Archive for December 4, 2017

I’m usually a pretty kind-hearted, live and let live kind of guy, but I have to admit I am starting to get fed up, so at the risk of sounding like a creative curmudgeon I have to speak up. I was watching some DVRed episodes of Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics. I am to put it mildly a comic fan. I probably haven’t gone so far as to have hit geek status, but I like comics a lot. The show which can be seen on AMC is quite good and over all I really enjoy it, but this morning I was watching the background story on Wonder Woman. Great character, interesting stories, etc. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I heard it was excellent. That wasn’t what bothered me. The background on the creation of the character was a little weird to put it mildly, but that’s history and it is what it is. What bothered me was how so many of the people speaking about the story, saluted it as being a wonderful thing.

The character was created by a psychologist named William Marston. He was also a college professor and inventor of an early version of the lie detector. So far sounds like an interesting character. Well he was happily married, and started having an affair with one of his students/proteges and the plot thickens. His mistress is also his dominatrix. He tells his wife about the affair and they decide the mistress should move in. He has children by both of them as they all live together in the same house. All of this was occurring in the 1930s. I find all that very problematic, but again it is history, it’s what happened, and again its in the past. It appears that throughout the course of the early comics, Marston’s “peculiarities” weave their way into the stories, but by today’s standards, it’s pretty subtle. Now here’s what I don’t get. The modern day commentators were, for the most, part acting like Marston’s arrangement was a beautiful love story and wanted to laud everything he was doing as wonderful? I’m still scratching my head here. I get that he created a character that was very empowering to women and that’s a good thing. I just can’t conceive that people could look at his personal life and not have a few red flags go off.

Like can you be a feminist icon and treat women like he treated his wife? I can’t see how.  How did we fall to the place where people can look at this story and see it as anything other than a mess? How can this guy be held up as any kind of example, other than the example of what not to do? I just plain don’t get it. Isaiah 5:20 says “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Seems to me we have to do a better job finding examples. Marston may have created a good character, and he did, but we have to be careful.  Too often creatives get a pass because they’re talented, but talent is not enough to make someone an example to be followed. Creating a good character does not make up for bad character on the part of the artist and so ends my rant.