Posts Tagged ‘Grant Morrison’

Read my Review of Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette at The Comics Journal

April 22, 2016

wwe1cover.jpg

Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette seems to be making a bit of a splash with readers, perhaps due to its well-timed released in the wake of Batman v Superman, and my full review of the book is now online at The Comics Journal. I talk about how the book is deeply rooted in the Golden Age Wonder Woman comics of William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and how Morrison and Paquette’s deviation from Marston’s core message weakens the graphic novel. By copying all of the imagery and metaphors that came from Marston’s central premise (that being the superiority of women and the coming matriarchal age) while simultaneously undermining that central premise by making the Amazons unlikable, practically villainous characters, the whole book sort of falls apart. It makes little sense to tie it so closely to that era and then ignore why that era is the way that it is. Anyway, you can read my full review at The Comics Journal.

Apart from the historical, Marston/Peter pastiche things I discuss in the article, I’ve got a few other thoughts on the book. I was surprised that I didn’t hate it, actually. I rarely enjoy Morrison’s work, and all the interviews leading up to release of Wonder Woman: Earth One had me very concerned. But it’s not terrible. It’s just sort of weird, an odd mishmash of elements that don’t make a look of sense strung together like this.

There are some good bits in the book. Etta Candy (here called Beth Candy as an homage to Beth Ditto) is pretty fun, and steals the show; she’s also one of the few likable characters in the book. And Paquette’s take on the Amazon’s home is gorgeous and inventive, both futuristic in tech and classical in inspiration. The architecture of the place is really lovely. Plus it’s cool that the book is super gay and very up front about it, as well as not at all exploitative with it. Lesbian Amazons could go real unpleasant real fast in the wrong hands, but Morrison and Paquette handle it well.

The book’s story just didn’t work well for me. The Amazons are kind of terrible people, Wonder Woman is arrogant and sometimes cruel, and her whole escape and the subsequent trial just made everyone involved come off awful. Apart from Etta. Etta was cool. There were also a lot of bizarre decisions throughout the book, scenes that made me go “Really?” or “Is that necessary?” or “What is this even adding to the story?” It didn’t do much for me, but that’s just me. The book didn’t make me mad or anything; just confused and rather underwhelmed.

You can read my full review of Wonder Woman: Earth One at The Comics Journal, and the book is available everywhere now. Let me know if you liked the book or not; I’m curious to hear your thoughts. It’s certainly a graphic novel that should inspire a lot of discussion. There’s a lot to dig into and pull apart.

Advertisements

Cover Revealed for Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Graphic Novel

September 25, 2015

Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One has been in the works for several years now, and yesterday Harpy revealed the book’s cover for the first time. Let’s take a look:

wwearthone

And here’s the official synopsis:

From the masterful minds of Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS, THE MULTIVERSITY) and Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN, INC.) comes the most provocative origin of Wonder Woman you’ve ever seen — a wholly unique retelling that still honors her origins.

For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life — Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law…staying separated from the world that wronged them.

Thought provoking yet reverent, thoroughly modern but still timeless, the power and courage of Paradise Island’s greatest champion — Wonder Woman — is introduced in this new addition to DC’s New York Times best selling Earth One original graphic novel series.

The cover is just okay for me. The pages that have been released look gorgeous, with clever layouts and lots of little fun details. This is plainer than I expected; I would have preferred something with a little more design to it rather than just a straight image.

They’ve tweaked the costume some, but not overly so. Basically, they just went more literal with it than usual, changing the classic eagle breastplate into something a bit more ornate and then continuing that look into the belt. Regular readers will know how I feel about tweaks to the tiara, though. I don’t see a star there and that bums me out a little.

What I really liked about the cover is everyone in the background. There’s Hippolyta and perhaps Philippus in the top left, and it looks like Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark, or at least people who look a lot like them, are in the mix too. And maybe Artemis with the red hair in the bottom right?

