Five Questions with…
Q&A with comic greats regarding Wonder Woman

Christie Marston

So, not only do we have five questions with “Wonder Woman’s brother,” Pete Marston, we also have five questions with “Wonder Woman’s niece,” Christie (Pete’s daughter). Also helping me with these questions were Andrew D. and Carrick E — thanks fellas!

1. How much have you followed the character of Wonder Woman in your life, and could you explain whether she means as much to you as she does to your father?

I didn’t ‘follow the character’ as I think you intend the question.  She’s just always been part of my life.  My living room walls always had a couple of Harry Peters’ more amusing WW drawings mixed in with Parrish and whatever else caught my fancy, so she was always a presence in my home as well.

Does she mean as much to me as to my father? Oh, absolutely!  Maybe even more!  WW is – very simply – family.  Had you known my grandmother…

2. The Wonder Woman Network website is such a labor of love for the character. Tell us how it came to be, why, and anything else you’d like to share about it.

The website came into being because Dad had collected so many pieces of WW memorabilia that he had to build a museum in his house just to hold [ok, almost hold… it won’t ALL fit!] the goodies.  That lead to cataloging, which then lead to him wanting to share with other WW fans.   

After several years working on setting up the museum and building the site, the woman who was handling it returned to her native country. Dad then asked me to polish and publish the site.  I jumped right in.  When I stepped in, the site was pretty much complete, and included hundreds of pictures – but lacked any real info about the pieces [ok, there’s problem #1].  It was built in a StoresOnLine domain, using their software [problem #2… and #3]. 

We quickly acquired a new domain and hosting with a solid company, and I set about recreating the WW family museum site.  But in the course of researching, I… well… sorta, kinda got to thinking that there might be a better purpose for Dad’s site than just sharing the memorabilia pics.

The more I delved into Wonder Woman’s online community, the more I wished that there was a central point for all of the random points and erratically intersecting lines.  Dad agreed wholeheartedly.  Thus began Wonder Woman Network – basically just a hub that will enable people to find their way more easily around WW’s global community [i.e., what I was looking for to begin with!]. 

We have [or will have!] a combination of local content [family museum, some family perspective, etc] and linked content [collectors, comic history, wardrobe evolution, news, forums], with the links strongly presented to be sure people check ‘em out.  We’ll help point people towards anything of interest that appears in WW’s world; to both individual sites [collectors, writers, artists et al] and community sites [such as CBR].  There are excellent sites out there in the world – people just need to be able to find them!

And, to be very clear – wonderwomannetwork.com is totally accessible now, but it is also totally a work in progress.  I spend my days between building pages and discovering new people, places and things to be included [oh yeah, and researching the technical end of how to make the site work]. 

Minor inconvenience is that I have zero experience with website building, but, hey! – a new challenge is always fun!

Since this is the first time we’ve really gone ‘public’, I am hoping that all of WW’s dedicated friends in CBR will check it out and voice their opinions as to what is good, bad, indifferent, or – very important – just plain missing.

What are your opinion(s) of the “Wonder Woman” eras which followed your famous grandfather?  Which do you think lived up to the standard set by {{{Charles… um, ya mean W.M.M.?… or Charles Moulton?}}} Marston?  Are there any that you think failed to do so?

Ah – here I will defer to people with far more detailed knowledge than I possess!  I have ‘heard’ so many heated debates that I clearly understand that WW means different things to different people.  What fails for some succeeds for others.  Always keep in mind that the real reason behind the variations is DC/Warner doing their damnedest to keep her alive.  I think they have succeeded BECAUSE of all of the variations.  Some were good, some dreadful, but… the bottom line is – she’s still kicking!

I do, however, have a very fixed notion of who and why WW is – no matter how many different variations have emerged.  WW was created based on personal ethics; these same ethics have, naturally, been passed along within the family.  These are not variables, not something that can change with the passing of time or change of regime; they are moral standards.  Compassion, tolerance, love, strong morals… and the willingness to jump in and do what needs doing when somebody is getting unfairly trounced!

