Women at Marvel Comics Watch – June 2017 Solicits, 23 Women on 26 Books

April 21, 2017

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Continuing our catch up on the latest-ish solicits, today we turn to Marvel. After posting record breaking numbers in March, their June 2017 solicits again feature considerably fewer female creators in the mix. It’s a decline that’s got some staying power; three straight months in the low 20s is a disappointing run. Marvel’s proven quite well that they’re capable of much higher numbers than that, and they just aren’t hitting them. June did offer some cool Mary Jane themed variant covers, though, which are showcased above. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this June:

  • Aud Koch: Ultimates 2 #8 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #12 (writer)
  • Christina Strain: Generation X #3 (writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Captain America: Sam Wilson #23 (cover), Captain America: Steve Rogers #18 (cover), Deadpool #32 (variant cover), Elektra #5 (cover), The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 (cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (interior art, cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #21 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #19 (writer)
  • Gabby Rivera: America #4 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #17 (interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Champions #9 (variant cover)
  • Jen Bartel: Star Wars #32 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #3 (writer)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Black Bolt #2 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #7 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #7 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Secret Empire: Uprising #1 (cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #20 (interior art, cover)
  • Nicole Virella: Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #1 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: Iron Fist #4 (variant cover)
  • Tana Ford: Iceman #2 (variant cover), Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 (interior art)
  • Yusaku Komiyama: Zombies Assemble #3 (writer, interior art)

All together, there are 23 different female creators set to work on 26 different books in June, 1 more women and 2 more books than in May, but a far cry from March’s 37 women on 31 books. I know that March was boosted considerably by variant covers, but this drop and lengthy period of lows is still quite surprisingly pronounced. Variant covers are a huge part of this month’s numbers, even, but it’s not boosted the numbers in any big way. While the obvious cause of the drop is that a few key books have ended and some creative teams have shifted, there’s usually some turnaround to even things out a little bit. Not so much this time, and the numbers continue to flounder for the third straight month.

There are a few new names in the mix, though. Aud Koch is a new one for me, and she’s debuting with some interior art in Ultimates 2. We’ve seen a lot of Meghan Hetrick at DC lately, but she’s set to do some cover work at Marvel this June.  There are some returning favourites in the mix too; it’s always great to see covers from Helen Chen, Jen Bartel, and Stephanie Hans, who don’t have steady gigs at Marvel but have been popping up here and there as of late. With all of these new and returning folks, it’s bizarre that the numbers are doing so poorly in terms of growth.

June looks to be a quiet month for new books at Marvel, apart from Secret Empire stuff and ugh, who can even bother to care about that? There’s the main series itself, plus a bunch of tie-in mini-series. There are ladies here and there, both fictional and real, but the event as a whole looks to be a male-dominated affair.

Overall, June is another disappointing month for women at Marvel. They remain off considerably from their recent highs, operating at about 2/3 of what they’ve shown they’re capable of in terms of female creator representation. The company is hurting for an influx of new books and/or creative teams to shake up the ranks, and with the line mid-event I don’t know if that will be coming any time soon. Marvel likes to do that sort of thing in the fall, so we could be in for a long summer.

