, when Morrison started talking about “female perspective.” Honestly, though, I don’t think that DC has a strong female writer in their office at the moment. I know some people love Simone and Picoult, but I have been mixed on them both.

      At the end of the day, though, any great writer can write equally well from either gender’s viewpoint . . .

    • I-Doll I-Doll says:

      Gail Simone’s run on WW has been by absolute favorite, and at least she was getting WW back into the dating scene (between all the fights and stuff). Plus, Greg Rucka’s run thrilled me too. Brian Azzarello’s run infuriates me the longer it goes on. He kicked the Amazons and her Mom out. Almost no strong female characters other than WW, etc.

      As to Morrison’s potential run…I like that he’s doing research, but then again, he may be over-thinking and over-reaching, instead of just trying to help us to get to know the character more fully. We’ll see.

  6. Mister Mister says:

    I think there’s a fine line between embracing a character’s sexuality and over-sexualizing a character and I’m incredibly curious to see how Morrison handles this aspect of Wonder Woman’s history. In addition, I’m curious to read the book because it would be the first time (to my knowledge) that he’s written the character as his main protagonist.

  7. adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

    Really happy to hear that this is already a ways along. That said, it’s coming out after multiversity…so it’ll be awhile:)

  8. kennyg kennyg says:

    The first new foe she will tackle in this will be Slut-Shamer…

  9. Toshimoko29 Toshimoko29 says:

    So, is the point of this interview that Morrison will fix Wonder Woman by making her more sexual? Morrison is a genius, I can only hope he isn’t as clueless as he sounds about the difference between sex (gender) and sexuality. Not that sexuality won’t help sell the issues; this is the same crowd that cried for weeks when WW was going to wear pants. It’s just that sexuality isn’t what should be selling the issues, and if that’s your ace in the hole then I’m keeping my money to myself.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      I think he means something else when he says “sexuality”. I don’t think that he’ll write WW having multiple orgies or anything, but admit that she does have physical urges and she responds to them. I’ll be very curious to see if he leaves in the S&M. I’ve never seen what the big deal is about WW wearing pants, since that was done because some female fans asked “how does she keep all her privates from falling out while fighting?”. It was ironic how people responded to it.

    • alexhoward says:

      The fervor was over the change in costume since te old one was iconic. Much in the same way there was uproar from feminists when Denny O’Neil did it and took away what was iconic. Much in the same way Superman now looks stupid. Also, please look up irony.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      From theFreeDictionary.com, Ironic:3. Poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended. JMS new costume for WW (which I believe was designed by Jim Lee) was made to make her more modern and sensible to women, which resulted in near universal revile (I’ve not read of a single woman online or otherwise that actually liked the costume). When Denny O’Neil took over he stripped away her powers and put her into a karate Gei, very uncreative and bland for a superheroic character. Superman’s new costume got rid of the red trunks, not even trunks, they were underware. That makes the new costume stupid, no red tights outside his pants? I want to add “Man of Steel”‘s Supes costume lacks the red underware too, does that look stupid? Batman’s costume is iconic, but It’s been tweaked and changed over the years continuously; it’s been grey and blue, grey and black, added yellow symbols on the chest, huge ears,small ears, shoulder pads… I can go on and on. My point being; just because a character has an iconic look doesn’t mean that has to be their ONLY look.

  10. slickman83 slickman83 says:

    I’ve been waiting for this since I read Morrison’s Final Crisi exit interview at newsarama ( http://www.newsarama.com/comics/010928-Grant-Final-Crisis.html ) I am really excited for Morrison’s take on the character, if anyone can breathe life into Wonder Woman it’s Morrison.

  11. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I can get behind this idea (I had originally typed “I can get behind a sexual Wonder Woman”, but that sounded wrong).

    I’ve always wondered (sigh) why no one’s explored this part of the character. I don’t mean that in a perverted way, I just honestly feel like the Amazon princess type would naturally be a sexually confident personality. Especially today, when in many ways she maintains her role in pop culture as comics’ ambassador to women all over the world. As a representation of all things feminine, she should be in touch with her desires and needs in today’s modern world. Why should characters like Starfire and Catwoman (an alien and a criminal) have all the fun? If anyone could shake off the shackles of every dominant woman in comics being branded a “slut”, it should be Diana. As Ken mentioned above, it’s a tricky thing to integrate, but Morrison has the grace and courage to make it work.