The chains look to be a reference to the bondage imagery common in the early years of Wonder Woman. Morrison’s seemed very focused on that in all of the interviews he’s done for the project, though he’s focused more on the kinky, sexual aspect than the matriarchal, female superiority message behind the bondage. I’ve been worried about how that will affect his vision of Wonder Woman. The kink is a part of it, for sure, but there was so much more going on with the bondage when William Moulton Marston originally wrote the book.

Anyway, I’m curious about this book but a little wary. I’m not a huge Morrison fan; he has a tendency to just burn everything down and do his own thing that I usually don’t enjoy. But Paquette is killer, and I’m sure the book will look great. Amazon has it listed for release this April, but that could change. It’s been delayed several time already. Hopefully it will keep on track and be available then!

Wonder Woman: The Very Selfish Princess by Jill Thompson and Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette Coming This Fall

March 30, 2015

paquettethompson

It’s going to be an interesting autumn for Wonder Woman fans, with two new graphic novels starring the Amazing Amazons hitting the shelves. The first is Wonder Woman: The Very Selfish Princess by Jill Thompson. Here is the book’s synopsis:

WONDER WOMAN: THE VERY SELFISH PRINCESS is Jill Thompson’s storybook style reimagining of the early years of the Amazon Princess Diana, who would grow up to become Wonder Woman. This fully painted graphic novel is unlike any Wonder Woman tale you have ever read, told as only Eisner Award-winning writer/artist Thomspon could. When young Diana has the fawning attention of a nation, she soon grows spoiled. But a series of tragic events take their toll, and Diana must learn to grow up, take responsibility, and seize her destiny.

Steeped in the mythology of this iconic character’s original conception, WONDER WOMAN: THE VERY SELFISH PRINCESS is designed to appeal to a wide range of readers. It’s a fresh, stand alone interpretation of the most famous and iconic female super-hero of all time and the fulfillment of a dream project by one of contemporary comics’ most acclaimed creators.

So this sounds pretty rad. Thompson was an artist on Wonder Woman during the George Perez years, and is very familiar with the character. I love the idea of a painted, storybook style take on Diana’s early years, too. I’ve always thought that DC would be smart to play up the princess angle of Wonder Woman for younger readers, and it looks like they’re doing that here.

It looks like the book will be released in twelve digital installments first, probably sometime in the summer, and then collected in book form. It should be a lot of fun and I’m curious to see how Thompson reinvents Wonder Woman. The book will be gorgeous, for sure, so that will be an excellent time. Amazon has it listed for September 8, but it’ll probably be out in comic shops before then.

The other new Wonder Woman graphic novel coming this fall is the long awaited Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette. I’ve expressed my trepidation about this book on several occasions, and nothing I’ve heard about it in the several years since this book was announced have eased my concerns. In all of the interviews I’ve read, Morrison seems far too wrapped up in the sexual bondage elements of the original Wonder Woman, and is perhaps missing the feminist forest for the bondage trees, if that makes any sense at all. The bondage element of Wonder Woman is a fascinating aspect of her past, but not what I’d consider the best starting point to reinvent her for the 21st century. Plus it’s a Morrison book and he tends to blow everything up and leave beloved mythos in tatters that barely resemble their former selves, so I’m not looking forward to Wonder Woman getting that sort of treatment. The Amazon synopsis reads:

Critically acclaimed, best-selling writer Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Batman, Inc.) once again pushes the boundaries of the graphic novel page in his mind-bending new take on the most powerful woman in the DC Universe. With stunning art by Yanick Paquette (Swamp Thing), Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1 is an easily accessible jumping on point for new readers.

“Pushes the boundaries of the graphic novel page”? Come on. I don’t generally care for Grant Morrison’s work, if you can’t tell. That being said, I do quite like Yanick Paquette, so it should be a lovely book at least. And Morrison is always a crapshoot. It might turn out great. It’s hard to know what that dude is going to do.

Wonder Woman: Earth One is scheduled to be released on November 10, though they’ve been promising the book for quite some time and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if that date got bumped. We’ll see what happens.

