Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Link to Marston on Wonder Woman

I found this while looking for When Fangirls Attack links.

I want to find everyone who dismisses Wonder Woman as Marston's bondage kink made ink and paper and *make* them read this interview.

The man's amazing. Even reading words expressed second-hand decades ago, I'm getting chills. Whether one agrees with him or not, whether one likes Diana or not, it's very obvious how much of his heart and soul he put into her creation, and how much more she was to him than anything so petty as a porn kink.

The point isn't that she gets tied up, guys. It's that she always, *always*, breaks free.


  • At June 20, 2006 7:10 AM, Blogger Brandon Bragg said…

    Interesting link. I'd love to read more about this guy. I remember seeing some comic book documentary where they revealed a little about his unorthodox home life. He deserves a biopic.

    Keep chomping those bears!

  • At June 20, 2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Marionette said…

    That really is a fantastic interview. Wouldn't you just love to see a debate between Moulton and Miller?

  • At June 20, 2006 1:11 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Miller would so get his block knocked off.

    Most likely by Olive or Elizabeth.

    Man, I'd pay to see that.

    Um, not in any prurient sense...

  • At June 20, 2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Richard said…

    I'm in the middle of rereading Promethea at the moment, and this interview would fit into that comic perfectly without a word of it changed. Just by itself, that should stand as a rebuke to people who believe that the world before they were born was somehow simpler or more innocent. But having said that, I'm still impressed something which challenged social and sexual norms so utterly was published in Family Circle of all places, and during the early days of WWII no less! Amazing.

    People who bash Marston for elevating a kink to the level of a personal philosophy and using it to create art are just responding with a prejudice against that kink. They're just sniggering at the idea of a man willingly saying something that makes him sound less "manly." I wonder if a psychologist like Marston would look at the artists who draw impossibly huge boobs...and see the expression of a sublimated desire for nursing? Or look at the writers who insist on degrading and dismembering female characters...and see a profound terror at being controlled and dominated by women demanding that the women constantly be put down and punished? Marston clearly isn't the only guy who ever put his personal psychosexual imagery into his work. The difference is that he was doing it knowingly, he had an integrated personality, and his view strikes me as a LOT healthier than someone so desperately afraid of those feelings that he imagines a woman stuffed in a refrigerator.

  • At June 20, 2006 1:36 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    brandon: He's an interesting fellow.

    marionette: Hee, that'd be a very uneven match. Miller's a lot of things, but he's never struck me as terribly eloquent.

    serpent: I would. :-)

    rab: Well, when you consider WWII and the dependence on women on the homefront, and the relative liberalism of the country after the New Deal, it makes a bit more sense. Now the *fifties* would have been more of an obstacle.

    But I agree. The man's sexual interests were one portion of his personality. While I don't necessarily think putting Alex into a fridge is a sign of some deep mental psychosis (Ragnell's the one that sees symbolism there, I tend to think sometimes a fridge is just a fridge. :-)) I do think that it's not fair that other writers get a pass and Marston doesn't.

    Besides, it doesn't matter if Diana did originate just because of his kinks, what matters is the role she originated and continues to play in comics. :-)

  • At June 20, 2006 4:52 PM, Blogger Marionette said…

    I have this suspicion that a lot of people who dismiss Moulton as a kink haven't actually read any of his comics.

    Which is a shame because the original Moulton Wonder Woman is glorious.

  • At June 20, 2006 8:11 PM, Blogger Marc Burkhardt said…

    Marston created one of the most subversive characters to ever enter the popular consciousness. To dismiss it as "kink" just demonstrates how powerful the original idea actually was ...

  • At June 20, 2006 11:59 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Thinking about it, one of the many things that annoyed me about the Perez revamp of Wonder Woman was that he decreed that her powers were all Extra Special Gifts from The Gods.

    Pre-Crisis, all the Amazons shared Diana's strength and speed. She wasn't merely Gifted by Divine Fiat; she had to EARN her mantle as Wonder Woman by proving herself the most capable of an entire POPULATION of super-strong women. She was exceptional among the exceptional.

    Even that paled behind a point Diana made again and again in Marston's run: "Any woman can do the things I do, if she just lets herself be free."

    Perez transformed her from Ultimate Feminist Icon to a second-rate magical mystery mutant.

  • At June 21, 2006 12:06 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    marionette: I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, the covers look awfully suggestive, but it seems like the actual point is much more her tying up the badguys and breaking *free* from her own bonds.

    Which is a completely different thing all together, IMO.

    keeper: I suppose. My problem is just that by reducing it as a kink leads many to dismiss Wonder Woman's contribution to the genre. I mean, she was the forerunning female hero. That shouldn't be discounted even if she *were* a kink.

    serpent: Yeah, but with the un-retcon cancelling that out, it looks more promising. Donna for example, reverted to little sister, seems to have similar strength at least. So it'll be interesting to see how it all works.

  • At June 21, 2006 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, love love LOVE that interview.

    Your Obedient Serpent: I'm pretty sure that in issue two of the Potter/Perez Wonder Woman Diana is shown besting all of the other Amazons in a series of competitions in order to secure her role as Wonder Woman.

  • At June 21, 2006 2:51 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I remember enjoying that scene, but I liked it better in the tv show. :-) I did think the emphasis on "Gift from the gods" annoyed me a little. But then again, if the Amazons were born that way, I suppose it'd be the same.

    Seems different though. Hmm. Not really sure why. Gonna think on this.

  • At June 23, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger Scipio said…

    I've read all his comics, that interview, and plenty else.


    Please, folks; I gave Marston credit for the intelligence to dress his kink up in fancy intellectural trappings and for the salesmanship to sell to DC and parents as a nanny for their kids, but a pig in a nice dress is still a pig.

    I mean ... the Holliday girls and their spanking rituals (the subject of his thesis as I recall)?

    Really now!

  • At June 23, 2006 8:11 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'm not doubting that Marston's kink is playing into the creation of both the idealistic feminist-supremist view that he presents, his philosophy or Wonder Woman herself.

    What I don't agree with is that Wonder Woman is *only* his kink at work. :-)


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