In an interview conducted at the Edinburgh Festival, Grant Morrison talked a lot about comics, superheroes, life and fiction. He also touched on Wonder Woman and her creator William Moulton Marston, and Grant’s plans for her. Here are a few extracts from the transcribed interview.
So him and his wife had a lover called Olive Byrne, a younger, an 18 year old, and they were both sort of professors, and Olive was the original physical model for Wonder Woman. And Elizabeth Marston and Charles [William’s pen name] basically created this character, because they felt that Superman represented a kind of blood-curdling masculinity as they said, so they wanted to introduce somebody who was a bit more feminine, but now at the same time Marston also had all these amazing kinks, because he had this idea that basically the world would be better if men would just submit to women’s complete instruction…
…there’s a story where Wonder Woman rescues the slave girls of an evil Nazi villain, and the slave girls don’t know what to do, even though they’ve been rescued they’re kind of, they like being slaves. So Wonder Woman just says “Oh, don’t worry, you can be slaves on Paradise Island and one of our girls will take over but she’ll be really nice to you unlike the Nazi!”, and that was seen as, that was the resolution to the story! You’ve got a nice mistress instead of a crop-cracking Paula Von Gunther.
…So Marston had all these ideas and it was very deep, there was a book by him which was hidden in the DC Comics vaults because they didn’t really want anyone to see it, and a friend of mine at DC sneaked it out for me one time. And it’s this thing, and honestly you can’t read it, it’s deranged, it’s like the guys just done mescaline or something, talking about his sexual theories.
…But then Marston died, and that energy left the strip, it just disappeared… when you took the sex out of Wonder Woman, the thing went flat. And the sales died immediately after Marston himself died and never ever recovered.
… I think I’ve found a way, but I’m not gonna tell you what I’ve done because hopefully the Wonder Woman series will be out next year sometime or thereabouts. But I think I’ve found a way to get all that back in again but it took a lot of reading. This has been the hardest project I’ve ever done.