Women at DC Comics Watch – June 2017 Solicits, 31 Women on 22 Books

April 20, 2017

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I’ve gotten behind on my creator counting this month! The July solicits are already up, and I’ve yet to post about the June ones. Blame a rash of traveling and general forgetfulness. But nonetheless, here we are now, checking in on female creator representation at DC Comics according to their June 2017 solicits. And it looks to be a pretty solid month, with DC posting their highest number of different female creators for the year thus far, bringing them into the 30s for the first time since last December. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC in June:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #21 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #22 (co-writer, cover)
  • Ana Dittmann: The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #6 (cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #28 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Wonder Woman #24 (interior art, cover), Wonder Woman #25 (interior art)
  • Brittney Williams: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Batgirl #12 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #24 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #25 (variant cover), Mother Panic #8 (variant cover)
  • Heather Nuhfer: Teen Titans Go! #22 (co-writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #12 (writer)
  • Jan Duursema: Scooby Apocalypse #14 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #24 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #25 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #8 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Supergirl: Being Super #4 (interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #11 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #28 (interior art)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #10 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #4 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #28 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #29 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Supergirl: Being Super #4 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #9 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #29 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #10 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #11 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #10 (cover), The Hellblazer #11 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Detective Comics #959 (cover), The Hellblazer #11 (variant cover)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 22 different books in June, 3 more women than in May and 1 more book. It’s small growth, but growth nonetheless. And the number of women is relatively strong for DC, even though the number of books is fairly middle of the road. Female creator behemoths like Gotham Academy: Second Semester, Shade, the Changing Girl, and a double shipping DC Comics Bombshells are carrying a lot of the weight this month rather than the work being more spread through DC’s line. Still, this looks to be a solid showing for the publisher, and a long awaited return to the thirties after a good run there last fall.

In terms of new faces, I think the cover of The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom might be Ana Dittmann’s first DC work, which is very cool. We’ve also got Brittney Williams, who we’ve seen at DC before a while back; she’s coming off a fantastic run on Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! at Marvel, and it would be rad to see more DC work from her moving forward. Eleanora Carlini’s been doing some Green Arrow work lately but now she’s moving to Batgirl, which should be fun. And Jan Duursema is back with a backup story in Scooby Apocalypse! We haven’t seen her around these parts for several months now.

The new books are light on women, however. DC’s set to premiere the prelude to their big summer event Dark Nights: Metal with Dark Days: The Forge, and while the event will encompass the whole DC universe, Batman seems to be the focus here. There are also a series of Looney Tunes superhero crossover specials, but Wonder Woman’s the only solo female character in the mix. Also, somewhat oddly, there’s a Steve Trevor special set for June. Wonder Woman will be in it, I’m sure, but focusing on him seems like a bizarre focus during a month when her first big screen solo outing is set to debut.

Overall, June is looking decent for female creators at DC. There aren’t many new books in the mix so the ranks are fairly stagnant, but things have ticked up slightly for the third straight month and DC is in the ballpark of its past highs. A lot of this is powered by just a handful of books, though, so it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming months; more growth across the board would help make this current mini-surge more sustainable.

Wonder Woman #20 Review: A Late Look at the New Circe’s Debut

April 18, 2017

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First off, apologies for the late review. I was gallivanting around Amsterdam last week and am only getting around to reading the latest issue of Wonder Woman today. It was an issue worth the wait, though; between Greg Rucka reinventing a villain that he created more than a decade ago and Bilquis Evely providing gorgeous, expressive art, “Godwatch” has been a great read thus far. I particularly enjoy that it’s so different from every other arc of the “Rebirth” Wonder Woman we’ve seen so far. We’re four arcs into this new era, and each has a different feel and style, which is very cool. Let’s dig into what happened in Wonder Woman #20, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the major plot points of this issue!

It came out nearly a week ago, though!

You should have read it by now!

So the ongoing saga of Veronica Cale and her captured daughter Izzy continues, with Cale going to extreme lengths to try to get her daughter back. This month, that means enlisting the help of the ancient witch Circe, who comes up with a plan to trap Phobos and Deimos and thus get Cale one step closer to her daughter. However, things don’t go quite as expected. The brothers get captured and turned into the dogs that we’ve seen Cale command in the present day “The Lies” and “The Truth,” but it turns out that their father Ares has Izzy, and even a fiendish witch like Circe has no desire to go up against him. Cale, though, is more than willing to unleash war on the world if it means getting her daughter back, and the issue ends with what appears to be the first step toward a sinister new plan.

