Supergoddesses: Morrison Speaks About Gynocentricity and ‘Wonder Woman: Earth One’
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the graphic novel Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette ever since it was announced back in January 2014 (as Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince). Now, with new details emerging in a Nerdist interview with Morrison (who has just been named editor-in-chief of Heavy Metal), the excitement is only building.
And it’s not just the revelation that Diana Prince’s Invisible Jet is shaped like a vagina. It’s what that design represents and how Morrison talks about it that really has me intrigued:
“What would a society of immortal women that’s been around for 7,000 years have done? They wouldn’t still be chopping men’s head’s off; they’ve got art and architecture and philosophy and poetry and it’s got nothing to do with men…. And for the first 48 pages, there are no men — it’s just women talking to each other. And then halfway through the book, we’re building up to this big fight, and then I thought, ‘No, I’m not.’ This book isn’t about fights, there’s not going to be any fights. So we threw out the rules of traditional boy’s adventure fiction. It’s the most exciting book I’ve done in years, it changed everything I’m thinking about the future.”
While this statement has me wondering if previewed artwork showing Diana strangling Hercules to death with chains will make it into the final version of the graphic novel, I still admire the simultaneity of delicacy and boldness in the approach Morrison describes. An all-male creative team telling a story set in a society of Amazons who have had no contact with men for millennia must handle the task thoughtfully. Morrison shows that he and Paquette have given meaningful thought to how a society shaped entirely by women would look, and they have pursued their vision while striving to push past their own male gazes. This is a graphic novel entirely about women and, somehow, that it’s not created by women bothers me not at all.
Morrison speaks about staying true to Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston’s intentions --- a female superhero who embodies a woman’s strength, not a mimicking of a man’s strength in a woman’s body. “His original concept for Wonder Woman was an answer to comics that he thought were filled with images of blood-curdling masculinity,” Morrison says in the interview. “Marston’s Diana was a doctor, a healer, a scientist.”
My hope is that Morrison’s and Paquette’s desire to find their way completely into the Amazons’ and Diana’s perspectives will elevate Wonder Woman: Earth One into a work that embodies the ideals of the Amazon princess herself --- strength, empathy, truth, and love. I know, I know --- it’s a lot to place on a comic book. But it’s that very act of Morrison rejecting his first instincts to write a comic the usual way, and going deeper to imagine and depict what woman’s world would truly be like, beyond clichés, beyond the trappings of our own society --- and him doing this as a man --- that has me hopeful.
And as for that yonic jet airplane? I can’t wait to see it.
Wonder Woman: Earth One is scheduled for release in April 2016.
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