Posts Tagged ‘William Moulton Marston’

Lynda Carter was on Supergirl Last Night, and it was THE BEST

October 25, 2016

supergirlcarter.png

The second season of Supergirl has been off to a great start on The CW, continuing all of the joy and brightness of its first season. There’s nothing I love more than happy superheroes, and having Supergirl and The Flash on back-to-back nights is such a delightful way to start the week. The move to The CW hasn’t been entirely painless, though; Calista Flockhart is no longer a regular cast member, and her Cat Grant was a key part of the first season. But Supergirl has been working hard to counter her absence with an array of new, rad female characters, including the President of the United States, played by television’s first Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter.

It’s always great to see Lynda Carter, and having her on a female-led superhero show is just perfect. Even more perfect: Her character’s name is Olivia Marsdin, in what has to be a subtle shout out to William Moulton Marston and Olive Byrne, the creator of Wonder Woman and his live-in partner who influenced Wonder Woman’s creation. It’s a nice nod to Wonder Woman’s roots, and the first of several such references.

Also, a female president is timely given the current American election. Doubly so given that Supergirl observes, “How did anyone even vote for that other guy?” It seems that in both our world and the world of Supergirl, a woman ran against some dude who couldn’t hold a candle to her.

President Marsdin comes off well throughout the episode, and she definitely espouses the kindness and acceptance we’d expect from a former Wonder Woman, particularly in her Alien Amnesty Act. Earth is lousy with aliens on Supergirl, and the President wants to give them the same rights that humanity enjoys. And she’s got a big fan in Supergirl, who loves her from the get-go. Her excitement before meeting the President is straight up the cutest, and her affection for the President only grows after they meet. When Supergirl is excited about someone, you can’t help but like them even more.

Wonder Woman fun was sprinkled throughout the episode. When President Marsdin talked to Hank about her Amnesty Act and said, “I can think of no better time than the present to extend our hand in friendship,” my mind immediately leaped to this panel from Wonder Woman #25 in which Gail Simone penned what’s become a classic Wonder Woman line:

supergirlww25

I might be reading too much into the line, but it sprang to my mind instantaneously when I heard Lynda Carter say it.

We also get a classic spin move! When an angry alien bent on attacking the President lit Supergirl on fire, she put herself out with a spin:

supergirlspin1

In what is clearly a reference to Wonder Woman’s iconic quick change spin move:

supergirlspin2

And, in my very favourite moment of the entire show, after Supergirl mentions how cool it was to see Air Force One, the president replied:

supergirljet1

supergirljet2

I mean, come on. How great is that?

Now, it wasn’t all fun and games with President Marsdin. But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

The end of the episode revealed a hidden side to the President. Namely, it looks like she’s an alien, with some shapeshifting abilities; her entire face distorted for a second into a distinctly non-human guise. She could be an alien double impersonating the President, or maybe the President’s been a deep cover alien all along! Either way, that’s definitely going to spell trouble. I’m curious to see where this startling reveal goes.

END SPOILERS!!!

President Marsdin wasn’t the only fun new character on tonight’s Supergirl. It was a cavalcade of awesomeness throughout the entire show: Mon-El finally woke up, Detective Maggie Sawyer popped in and had INSTANT chemistry with Alex, and Miss Martian revealed herself at the end of the episode. This season of Supergirl is adding a slew of fun new supporting characters, and I love the direction it’s going in.

I’m not sure when we’ll see Lynda Carter back on the program again. So far, I don’t think a return date has been announced, but given that reveal at the end of the show, I think it’s a safe bet that she’ll be back. Hopefully they’ll fit even more fun Wonder Woman references into that episode, too.

New York Comic-Con Wonder Woman News Extravaganza: New Comics, Toys, Movies!

October 11, 2016

nycc

This post is as much for me as it is for you, reader friends. New York Comic-Con was this weekend, and with it came lots of fun news, announcements, and reveals, nearly all of which I missed. My sister got married this weekend (congrats to Kate and Tom!), and I was all wrapped up in that. It was certainly a better way to spend the long weekend than scanning the internet for cool NYCC news, but now the week has officially begun and it’s time for me to dig in and catch up. So here’s a look at what Wonder Woman news came out of the convention this weekend!

First up, let’s chat about Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, an upcoming biopic about Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston and the women who played key roles in his life. Angela Robinson will write and direct the movie, with Luke Evans starring as Marston, Rebecca Hall playing his wife, Elizabeth, and Bella Heathcote joining them as Olive Byrne, the final member of the Marstons’ polyamorous triangle. This could be an absolutely fascinating film; Marston’s life was interesting and unusual, to say the least, and it has all of the makings of a great story. I’m curious to see how much DC gets on board and what sort of Wonder Woman stuff they’ll be allowed to use, but even just the story of their lives leading up to the creation of Wonder Woman is quite a compelling tale. It’s good to see the women behind Wonder Woman getting recognized from the get-go as well, rather than shining the spotlight on Marston alone. I’m very excited to see how this one turns out!

In other film news, Warner Bros. Animation might have another Wonder Woman cartoon film in development. It doesn’t seem to be official yet, since the quote was, “they have Wonder Woman on their radar in some form or fashion,” but that’s better than no Wonder Woman at all. There were no details on whether this would be a sequel to the 2009 direct-to-DVD film Wonder Woman or something completely new, but things might be happening on the animation front.

We’ll stick with movies for one more bit of news: DC Collectibles revealed a line of statues for the upcoming live action Wonder Woman film, and they all look quite lovely. Here’s Wonder Woman on a horse:

nyccstatue

And you can click through the link to see a couple more. They’re very nice but also pricey, ranging from $150-300 USD. Expect them out in the ballpark of June 2017, when the movie is due to hit the big screen.

Moving to comics, we’ve got a rad crossover on the way with Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, a comic book teaming of Adam West and Burt Ward’s Batman and Robin with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker are writing, with art from David Hahn and Karl Kesel and covers by Alex Ross and Mike Allred. Check out this peek at Alex Ross’ first cover:

nycc77

The six issue mini-series will premiere digitally in November and then hit comic shops in print form in January. It looks like the chief villains will be Ra’s al Ghul and Catwoman, which should make for a lot of fun.

This next news broke a bit before NYCC, but it’s too awesome to leave out: We’re getting DC Super Hero Girls Lego! Here’s a look at the Wonder Woman set, which includes an invisible motorcycle:

nycclego

Other sets include Batgirl, Bumblebee, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Supergirl, and more. Some will hit stores in December, with more to roll out down the line; Wonder Woman is in the second wave, due to come out in January. The sets are in the style of Lego’s “Friends” line, which they target at girls, and while I do miss the blocky classic Lego look on the minifigs, it does match a bit better with the style of the show. I’m definitely going to need to pick up a few of these sets, the Wonder Woman one first and foremost.

Finally, the U.S. Postal Service officially debuted their new line of Wonder Woman stamps that celebrate the character’s 75th anniversary:

nyccstamps

Artists Cliff Chiang and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez were on hand for the event, and the stamps are now available to order online or in your local post office if you’re an American. I actually got to work behind the scenes a little bit on the stamps, consulting on the text that accompanies them in the packaging to verify that everything was historically accurate. It was a very fun process, and it’s so cool that they’re officially out in the world now!

I think that was all of the big news this weekend, but let me in the comments if I missed anything cool. Overall, it was a big NYCC for Wonder Woman, and there should be a lot of fun stuff on the horizon for Wonder Woman fans and collectors.

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.

Review – IDW’s Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strip, 1944-1945 by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter

December 16, 2014

TCJcover

I recently read and absolutely loved IDW’s collection of the short running Wonder Woman comic strip from the 1940s, and I was fascinated with the way the strips compared to the regular Wonder Woman comic books. Both were done by Wonder Woman’s original creative team of William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, but the strip debuted more than two years after Wonder Woman first appeared. With a couple years under their belts, they duo got a second chance to introduce Wonder Woman’s feminist message to a new audience, and the differences in the strips are just as interesting as what stayed the same. I examined IDW’s collection as compared to the original comics in a review that’s up now at The Comics Journal.

Marston doubled down on his matriarchal message, making it explicitly clear that Wonder Woman was coming to America to conquer the patriarchy. Look at this comparison of Wonder Woman leaving Paradise Island for the first time, and see what Marston added to the strip:

TCJhola

He also kept his bondage fetishism front and center as always. In fact, the Cheetah story in the strips is completely different from the Cheetah’s first appearance in Wonder Woman except for an elaborate bondage sequence that was redrawn by Peter almost exactly as it first appeared:

TCJbondage

Head on over to The Comics Journal for more pictures and my full review.

Wonder Woman’s 1943-1944 Newspaper Strips Collected By IDW

June 25, 2014

wwidw

IDW’s done a great job collecting DC Comics’ classic comic book strips, and now they’re collecting Wonder Woman’s strips from the early 1940s in a book due out in August in comic shops and September in bookstores. The strips were written and drawn by Wonder Woman’s original creative team, William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and have been largely forgotten; while the Superman and Batman strips ran for several years, Wonder Woman’s strip only ran for a year and a half. This volume collects the entire run.