Usually when an arc of Wonder Woman focuses so little on Wonder Woman herself, it very quickly gets on my nerves. She’s in just a handful of pages in this issue, and “Godwatch” as a whole has been rather light on Wonder Woman in its first three installments. And yet, I’m really enjoying it. Rucka’s constructed a compelling narrative for Cale and he’s turned her into one of the most interesting, well fleshed out villains I’ve read in some time. She’s a terrible person, sure, but there’s a humanity behind all of that rooted in her love for her daughter that makes her so much more than just some evil cardboard cut out. And Evely absolutely embraces the complicated nature of the character. I follow Evely on Twitter, and it seems clear that she really loves to draw Veronica Cale and capture both her arrogant snark and her softer emotional core. What she does with Cale’s expressions and body language is so enjoyable to read each month. Rucka’s writing her well, but Evely is really elevating her into a sensational, fascinating character.

Evely is doing an amazing job with designs for the arc as well. This issue introduced Circe, and she looks ridiculously cool. Circe’s been a Wonder Woman villain for decades, and her many incarnations have followed a similar theme: she’s generally rather sexualized, and her costumes tend to have a classic Greek myth aesthetic skewed through the lens of the male gaze. This new Circe is very different. She shows up sporting a rad short haircut that nonetheless attains impressive height, wearing a sharp outfit that includes black slacks and a vest, a collared shirt, and a cream blazer. This Circe is modern and fun and clearly mischievous. She makes me think of a sort of malevolent Sue Perkins, really.

We get a bit of the ancient Greek vibe when Circe’s doing her magic binding, and again it’s unique. Rather than a bodice that exposes ample cleavage, as we so often get with Circe, Evely equips her with a full, ornately crafted chestplate that fits nicely over her well tailored shirt and pants. It’s a simple, elegant design that conveys so much about this new take on the character, combining her ancient power with a fresh, contemporary look in manner that works so well. It feels like Circe even though it’s unlike any Circe we’ve ever seen before. I love her and I want an action figure, please.

Now, all of this villainous focus is enjoyable, but I also love how Evely draws Wonder Woman and I’m hoping we’ll get some more of that in the next few issues. The saga of Veronica Cale is a great read, but it seems that Evely is only going to be on Wonder Woman for the one arc, and I’d love to see her go to town with Wonder Woman as well. When you’ve got a great, unique talent like Evely, you should try to make her draw as much awesome stuff as possible!

Finally, while I was away, Greg Rucka announced that he will be leaving the book after Wonder Woman #25, and the art crew on both arcs seem to be moving on as well. It was sad news, to be sure, but ultimately I think it could be good for the book. I like Rucka a lot, but I’m also ready for a new take on the character, preferably from someone young with a unique perspective. Rucka was a great choice for “Rebirth” because Wonder Woman was very much adrift and DC needed someone to right the course. Rucka, Evely, Scott, and Sharp have done that admirably, and established a take on Wonder Woman that is both true to her roots and relevant to the world today. They had to fix a huge mess, and they did a great job. The end of the currents arcs seems like a good spot to pass the baton, and I’m excited to see what comes next. Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo have been announced as the new team on the book, with Fontana writing it for at least five issues, and that’s a very fun first step. We’ll find out soon if Fontana is staying with the book or we’re getting a new team after that, and here’s hoping that this great run for Wonder Woman continues.

Talking About Wonder Woman at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam: A Recap!

April 17, 2017

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I am now home from my five day visit to Amsterdam, and it was such a cool trip. I’m from Halifax, which is one of the oldest cities in North America, but it doesn’t even come close to the history and legacy of Amsterdam and it was so fun to get to explore the city. While I had to keep my head on a swivel to avoid bicycles as I did so because they’re EVERYWHERE, I adapted to that pretty quick and got to see a good portion of the city.

First, though, here’s a hot tip, gang: If you ever get the chance to fly KLM, do it. We flew there and back on KLM, and it was far and away the best airline I’ve ever been on. They give you so many drinks and meals and snacks! Plus there are a pile of good movies to watch. I saw Moana, Arrival, Finding Dory, and Doctor Strange; it was great. So yeah, highly recommended.

The first day in Amsterdam was largely a blur. My mother came with me, because if you ever luck out and get a free trip to Amsterdam and your mother’s never been to Europe, you should take her. Plus she’s a swell lady! Our flight there was an overnighter but we didn’t sleep much, so we ended up crashing at the hotel when we got there, then exploring the area a bit in the afternoon, then more sleep. Or attempts at sleep, at least. Jet lag is rough, folks.

Day two was more exploration. We figured out the metro, which was super easy and convenient, and walked through some of the good shopping places in the city. I didn’t buy much, but I did an ice cream at this rad place called Banketbakkerij Van Der Linde; they only make vanilla ice cream but it’s amazing and there’s always a line up out the door, even on a cool day like Thursday was.

Day three was my presentation, so I mostly went over my notes all day. We had some near-drama when I arrived at the EYE Film Institute and the presentation wouldn’t play; we tried my laptop, then another laptop, but nothing was showing up on the big screen. Everyone behind the scenes at the Imagine Film Festival was super great, though. The technical folks worked like crazy to get everything sorted while everyone else chatted with me and joked about our predicament. I’m still not sure exactly what was wrong, but after replacing the same small box several times, it worked. We started a few minutes late, but everything worked perfectly from then on.

The presentation itself was very fun to do. I always get super nervous before I have to give a talk, but once it gets going it tends to be more pleasant, and this was no exception. The crowd was wonderful, which helps a lot. We had a good number of people in, all of whom seemed very enthusiastic to hear about Wonder Woman, her evolution, and the role of her costume therein. I started with Marston, of course, and dug into the bizarre origins of both Wonder Woman and his own background, psychological and life-wise. Then we discussed the American symbology of the costume and how it was meant to help Wonder Woman fit in and thus help America while slyly spreading Amazon values there as well. We also looked at this great panel:

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Talking about the costume led to a deep dive into her bracelets and the bondage metaphors of Golden Age Wonder Woman comics, which segued nicely into an examination of her golden lasso as a symbol of feminine power.

From there, we passed through the Silver Age pretty quickly because her costume stayed largely the same and that was the main focus of the talk. The Bronze Age and Wonder Woman’s mod revamp, however, merited close examination. We looked at the story in which Diana Prince got trendy clothes to help Steve Trevor out of a jam:

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After which Steve started to show interest in Diana for the first time ever and Wonder Woman realized she no longer needed to be super to keep his interest. This introductory issue really set the tone for this whole era, in which Diana gave up her superpowers and got very into mod fashions, all while falling for every man she met and behaving hysterically when they inevitably betrayed her. It was an attempt to make Wonder Woman a more modern, relevant character that failed rather spectacularly.

But it did lead to Gloria Steinem campaigning for Wonder Woman to return to her roots, which was followed by her appearing on the first cover of Ms. magazine and eventually the Lynda Carter television show. The latter was particularly fun to chat about, and I showed a clip of Wonder Woman talking to her sister Drusilla in both of her identities so that we could see how Carter played them differently. We also chatted briefly about her awesome Wonder Woman scuba suit, because how could we not?

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This all was followed by a quick run through the Perez era, the ridiculousness of the Deodato era, and how Wonder Woman’s costume has remained fairly constant since the television show. Any big changes rarely lasted for long, even much hyped alterations like her ill-fated pants and leather jacket in 2010. We looked at the New 52 era as well, which led to Gal Gadot and her onscreen Wonder Woman. It was a film festival, so I wanted to be sure to give her a lot of attention.

The early discussion surrounded Zack Snyder’s brown, desaturated version of the costume which had all of the classic Wonder Woman elements but none of the brightness and vibrancy one would expect from Wonder Woman. We also watched a clip of Wonder Woman showing up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the first time, i.e. pretty much the only good part of that movie. Her general mysteriousness in that film led to some speculation about the character in her new solo film, and I was glad to dig into how Patty Jenkins seems to be embracing color. We watched the latest trailer and dug into how we got a lot of the elements we would expect in a Wonder Woman origin story, including the requisite incarnations of the characters and her corresponding outfits. But we also discussed how her sword seems to have superseded her lasso as her primary weapon:

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And the way that this, intentional or not, is an assertion of masculine concepts of heroism and power over the more classic feminine power represented by her lasso.

Finally, we talked about “Rebirth,” particularly how Rucka and Scott reasserted the importance of the lasso in “Year One.” Talking about Scott led us to Wonder Woman recent, short-lived United Nations ambassadorship, and we discussed the body-shaming petition for her removal and how reducing the character to her appearance ignores what she has meant as an inspirational figure for generations of fans.

So yeah, it was a fun talk! And there were some excellent questions after, which is always fun. My favourite may have been the woman who chatted about the historical reality of the Amazons, which was very cool, but they were all great. Then I got to hang out with the film festival folks for a bit, who were delightful and kind and so enjoyable to visit with.

Day four was the Rijksmuseum; it’s HUGE and took up the entire afternoon, really. I got to see Van Goghs, and Rembrandts, and Vermeers, but my favourite painting of all was this one by Nicolaas Baur called “A Women’s Skating Race on Stadsgracht in Leeuwarden, 21 January 1809”:

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There was a skating race for a gold cap-brooch and 64 unmarried women entered, but some of them were so into the race that they threw off their cloaks and skated bare armed, causing quite a stir among spectators who considered them shockingly immodest. There was such an outcry that it was the last women’s race for several years.

So that was my trip! Huge thanks again to the Imagine Film Festival for bringing me to Amsterdam; it was such a nice city to visit, and everyone at the festival was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who came to my talk as well. It was very fun to spread the word about Wonder Woman on a whole new continent!

Read My Essay in Riverdale Avenue Books’ New Anthology, 1984 in the 21st Century

April 4, 2017

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George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984 has been resonating with the world since its publication in 1949, and it’s become increasingly relevant these days with “alternative facts” and the bizarre doublethink that characterizations the current American presidential administration. To explore the impact and legacy of 1984 in these tumultuous times,  today Riverdale Avenue Books is publishing 1984 in the 21st Century, a new anthology with contributions from a variety of great writers, and I’m very excited to be a part of it. Most of the pieces in the book are thoughtful and compellin, and delve into important, serious issues of the day in fascinating ways.

My piece, meanwhile, is about an Archie comic book. I am nothing if not perpetually on brand.

I picked up 1984 as a young teenager because of an Archie comic. The story was “It’s 1984 at Riverdale High” and it centered on Mr. Weatherbee installing a new video security system in the school that allowed him to closely monitor all of his students and employees. Archie sensed Orwellian overtones, and took a stand against the system. Luckily for him, Mr. Weatherbee had purchased it on the cheap and the system didn’t last for long.

Archie mentioned Orwell’s novel repeatedly throughout the story, so when I saw 1984 at a bookstore a little while later, I decided to check it out. I figured if Archie liked it, it must be fun and cool and definitely appropriate for readers my age. It was not any of those things. But I loved it all the same, and the book was both illuminating and served as a gateway for me into more serious literature.

My essay digs into the original Archie comic that got me into 1984 as well as how such an Archie story was both an absolutely bizarre and extremely fitting avenue for Orwell’s dystopian themes. I also talk about the adaptability of the novel, and how it’s evergreen quality has kept it in the public discourse for decades. I hope you’ll check it out, as well as the rest of the excellent pieces in the book.

The e-book is available today through the Riverdale Avenue Books page as well as Amazon; the publication date corresponds with the day that Winston Smith began his illicit journal in the novel. And today only, you can get a free digital copy of the book on the Riverdale Avenue Books site by entering the code 1984FREE. A print  version of the book is coming soon, too. Please enjoy my weird little Archie story!

Come See Me Talk About Wonder Woman at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam, April 14!

April 3, 2017

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I’m going to Amsterdam! The major theme for this year’s Imagine Film Festival is “Fantastic Fashion,” and they’ve invited me to come give a lecture on Wonder Woman, her costume, and how the character and her appearance have evolved together over the decades. I’ll be speaking at the EYE Film Institute on Friday, April 14 at 6:10pm, and tickets are available now.