Okay, well maybe I do need to add a quick comment about the variations in general [mildly opinionated? me? nahhh]:

Bad: WW portrayed with a face contorted by hate, looking ready to stomp anything that moves just because she is so obviously pissed off at the world and life in general – and has no clue how to handle it in any other way.

Good: Gail Simone writing WW.  The following is quoted from “Five Wonder Questions with Gail Simone” in CBR; this is Gail’s response to Antony Coukos’ pertinent moral question:

Antony:  “Wonder Woman has long been respected as a revolutionary who champions the struggle for justice, equality    and the empowerment of women. As her writer, you have control over that moral compass. To what extent do you feel a responsibility to use the character to address inequities in today’s society?”

Gail:  “…you can’t help but imagine how Wonder Woman would feel about the state of eternal war as practiced by the nations of our planet and warned about by Orwell. I think she’d have little patience for it. In the latest issue, she has a moment of clarity where she realizes she’s been behaving exactly like the world leaders she’s condemned. I think that’s a key moment, and a moment only Wonder Woman, of all superheroes, could truly pull off. There’s a reason why this issue starts with her punching an enemy blindly and thoughtlessly, and ends with her holding out the hand of truce, in other words.

It’s because she’s Wonder Woman, and she learns from her mistakes. That’s her best message, right there, possibly.”

Now, that puts WW back in balance.  Understanding the balance required to be strong without being cruel is not always easy – and in today’s frenetic world it just seems to get more complicated.  Stepping back to take a fresh look at the big picture is perfectly in character.  [and – quick aside – wouldn’t it be great to have that grasp of character behind a movie or TV series script? hmmm…]     

4. If your grandfather created Wonder Woman today, how would she be different?

Her character would not be different.  Sure, she’d have a different set of work clothes, and the ‘bad guys’ in our world have different names in 2009 than they did in 1941, but… WW would be working her ass off to effect peace and harmony in the world to this day, I’m sure.  She is who she is.

5. How do feel about what has been done to Wonder Woman in recent years, mainly some of the controversial things? Do you believe these things are making the character evolve or going further away from the purpose of the character of a superhero who uses love and compassion to the fight the forces of evil rather than being the head {{{ing dele?}}} chopping “badass” warrior many want or view her as?

Controversy, ugh… a collision of very different mind sets, and equally strongly held opinions.  Debate is always good [especially if you switch sides mid-debate so that each faction must present the entire picture as they see it…] but there are times when folks unwittingly get caught up into the I’m-right-you’re-stupid/arms-folded-across-the-chest/heels-dug-in/red-in-the-face kind of thing that rarely leads to any real resolution.

I probably made it clear in the last two responses that I feel pretty strongly about WW’s ethics.  They are not something that can be altered without losing the essence of the person [real or scripted].  I understand evolution in the instance of a character evolving their ethical/moral stance, but – going backwards on ethics is DE-evolution.

I know that violence sells.  I see the huge following that the video game type of hero and action gathers.  I understand the need to follow the market to stay in the game.  But… there must be a compromise… I’m not a writer, so… let’s see… how about letting the bad guys do all that stuff, and letting WW kick their asses with a wicked grin on her face instead of a snarl? Does that cover the blood and viciousness quotient? or, how about if some of WW’s old Paradise Island gang do the bloodlust stuff?  Not especially in keeping with the whole Paradise Island line of thought, but… at least you don’t waste the main character that way!  or, if it’s an absolute must that WW herself be the one of poor character, can’t she just be a wee bit psychotic and flip-flop between her real self and her mindless aggro warrior mode?? 

I’m sure that there must be some acceptable solution that does not include throwing away the very values that WW fights to uphold.

While I have the floor, I’d like to add a personal thought.  I discovered CBR by following Carol Strickland from Facebook to Gail Simone’s first “Wonder of Wonders” column. And I must say that the CBR community has impressed me.  What a great melding of minds!  I love seeing the interaction between so many diverse and interesting personalities.  WW couldn’t have better friends. 

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