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The Prehistoric Animal in the Room

Jill Lepore has gotten a lot of attention and given many interviews for her new book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, but I don't think anyone has asked her the kind of questions that occurred to cartoonist, Wonder Woman enthusiast, and occultist Ron Regé, Jr. Here's a sample of their discussion:

Can you tell us anything about Marjorie Wilkes Huntley that might not have made it into your book? Her presence in this story is a bit mysterious, and seems almost secretly pivotal. She enters Marston's life at such an early stage, and remains involved with the family until the very end. She was an early suffragist, and visited Ethyl Byrne. Did she first introduce this idea of plural relationships? I was halfway through preparing this interview when I noticed your footnote that explained that Elizabeth Marston told her children that "everything was explained in a box of documents that were in a closet in Huntley's home" and that Huntley had later burned the box saying that "the world isn't ready for this, I have to destroy it." For all the "incense burning" feminist fans of Wonder Woman, what more can you tell us about her? I'd like to note that as a cartoonist, as well as a magical thinker, the fact that Huntley actually helped ink and letter the comics is pretty significant!

I am frustrated that I was able to discover so little about Huntley. She died alone, in a nursing home, and she had no children. So far as I can tell, she left no papers, and, as you point out, I did come across evidence that she may have destroyed them. I was thrilled to find some correspondence from her in Gloria Steinem’s papers at Smith. And there were other treasures, here and there. I was especially intrigued by a photograph that I found—it’s reproduced in the book--of all three women, sitting on a garden bench: Olive Byrne and Elizabeth Holloway Marston each hold an infant; Huntley holds a baby doll. For the record, I am unconvinced that Huntley actually burned her papers, and I would not be at all surprised if, one day, they turned up.

We also have Rob Kirby's review of Spankies, a collection of internet-addicted art school grad humor comics from Nick Sumida. Here's how Rob begins:

In the prologue to his debut book, Nick Sumida receives an online game called Snackies. He describes it to his roommate: "You play this narcissistic millennial with an art school degree and an addiction to outside validation." Various parts of the gameplay involve putting cookies over your eyes to avoid seeing a deluge of student loan bills, and experiencing a nervous breakdown in a café while thinking about death. Sumida apologizes that it's not multiplayer while his roommate remains unimpressed: "What a weirdly specific and boring game." Welcome to the Snackies universe.

In Sumida’s world it is imperative to hide your slightest flaws and insecurities from the world, lest you be made vulnerable. Your suspicion that the future might be a bleak, existential black hole may well be true, and pretending you have even a chance at a fulfilling relationship is a big fat cosmic joke – at your expense. But Snackies is no nihilist vision; the book is the work of a delightfully demented, wonderfully imaginative humorist and satirist.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. I think we missed this interview with Seth from the London Yodeller last week. He's having some year.

Alex Dueben talked to Aisha Franz for Comic Book Resources.

—News. A sedition investigation has been opened against the Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar. Three people were arrested for selling his books last week.

—Reviews & Commentary. Hillary Brown reviews Walter Scott's Wendy strips. That's some funny stuff.

Rob Clough is about halfway through a month-long look at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Zainab Akhtar looks at Darryl Seitchik's Missy.

Dominic Umile has what I believe is the first review I've seen of Richard McGuire's expanded Here, which I'm guessing may cause a bit of a stir upon release.

—Misc. I know it's harmless, but something about the fact that they've begun selling adult Underoos makes me sad.


2 Responses to The Prehistoric Animal in the Room

  1. John Sonnett says:

    “I can’t think of another book that is more deserving of a supplementary introductory essay, or at least inclusive of a reproduction of the source material”

    Am I to understand that the original six page strip is NOT included in the new McGuire book? Unfuckingbelievably stupid choice, if true.

  2. Al B says:

    Nick Sumida’s “Spankies”

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