It’s a fun topic that I think will make for a great presentation. We’ve got the fascinating feminism of Marston’s early years, the mod fashions of the late 1960s and the subsequent return to her classic look, all of the bizarre attempts to update her appearance over the years that never ever stuck, and of course both Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot’s versions of the character. Plus I’ll be discussing both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince, since her alter ego often serves as an interesting counter to her superheroic form. There’s lots of great stuff to dig into, and I’ve been having a lot of fun putting the presentation together.

Beyond my own lecture, the Imagine Film Festival is going to be particularly cool this year. They’re opening the festival with Get Out, Jordan Peele’s hit horror film, and there are lots of other great selections. There’s also going to be a costuming master class from Lindy Hemming, the costume designer for a number of James Bond films, The Dark Knight trilogy, and, most excitingly, the upcoming Wonder Woman movie! The festival is going to have a very strong Wonder Woman focus this year, which is very fun.

I’m glad to be part of this excellent line up, and I’m really looking forward to both the presentation and visiting Amsterdam. I’ve never been to Europe before, and I so appreciate the Imagine Film Festival giving me the opportunity to explore such a beautiful, historic city. It’s going to be an enjoyable journey, I’m sure!

So if you’re in Amsterdam, or the Netherlands generally, or perhaps in a country nearby, you should come to the festival, and in particular to my talk, “Wonder Woman and Beyond.” It’ll be a good time, with lots of informative discussion about Wonder Woman and a lot of fun as well!

Check Out New Book, Wonder Woman Psychology, And My Essay On Marston and Wertham!

March 28, 2017

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There’s a fascinating new book about Wonder Woman set to hit stores next week (though Amazon seems to be shipping it out already in America), and I’m very honoured to be a part of it. Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth is edited by Travis Langley and Mara Wood, and examines Wonder Woman from a psychological perspective through a series of essays, all of them with unique viewpoints and insightful thoughts on the Amazon princess. Travis is a pro at this style of book, having written or edited similar volumes on Batman, Doctor Who, Games of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and more. The psychological angle is an interesting lens through which to view these properties, and one that’s especially fitting for Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman was created by a psychologist, William Moulton Marston, to be “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world,” and my essay in Wonder Woman Psychology compares and contrasts Marston’s optimistic approach to comic books with Dr. Fredric Wertham’s pessimistic view of the medium. Wertham famously decried the comic book industry in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, and was especially hard on Wonder Woman, accusing her of being a lesbian (no minor allegation in the 1950s) and calling her a “morbid ideal” for young girls.

And yet, despite their very different views on Wonder Woman, the two men had a lot in common. They both believed that psychological principles could make the world a better place, and shared progressive views on many issues. They also agreed that comic books had a powerful potential to influence the youth of America. Their major divergence was their reaction to the medium; Marston sought to harness that potential for good and influence young readers while Wertham sought to protect young readers from dangerous messages that could lead them to juvenile delinquency. Both men are fascinating figures and key players in the history of Wonder Woman, and it was a lot of fun to dig into their histories and discuss them in such a close comparison.

Travis Langley co-wrote the piece with me, which was great. I’m a historian first and foremost, and psychology is not my area of expertise, so I provided all of the history and researched the psychological work of both men as best I could, and then Travis took the baton to the finish line. I was very glad to have someone with his impressive psychological knowledge on board, both to check my own work and add to the piece. It was a fun, easy partnership and I’m really pleased with how the essay turned out.

You can order Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth now, or ask for it at your local bookstore. If they don’t have it ordered already, I’m sure they can get it for you; the series is popular and well known. I heartily recommend picking it up if you’re a fan of Wonder Woman, and not just because of my own part in it! There are lots of great writers delving into interesting components of the character, and there’s even an old biographical piece by Elizabeth Holloway Marston, William’s wife and a key player in the creation of Wonder Woman, which is ridiculously cool and worth the price of admission alone for any hardcore Wonder Woman enthusiast. You’re in for a great read across the board!


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