More Yanick Paquette Art From Wonder Woman: Earth One

July 29, 2013

Grant Morrison was interviewed in USA Today this weekend, and we got a look at two more of Yanick Paquette’s pages from Wonder Woman: Earth One.  Morrison said that Paquette’s only completed 18 pages of the book so far, so I doubt we’ll be seeing it particularly soon, but the art thus far has been quite nice.  As much as I’m leery of Morrison writing Wonder Woman, I’m excited to see Paquette’s full take on her and the Amazons.  Here are the pages:

wwpaquette1

wwpaquette2

I particularly like that in the crowd scene the Amazons aren’t wearing generic togas or some such.  Everyone’s got a slightly different style: some dresses, some skirts, some pants, tops of various makes and patterns.  Just by moving away from toga-centric clothing, the Amazons automatically get more personality as they each have their own individual look.  I think that approach to the Amazons is very cool.

Apart from the lovely art, Morrison also revealed that:

Diana’s a lot more defiant in it and she’s not sent to man’s world — she runs away to it so there’s a very different dynamic between her and Hippolyta, and the entire thing basically takes place around a trial.

I think this might be the first time he’s mentioned that, though he’s done a billion interviews lately.  I may have missed one.  Anyway, it sounds like there’s no divinely ordained mission or competition to choose a champion, and instead Wonder Woman is running away to man’s world.  Which apparently doesn’t go over too well, seeing as there’s a trial and all.  That’s certainly a new approach to Wonder Woman’s origin.  There’s always been a hint of rebellion in Diana becoming Wonder Woman, with most origin stories involving Hippolyta forbidding Diana to participate in the competition to choose a champion and Diana doing so anyway, but Morrison looks to be taking it a step further.

Anyway, the art is very fun.  The rest I’m concerned about, but Paquette looks to be killing it thus far.

Grant Morrison Interviewed About Wonder Woman: Earth One

June 27, 2013

wwearthone

For a book without a release date yet, Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette are certainly doing a lot of press lately for Wonder Woman: Earth OneYesterday, the Los Angeles Times’ “Hero Complex” blog posted an interview with Morrison about the book that revealed some interesting tidbits.  Obviously, any judgment will be withheld until the book is actually out and I’ve read it, but from what I’ve heard about the book so far, I’m not particularly enthused about it and there are a few comments from the interview that I thought were worth discussing.

When asked if Wonder Woman was a character he’d wanted to tackle, Morrison replied:

Kind of. I’d done it before in “Justice League,” but she’s always been a kind of presence. And there’s something about the character that really annoyed me, to be honest, because I couldn’t quite get a hook on her.

I’m never a big fan of having someone write a book about a character where the approach is “I don’t particularly like this character, but I’ll try to figure out a way to make it work.”  This was the same sort of thing we heard from Brian Azzarello about Wonder Woman, and while his Wonder Woman has some good components, the weakest part of the book by far is his treatment of Wonder Woman herself.  I find that when someone doesn’t have a good handle on a character to begin with, in trying to figure them out they often veer off into weird, new directions that don’t necessarily well reflect what the character has meant to readers for generations.  I’m all for updating and innovation, but when you compare the way Morrison talks about Wonder Woman to, say, the way a writer like Greg Rucka or Gail Simone talks about her, you can see a huge difference.

This comes across for me strongly when Morrison discusses the Golden Age Wonder Woman and the work of William Moulton Marston.  Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass has been doing regular posts about Wonder Woman: Earth One and how often Morrison goes on about sex in relation to the book, which is often, and this interview is another example of that.  After mentioning Marston’s theory that men should submit to women, he says:

It’s about the sexes and how we feel about one another, and what a society of women cut off from the rest of the world for 3,000 years might look like, and what kind of sexuality, what kind of philosophy, what kind of science would that have developed, and how would that impact our world if it actually suddenly became apparent that these women existed. So for me, that was always the original Wonder Woman story, but when you hear it retold, there’s a lot of potential in there to talk about the way we live today and the way the sexes view one another, especially in an age when pornography has become so ubiquitous, to go back to this sort of strange eroticism that Martson had.

