Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman To Bind Fetish And Feminism In 2012
In a lengthy and in-depth conversation with attendees of this year's Edinburgh Book Festival in Scotland, comics writer Grant Morrison indicated his long in-the-works Wonder Woman project may finally appear in 2012, that it will be influenced by the character's fetishistic roots in the original comics by William Moulton Marston, and that it is the most difficult project the prolific and popular writer has yet undertaken.Known for comics including All-Star Superman, The invisibles and Batman And Robin, Morrison explained to his Edinburgh audience that the Superman of the 1940s embodied "blood-curdling masculinity," and that Marston and his wife Elizabeth created Wonder Woman, an Amazonian princess based in Greek mythology, as a feminine alternative. William Marston was a man perhaps particularly suited to create such a powerful female superhero, as Morrison said the psychologist believed "the world would be better if men would just submit to women's complete instruction." Along those lines, Marston's Wonder Woman stories were infused with an undeniable sexuality, particularly with respect to fetishistic themes like bondage and "loving submission." Morrison elaborated:
There's a story where Wonder Woman rescues the slave girls of an evil Nazi villain, and the slave girls don't know what to do, even though they've been rescued they're kind of, they like being slaves. So Wonder Woman just says "Oh, don't worry, you can be slaves on Paradise Island and one of our girls will take over but she'll be really nice to you unlike the Nazi!", and that was seen as, that was the resolution to the story! You've got a nice mistress instead of a crop-cracking Paula Von Gunther.
The Wonder Woman strip had this weird libidinous kind of element and obviously on Paradise Island, it was this amazing Second Wave, separatist, feminist idea of an entire island where women had ruled for 3000 years and what they did for fun was chase one another! So the girls would dress up like stags and run through the forest and another girl would chase them and then they'd capture the girl, tie her up and put her on a table and pretend to eat her at a mock banquet. This is a typical Wonder Woman adventure!
According to Morrison, sales of Wonder Woman plummeted after Marston died and DC developed the largely chaste version of the character most of us recognize today, whom he described as "a cross between the Virgin Mary and Mary Tyler Moore."
In the way that Superman's supposed to stand for men but at least he's allowed to have some kind of element of sexuality, Wonder Woman is expected to stand for women without any element of sexuality, and that seems wrong.
With that point of view as a launch pad, Morrison challenged himself to reintroduce elements of sexuality to Wonder Woman, but, in his words, "without it being prurient or exploitative." To that end, the writer has immersed himself in feminist theory and literature, and hopes to synthesize all of the discussed concepts into a new take on the character that also invokes the energy of her earliest adventures.