I think this book is going to be a treasure trove of Golden Age fun. The original Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman were absolutely bonkers books that combined World War II, Greek deities, space invaders, feminism, bondage, and so much more. I’m excited to see some new adventures from the original creative team, though I suspect that a lot of the book will be retellings of stories from the comic books, or vice versa. The Superman strips did that a lot, and this group of strips is very similar to the beginning of Wonder Woman #6:

wwidw3

But that’s in no way a bad thing. It will be fascinating to see classic Wonder Woman tales reinterpreted in comic strip form.

This book is obviously right up my alley as a historian who wrote a book about Wonder Woman, but I think it will be a lot of fun for all Wonder Woman fans. It should be a good introduction to the original character, with the added benefit of having Marston and Peter at their peak and with a solid handle on the character after a couple of years of comics under their belt. The book will be a fascinating distillation of the Golden Age Wonder Woman, and I can’t wait to read it.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop. It’s $50, but this is such a cool piece of Wonder Woman history that I strongly urge everyone to check it out.

“America’s Silver Age,” My Piece On Gender And Race In Silver Age Wonder Woman Comics For The Los Angeles Review Of Books

April 14, 2014

This weekend, a piece I wrote about Wonder Woman’s Silver Age comics went up at the Los Angeles Review of Books. We really could have called it “Ugh, White Men, Am I Right?” but “America’s Silver Age” is a classier title choice. Ostensibly a review of Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess Archives, Volume 1, which came out a while ago, the piece looks at the depiction of women and people of colour (or rather, the lack thereof) in Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito’s revision of Wonder Woman that began in 1958.

In the Golden Age, William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter’s Wonder Woman was all about female strength and superiority. It was also a fairly racially diverse comic for the time, though these depictions of people of colour ran the gamut from moderately positive to offensive stereotypes. Marston himself wasn’t nearly as forward thinking about race as he was about gender; in his psychological writing he frowned on interracial relationships, and he had a number of connections with known eugenics supporters and sympathizers, including his de facto aunt, Margaret Sanger. Nonetheless, the early years of Wonder Woman actually portrayed people of colour at least, however problematically.

When Kanigher, Andru, and Esposito began their new take on Wonder Woman in 1958, Marston’s feminist messages went out the window, as did people of colour. In the thirteen issues collected in this first Silver Age Wonder Woman Archive volume, there are only three very brief instances that feature people of colour. This panel from Wonder Woman #103, featuring Inuits fleeing a glacier, was the most any non-white characters spoke in the book:

LARBww103inuit

It was a whitewashed book, removing race all together at a time when race was a daily issue in American society as the Civil Rights Movement continually gained momentum.

You can read the full piece over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and of course learn more about Wonder Woman’s history generally in my book, Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine.

Wonder Woman Unbound Preview #8: Suffering Sappho!

March 3, 2014

preview1

Every Monday until Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine comes out this April, we’re taking a look at a comic panel that captures a key moment in Wonder Woman’s history and highlights an important point from each chapter.

Wonder Woman had a colourful array of divinely inspired expressions she’d exclaim to punctuate her dialogue in the Silver Age.  “Merciful Minerva!”, “Great Hera!”, and “Thunderbolts of Jove!” were but a few of her Rob Burgundy-esque catchphrases.  But she had another common expression that didn’t reference a deity at all: “Suffering Sappho!”

Today we’re going to look at four panels, all from the same issue, that illustrate how widespread this expression was.  The panels are from Wonder Woman #115 in July 1960:

WWUpanel8aww115

WWUpanel8b

WWUpanel8c

WWUpanel8d

That’s a lot of “Suffering Sappho!”  Sappho was an ancient Greek poet who is best known for poems where women professed their affection for other women; the name of her home, the island of Lesbos, is the basis for the term lesbian.  To mention Sappho is to make a very specific reference, and Kanigher did so often in the Silver Age.  Wonder Woman #115’s four times in one issue wasn’t even a record.

With all of the marriage-centric, romantic shenanigans in the Silver Age, it’s possible to read “Suffering Sappho!” as a subversion of this marital focus that hinted at Wonder Woman’s true lesbian leanings.  Lesbian inclinations were a part of Wonder Woman from the very beginning of the series, and William Moulton Marston’s psychological work broke with the trends of the time and was firmly in favour of sexual relations between women.  There was a lot going on between the lines in the first few decades of Wonder Woman.

To read more, you’ll have to wait until Wonder Woman Unbound comes out this April!  Be sure to come back next Monday, when we’ll look at Wonder Woman’s mod era, and also check out the seventh installment of my Wonder Woman interview series this Wednesday; we’ll be talking with some great Wonder Woman artists!

Wonder Unbound Unbound is available for pre-order now, online or at your local comic shop.


%d bloggers like this: