Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Holloway Marston’

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

March 28, 2017

wwpsych

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!

RIP Pete Marston, the Son of Wonder Woman Creator William Moulton Marston

January 19, 2017

petemarston

Moulton “Pete” Marston, the son of Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Holloway Marston, passed away on Tuesday. He was 88 years old. Aside from his parental connection to Wonder Woman, in recent years Pete had become well known in the fan community for his Wonder Woman Museum, comprised of a massive collection of memorabilia. Some items were old treasures from Pete’s own collection, but he was an avid collector as well and assembled a wide array of new material. Currently, there are nearly 4,000 items housed in the Wonder Woman Museum at his home in Bethel, Connecticut.

Outside of his impressive Wonder Woman collection, Pete spent most of his working years as a realtor, and he also built and renovated homes and worked in a variety of construction trades. He spent time in the merchant marine as well. Pete is survived by his wife, Olive Louise Marston, two siblings, three children, and five grandchildren.

A note from Pete’s brother Byrne in his official obituary offers an inside peek at Pete’s role in early Wonder Woman comics:

My brother Pete was always a man of enormous imagination. As a kid, he was a dreamer. When we were teenagers our dad, who was often under pressure to produce scripts for his Wonder Woman superheroine, offered $100 to anyone writing a usable scenario for a Wonder Woman episode. Though $100 was a fortune at that time, Pete was the only one of us who could dream them up.

Pete seemed to have had a good relationship with his father. On top of pitching plots for Wonder Woman, Pete also left Harvard in the mid-1940s to return home and help care for his father. William Moulton Marston had polio and cancer, and passed away in 1947. It’s lovely that Pete created such a testament to his father’s creation with his Wonder Woman Museum. The museum is also a testament to the women who raised him; Pete’s mother, Elizabeth, gave Marston the idea to create a female superhero, and the Marstons lived in a polyamorous relationship with Olive Byrne, who raised the kids (Marston had two with each woman) and also inspired key elements of Wonder Woman’s look and personality.

Regrettably, I never got the chance to interact with Pete directly, though his daughter Christie was a great help when I was researching Wonder Woman Unbound and I know that Pete had a big hand in the materials that she sent me and the recollections that she was able to share. By all accounts, he was a kind and warm man; everyone who visited the museum (a guest list that included Lynda Carter herself!) seemed to come away with an appreciation and affection not just for its myriad wonderful items but also for the man who assembled it all.

My deepest condolences to the Marston family during this sad time, and I hope that their grief is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that Pete lived a long and interesting life and that he’s remembered so fondly by Wonder Woman fans the world over. In lieu of flowers, Pete would like to have donations in his memory sent to the Bethel Police Benevolent Association (PBA), P.O. Box 169, Bethel CT 06801.


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