Grant Morrison Plans To Bring The Sex Back To Wonder Woman

Posted by August 21, 2011 Comment

Grant Morrison appeared at the Edinburgh Book Festival. And Karl Stock was there to report for Bleeding Cool. He writes;

So, Grant Morrison, when can we expect to see your long, long-awaited Wonder Woman series alongside artist Ethan Van Sciver? He told the crowd over the weekend, speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, that it might be out next year. Or that it might not.

If you’re getting tired of waiting, you might want to blame Princess Diana’s creator William Moulton Marston for the delay. The late psychologist and free love exponent, who based Wonder Woman on he and his wife Elizabeth’s 18-year-old lover Olive Byrne and imagined a Themsycria where bondage-obsessed Amazons kept female slaves and pretended to hunt and eat one another, is Morrison’s prime inspiration for the series, which could explain any hesitation on DC’s part.

Morrison said that you can take the violence out of the original concept of Superman- all the drop-kicking bad guys into the ocean, which would basically kill them anyway, or you can take the gun out of early Batman, and these characters remain essentially the same. But you can’t take the sex out of Wonder Woman. That version of the character died with Marston in the 1940s and she hasn’t recovered her popularity since.

That Superman’s meant to be this ultimate expression of masculinity and he still gets to be sexua, while Wonder Woman’s meant to be the ultimate expression of womanhood and yet she isn’t allowed anything to do with sex.

It sounds as if what Morrison’s doing with the character fits more closely with his old pre-Vertigo reinventions of Doom Patrol and Animal Man than his current work on Batman and Superman. He said that it was hard work trying to recreate what Marsden did without being exploitative or prurient and that he had to do a ton of reading ahead of this, basically the history of feminist theory from Simone de Beauvoir to Andrea Dworkin.

Morrison’s author event in Edinburgh enthralled an audience of typical comic con attendees and literary establishment types, covering subjects like the news media’s worrying tendency to always create a narrative of negativity, the weaponisation of stories by the US military and the evolution of comics beyond the iPad age and into an era of radiotelepathy.

Funny, intelligent and utterly focused, Morrison was a good advert for the medium, with one audience question about the relative popularity of Batman compared to Superman (he’s looking forward to the new Superman movie, but believes Hollywood has been bad for the comics industry, on balance) raising a big laugh.

Morrison said that Superman spent his childhood baling hay on a farm and that he’s a working class hero which people don’t like that. Whereas Batman is a billionaire who sleeps until three in the afternoon, puts on a rubber suit and beats the shit out if poor people. And how that is really a wish fulfilment fantasy.

Thanks to attending Little Bleeder Schedel Luitjen who asked Grant whether he plans to incorporate the type of sexualisation and fetishisation of Wonder Woman done by Marston as mentioned in Supergods into his upcoming Wonder Woman story. HE got a great answer out of it…

Photo courtesy of CJ Skuse.

(Last Updated August 27, 2012 12:47 pm )

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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