    I’m looking forward to this, but I’m also enjoying the hell out of Azzarello and Chiang’s current run. So I hope this can straddle (sigh) the line of keeping that characterization intact, while still standing apart.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      One; I’ve never heard anyone call Starfite or Catwoman “sluts”. Two; until recently both were heavily criticized by various people and sources (I’ve heard Catwoman has gotten somewhat better). Azzerallo’s run has not been well received by everybody as well. I would imagine the fact that she misses out on the “fun”, I’m going to say “sexless” if it’s all the same to you; is because she’s idolized for not needing a man. How are you supposed to reconcile that with a sex life? I would imagine the solution is pretty obvious but can’t be shown because it’s too graphic (hint:battery-powered).

    • bub64882 bub64882 says:

      Well, battery powered, or, you know, you spend your whole life on an island of women, and you may just have sex with a few of them. It’s a popular notion that female sexuality is more “fluid” than male, and crossing the “bi” line may be more common without identifying as a lesbian.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Right, lesbian is another man-free alternative. I think most modern woman just go with a vibrator tho, least that’s what I’ve been led to believe. What the heck’s the “bi line”? It seems like growing up on an island full of women with no men (and lets be honest, hating them to begin with in some iterations) they wouldnt have any qualms about being lesbian, how would they be Bi if there’s nothing but women on the Island?

    • bub64882 bub64882 says:

      Oh I have no problems w/ Lesbian, but now that she’s making out w/ Superman….Well, if Superman is the dude who drives Wonder Woman back to being gay, then it diminishes Superman…at least a little, to some people.

      Of course, Morrison being Morrison, he’s free to pick and choose continuity as he sees fit, right?

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      No I didn’t mean to imply you did, it’s just y’know Island of women being a lesbian would be the norm. It’s not like they would know any other preference or anything, there’s only women around so why would they have any reservations about it? I don’t think her being gay after dating Supes would diminish him (honestly, can his Q rating get lower?) because hey it’s the world we live in it happens. He still gets the huge honor of dating Wonder Woman, the ideal woman to other women and men right? It’s not like Steve Trevor gets dimenished, he has no powers so what’s he got to offer really? I’ve said in other posts I think this will be “Wonder Woman:Earth One”, it makes sense considering Bats and Supes already got the treatment. Even if it’s not, I doubt anyone will say “why doesn’t this fit in with Azzerallo’s series?”. Its Morrison, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do.

  12. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    Aside from Azzerallo’s current run (and maybe JMS’, love his work) I’ve had zero interest in reading Wonder Woman. I’ve also never bought a book because it’s about a female character who expresses her sexuality that’s advertised as such, but Morrison makes me consider changing both those policies. It’s gotta be better than “Happy” or “Action Comics volume 1″ tho, I didn’t care for either very much (I never read beyond issue 1 of “Happy” admittedly). Morrison’s name on the book it’s not a huge selling point, and WW always carries alot of baggage when she’s written (like Atlas level baggage). I hope it does well, and gets more woman reading comics, and gets WW the attention she deserves and all that gushy stuff. For my money, this book is “Wonder Woman: Earth One”. Im going on intuition, I haven’t read anything that hinted that but it’s my theory.

  13. CaeuZokul CaeuZokul says:

    I’m there.

  14. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    “He saw mild S&M as a healthy thing, as long as smart women were in charge.”

    Err, so why was it then that Wondie was tied up by men MORE often than she tied men up?

    In all his interviews for this project so far, I don’t really like how Grant is trying to simultaneously politicize and apologize for everything, while also making the themes involved just fine and kosher. Marston was a polygamist and he was definitely into much more than just “mild” S&M. I’m not condemning him for that, but I’m saying that the way Grant spins things is dishonest and actually undercuts the potential themes involved.

    That said, I’m a huge Morrison fan, so of course I’ll check this out. But after seeing how he bumbled the “working class hero” theme in Action Comics, I am nervous about how he could screw up “feminism” as it applies to WW. You’re not a working class guy, Grant; you live in a castle. You’re not a female, either. Maybe it’s best you stopped provoking themes that you don’t have a grasp on…

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      @Flapjanx, that’s a good point about WW being tied up more than men but are you sure Marston was a polygamist? I know he had a wife and a mistress who knew about each other in an open relationship thing but I don’t think that qualifies as polygamy. Morrison may have screwed up the average Joe angle in Action Comics (I wholeheartedly agree with you, it felt like a bait-n-switch to me) he has written good stories about solar-powered alien gods and billionaire vigilantes with kid sidekicks and he’s neither of those things. It seems like the last few projects he’s done aside from “Batman Inc.” (which I didn’t care for, it wasn’t bad but overhyped I thought) have been very well received, this could be the one that puts him back on top figuratively speaking.

    • alexhoward says:

      Marston, his wife, and his student/secretary/assistant all lived together in a house as a family. As differently thinking as he was, he still believed men were superior but that they could learn to be better by being more loving as women more naturally were.

  15. zombox zombox says:

    I really hope this is an ‘in its own universe’ story. I’d rather Morrison kept his fingers out of the current ongoing because its quite good and that’s the first time her character has felt like it had a purpose and a role to me in its history.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      In my opinion, Morrison is at his best outside of continuity. Whenever I try to reconcile something he’s written to the larger DCU, it just makes my head hurt . . .

  16. cosmo cosmo says:

    Hmm, I do think that there is potential in acknowledging the sensual side of Wonder Woman, and exploring that side of her. I’m not sure if Morrison is the person to do it, however. A subtle “feminist” character study of sexuality does not strike me as a good match for the creator of The Filth. Also, while, I’ve enjoyed a lot of Morrison’s work in the past, recently I’ve been more mixed on his output.

    By the way, if he’s doing this after whenever he finishes Mutliversity, which I guess is after whenever his run on Batman wraps up, does that mean I should just officially give up on ever seeing that third Seaguy series . . ?

  17. So am I gonna need an adult to buy this comic or…?

    Whenever it comes out, like Multiversity, I will be first in line to get it. Although this interview makes me wondering if he just wants to do a sex comic with Wonder Woman….Nothing wrong with that but it’ll be interesting to see how much DC is willing to put up.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      This comment made think of the Batgirl cosplayer and the whole “DC hates women” thing awhile back. If only I had a time machine…

  18. oosuna oosuna says:

    I’m not a Morrison fan, and I hope this project of his doesn’t mess with what Azzarello is doing.

    • alexhoward says:

      I agree. Azzarello is doing just fine making the bet Wonder Woman comic in decades without Morrison’s insanity. I’m fine with him sticking with long form omits that exist in their own universe. I’ve done just fine without his ridiculous Batman Inc nonsense messing up my Snyderverse and I’m hoping Diggle orvSnyder will give me a Superman comic worth reading again. He’s often great with voice and tone but horrible with plotting and pacing.

    • lepineisme lepineisme says:

      Batman Inc. did eventually mess with the Snyderverse what with the plucked Robin and all.

  19. markish markish says:

    Pretty sure this’ll end up being Wonder Woman: Earth One.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      I think that’s a good call, especially as it would allow Morrison to fixate, I mean focus, on her early days, as she explores who she is (in all senses, I suppose). Plus, it would leave Azzarello free to continue to charting his own path. A Wonder Woman: Year One has been the long rumored next installment in the line, right?

      alexhoward: you’re right about Morrison’s strengths vs weaknesses. It’s one of the reasons that I prefer his work in, say, Animal Man and Doom Patrol to his current superhero writing. When he was writing those books they could exist, more or less, in their own world without worrying about connections to anything else. If something didn’t add up with something else, it didn’t matter as much. His Batman stuff has never really matched up with anything else in DC’s line, except when editorially mandated, and even there not always due to erratic shipping (looking at you Final Crisis/RIP). Personally, except for the recent death of Robin, I don’t read Batman Inc, and think of it as a story taking place pre-reboot, ie before Snyder’s run . . .

  20. sitara119 sitara119 says:

    i want to read this.