While scouting around for pictures of DC women to celebrate Bill Sienkiewicz’s birthday yesterday, I found a portrait he had done of Wonder Woman in bondage. The notes say it was for a book that he and Frank Miller pitched to DC which would be a modern look at the character’s Golden Age bondage subtext. I wasn’t aware of this project before. It’s interesting that the pitch sounds much like what Grant Morrison has alluded to when he’s expressed interest in writing Wonder Woman (or perhaps actually pitched it)
The basics of Wonder Woman come from William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who created the lie detector, of all things. His idea was that a utopia would be achieved if men were placed in subjugation to women. So, Wonder Woman is a character where you imagine this very strange mélange of girl power, bondage, and a slightly disturbed sexuality. There is this bondage element; these extremely weird dark elements of Wonder Woman haven’t been adequately dealt with. Wonder Woman remains a really bizarre, untouchable character. She should represent women in the same way Superman represents men.
Certainly the bondage elements and idea of “loving submission” are fascinating. And I’m a proponent of Morrison taking the book on. But this piece by Sienkiewicz troubled me. Take a look and see what you think.
I’m not sure of what the dialogue is supposed to be. She’s referring to Elektra so I’m not sure if that would be part of the pitch (Marvel crossover?) or just the creators making reference to their other female superhero team-up. While I’ve seen all the Wonder Woman bondage panels from Marston’s run (and the many covers post-Martson) this one felt darker to me. Perhaps it is the head is restrained as well?
Of course there is also my concern with how Miller has written Wonder Woman before. Granted those stories were not in continuity but still it’s hard to erase his vision of Wonder Woman storming through the streets saying “out of the way sperm bank” and feel a bit nervous.
Who would you pick, Miller or Morrison, to “explore” her past? Or would you pick another writer?