My issue with Morrison’s sex focus is that while yes, Marston had his kinks and early Wonder Woman comics had a sexual element, it was very much a below the surface, between the lines kind of thing.  It also had a lot of layers; there was the bondage element, Marston’s justification of the bondage element as a critique of the harshness of patriarchal society, the degree to which this justification falls apart upon closer examination, and the way Marston’s other kinks and fixations seem to almost inadvertently slip into the book on a regular basis.

The “strange eroticism” of Marston was complicated and not particularly overt; the bondage imagery and lesbian subtext is there if you’re looking for it, but you have to look for it.  Morrison, on the other hand, seems to be bringing it to the fore.  Frankly, I think rather than tackle Marston’s approach to sexuality head on, a far more interesting tack for Morrison to take would be to do his own Wonder Woman and eschew any past influences and see if any of his own personal kinks and feelings about sexuality bleed into the book the way Marston’s did.

As much as I question Morrison’s entire approach to this book, I did appreciate what he had to say about female readers.  When asked if he was hoping to attract a female audience, Morrison replied:

Absolutely. We’ll see what happens. It all depends, I guess. It has a lot to do with marketing and the kinds of interviews that we do. But yeah, I was speaking the other day, and I said, “This is a book for mothers and their daughters,” so hopefully that will stand.

It’s good to hear that he’s committed to reaching out to a female audience.  As we all well know, this isn’t DC’s strong suit, but if Morrison is pushing for it than hopefully something will happen.

Morrison also talked a bit about Yanick Paquette’s art, which I’m sure will be gorgeous despite my qualms about the story itself.  Describing Paquette’s art for the opening of the book, Morrison says:

The first 15 pages are basically a retelling of the Greek myth as filtered through the original Wonder Woman story, where Hercules has enslaved the Amazons, and Hippolyta’s in chains, and basically the Amazons escape and declare that they will establish a paradise island far from the gaze of men. So he’s sent in that entire sequence now, and it’s just this beautiful mural, and he’s done all this amazing decorative stuff with baubles and shattered shards of Greek pottery. And all the scenes are drawn in this flat, graphic style of Greek art, so it really is the most amazing thing.

This sounds super cool.  Paquette’s an amazing artist, and from this description it seems that the art posted above, the only art from the book we have thus far, is part of this sequence.  However, while that sounds lovely, Morrison then goes on to say that Paquette “captures those aspects of it, which I wanted it to have — the eroticism of Wonder Woman” and we’re back to talking about sex again.

Anyway, now we’re all caught up on the latest news about Wonder Woman: Earth One.  It still doesn’t have a release date and, generally speaking, I’m very concerned about it, but I’m optimistic that it’ll be pretty at least.

First Look At Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One

May 10, 2013

So it seems that it’s actually happeneing.  Today we got a look at a double page spread from Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s upcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel, showing Queen Hippolyta killing Hercules:

wwearthone

Man, the Amazons are just killing everyone lately.  Paquette is a great artist, and the page is well drawn and composed, but this seems like a bizarre tone to set for the first image from the book.

It sounds like the book is finished, coming in at 120 pages like the rest of the Earth One graphic novels, so we should expect it to be solicited soon, perhaps even this Monday.  I could not be less excited.  Everything I’ve read of Morrison talking about the character sounds like he doesn’t get Wonder Woman at all, plus I find his approach to superheroes is just “burn it all down”… he goes to town killing people and rejiggering everything so you have issues and issues of chaos that just seem to peter off when he gets bored.  So yeah, I’m not looking forward to this.  Paquette is great, and I’m sure the book will be gorgeous, but I’d be fine never reading another Morrison comic book again.

I was going to say that this book couldn’t be worse than the latest Superman: Earth One or Batman: Earth One books, but I think it could.  We’ll have to see.  I’ll keep an open mind, of course, but I’m not optimistic.


%d bloggers like this: