Having already guided the adventures of Batman and Superman, Scottish writer Grant Morrison is planning to leave the world of monthly super hero comics. But he can’t leave DC’s Trinity incomplete! Before saying goodbye to the DC Universe, Morrison has one more volume in him, “The Trial of Diana Prince”, starring comics’ biggest female name, Wonder Woman.
And Morrison is taking the “Trial” literally. As the comic writer explains, “I thought: that’s Wonder Woman’s condition. She’s always on trial. It’s like, why isn’t she good enough, why doesn’t [the comic] sell enough, why isn’t she representative of this or this or this? And so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to just base the story on an actual trial – have the Amazons put her on trial, and tell the origins story via that.'”
He also plans to pay tribute to Wonder Woman’s original creator William Moulton Marston, who in recent times has come to take on some notoriety. “William Moulton Marston was basically a kind of proponent of free love. So he and his wife had a lover called Olive Byrne, an 18-year-old, and Olive was the physical model for Wonder Woman. They created the character because they felt Superman represented a kind of blood-curdling masculinity. They wanted to introduce somebody more feminine.”
He also incorporated bondage aspects into the original Wonder Woman comics. “He had this idea that the world would be better if men would just submit to women’s complete instruction. But he took it all the way – not just submit to instruction but get collars on, and get down on all fours, and just admit that’s where you belong, guys. So a lot of the Wonder Woman stories had this thread through them, this idea of bondage. But Marston called it ‘loving submission’.” Morrison specifically referenced on story in which, Wonder Woman rescues some girls who have been enslaved by a Nazi: “The slave girls don’t know what to do. Even though they’ve been rescued, they kind of 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 the resolution to the story.”
Morrison seems sincere in his desire to depict a variety of female relationships. He has renamed Wonder Woman’s best friend Etta Candy as “Beth Candy” named after the pop singer Beth Ditto. “She’s major and she’s Wonder Woman’s pal. I wanted to get in as many relationships between women as possible – there’s Wonder Woman and her teacher, Wonder Woman and her mother, Wonder Woman and the girl she kind of fancies at school. I wanted lots of different female relationships to show that there’s not just one type of woman and she’s not representative of all women.”
But men are represented, in the form of longtime love interest Steve Trevor, who speaks on behalf of humanity at the titular trial. “Steve takes the stand and speaks for men about women – he’s the first man allowed on this island and he goes, ‘OK, here’s what we think.’ Also, without giving too much away, this let me explore the differences between what a trial convened by society of enlightened utopian women would be – as opposed to what we think of as a trial.”
Morrison acknowledges that his approach could rankle long-time fans, but cautions “It’s a 120-page book – if they were seeing it in pieces, they would get really mad at me. It’s quite provocative. But if you read all 120 pages, it’s totally self-contained, it makes sense. So I’m hoping people will respond to it as a complete piece.”
Morrison has a pretty solid track record, but Wonder Woman has baffled many writers in the past. I’ll certainly give his interpretation a shot, though.
What do you think? Is Morrison the right man for the job? Is this the right swan song for this prolific creator? Comment below!