Wonder Woman was first created in 1941 by William Moulton Marston. Over the years, her origin has been retold in numerous comic books and explored in television shows like the live action Wonder Woman show and the animated Justice League series. Even though DC Comics rebooted their publishing universe with The New 52 back in 2011, many readers still struggle with what books they should read or where they should start. The recent Earth One series of books explores the characters in the modern age. It's a way of looking at a character for the first time. The essence of their story is still there but presented in a slightly different fashion.
Grant Morrison has had acclaimed runs on characters such as Batman (Batman: R.I.P., Batman Incorporated) and Superman (All-Star Superman). He has now turned his attention onto the Amazon Princess. We spoke to Morrison about his plans for the new Wonder Woman Earth One book and possible follow ups.
COMIC VINE: How do you see Wonder Woman? What's your take on her?
Grant Morrison: I just wrote a 120-page book. Read the book. That's my take on Wonder Woman. [laughs] No, that's the start of my take on Wonder Woman. It's a pretty complex take and we've just started getting into it. It's quite exciting.
Do you have more Earth One stories in you?
Yeah, I'm already working on Volume 2. It's probably going to be a trilogy.
Are you making any big changes to her origin or character in the Earth One world?
Wonder Woman's been through a lot of different iterations since the 1940s. With the changes to her character, I'm kind of taking what I thought were the best and most interesting elements and distilled them into this one. We've made a few changes to the origin, mostly because the original origin was set during the second World War. She kind of went off to war and fell in love with the first man she saw. She went and fought the Nazis. These days we don't have Nazis to fight, so I thought she'd need a different kind of motivation. The whole idea was to take the basic story of Wonder Woman and give it a little more tension, drama, ambiguity, and the potential for danger.
One of the things I noticed in the book was how she sees herself compared to the other Amazons since she was made from clay? I don't really remember this being explored by other writers.
That was the thing that always bothered me about Wonder Woman's origin. It'd be pretty horrible for your parents to tell you that you were made out of clay and they kind of animated you. I think that would come as a shock to hear that. I wanted to do something a little different. Wonder Woman wields the Lasso of Truth so I made the theme of truth and lies a big thing in the book. It's really about her discovering the big lie, which is her mother made that story up. She's not made of clay. She's actually a genetic experiment by her mother and she contains traces of masculine DNA. That makes her very different—that's what has made her very different. She's never been allowed to know this. We've just tweaked these elements of the origin just to give Diana a little more conflict and to give the story a little more dynamic.
How do you see things like the Purple Healing Ray and Invisible Jet—advanced technology or more mystical in origin?
No, we're not using any mysticism. The gods don't live in Mt. Olympus. The gods are just abstract concepts. They have a certain meaning to the Amazons which is different from what we might understand. The things like the Invisible Jet and the Purple Ray are technology the Amazons developed in the three thousand years they've had to form a society. It's a different way to look at things. We decided the Purple Ray was equivalent to Wilhelm Reich's Orgone Energy. The Amazon's technology is based around this manipulation of Orgone. If readers of this interview go and check out Wilhelm Reich and Orgone, they'll see where the Purple Ray comes from.
Any comments on the lesbian and bondage concepts that some people will likely focus on?
Honestly, the original story made it clear these women had been living together on an island for three thousand years. I don't think when they gave up men, they gave up sex. It was always there. All we've done is mention it in the text. I've said it in a couple other interviews, I've read recently there's a huge percentage of young people in the west that identify as non-heterosexual. So I don't think that aspect of a Wonder Woman story is shocking anymore.
As for the bondage, it comes from the original creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston. He had this idea that Wonder Woman was superior to men. If we all agreed to this philosophy of loving submission, where we would submit to the will of women and be told what to do, it'd make a better world. Again, we took that aspect of the original story, which seems very different from all the other portrayals and made it part of the engine of this story. It's all about chains, rocks, leashes, truth and lies, and dominance and submission.
What is your favorite thing about working on this story?
Apart from getting to work with Yanick Paquette again, who's always brilliant, I really like the character of Wonder Woman's mother, Hippolyta. She's my favorite. She gets a huge scene in the opening. I guess because I'm getting ancient, but I really prefer her mother over everyone else in the book.
Take a look at the rest of the preview pages:
Wonder Woman Earth One is written by Grant Morrison with art by Yanick Paquette and color by Nathan Fairbairn. It's on sale April 6 in comic shops and everywhere else on April 12.