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Grabbing It All

Hard to say much about the major cultural news of yesterday. But there are comics to be discussed, so off we go.

Tim Hanley is back with us for a review of the long-awaited Wonder Woman graphic novel written by Grant Morrison. Here's a bit:

Marston was a psychologist who believed that women were superior to men and would soon take over the world, and he created Wonder Woman so that young readers, especially boys, could get used to the idea of powerful women and prepare to submit to the loving authority of the coming matriarchy. He and Peter used bondage as the central metaphor for his theories. There was a definite aspect of kinky fetishism therein, but the metaphor largely holds. Among the Amazons, with women in charge, bondage was fun and pleasant for all involved, but when men were in charge, whether it was Hercules, Axis soldiers, or Dr. Psycho, bondage was unpleasant and often rendered women powerless. Morrison was inspired by this unconventional approach, and has been talking about bondage and sexuality in the original Wonder Woman comics in nearly every interview in which he’s discussed Wonder Woman: Earth One over the past several years.

Morrison and Paquette continue their critique of patriarchal society when Wonder Woman first arrives in the outside world. She’s appalled by everything about modern society, no more so than when she sees elderly women in the palliative care ward of a hospital and exclaims, “Our sisters, dying? Their lives, their wisdom — lost forever, unrecorded? What world is this where women perish alone… afraid…” It’s a powerful scene, and the military hounding her and clearly having designs on the mysteries of Amazonia further underscores the critique of our society.

The book delves into the utopian side of Marston’s beliefs as well with the advanced matriarchal society of the Amazons. Their home is beautifully illustrated by Paquette, a dazzling city of unique architecture and advanced technology that marries the classical and the futuristic wonderfully. They live in peace there, jousting on kangas and riding flying motorcycles for fun with no disease or death because of their purple healing ray, an invention of Marston and Peter. Without men to get in their way, the Amazons have created a paradise.

Elsewhere:

The Paris Review has Matthew Thurber's amazing comic take on his surname, excerpted from Kramers Ergot 9. The great Joe McCulloch will bring us a review of KE9 soon enough.

Here's a review of Mary Wept Over the Feet Of Jesus over at Boing Boing.

I recently just stumbled over a pretty rich web site for the underground culture chronicler Clay Geerdes, best known to comics readers for his early coverage and publishing of underground comics and mini comics.

And finally, here's Sophie Goldstein interviewed at Inkstuds.


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