secret life of a journal comic

anonymous asked:

Do you know what Dick's major in college was before he dropped out?

Dick was majoring in business. He was in college for a good 100+ issues (Detective Comics #390 - #495, basically the entire 70′s) before he randomly stopped attending around New Teen Titans #1 in 1980.

Throughout the time he’s in college, it’s mostly emphasized that he works for the school paper. As a detective, you can see why Dick would have an interest in journalism.

(Detective Comics #390)

(Detective Comics #493)

Right before Dick stops attending college, we find out he’s actually failing his business classes.

(Detective Comics #495)

Dick is great at business, but he always skips class to be Robin. Dick is given an opportunity to pass, but…

He can’t focus. Dick is too preoccupied with his life as Robin to busy himself with college classes. He ends up losing that opportunity to make up his grade and flunks/drops out. This was vaguely ‘retconned’ in the 1987 Secret Origins #13 in how it was approached.

I think this is an inaccurate depiction of Bruce during Dick’s college years. Bruce never “forced” Dick to go to college. [It was Dick’s choice.] The late 80′s are largely responsible for darkening Bruce, but the entire time Dick was at college, Bruce gave Dick his independence and didn’t seem overbearing at all.

10

I’m going to be giving a lecture with Maja D’Aoust about the esoteric aspects of Wonder Woman this Thursday, April 2 at Otherwild in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

I first read Les Daniels’ The Complete History of Wonder Woman around 2011, while I was putting together The Cartoon Utopia. I noticed that William Moulton Marston had led a kind of kind of unusual life. He  had children with 2 women, and had invented the lie detector. Pretty interesting stuff. I’d never looked too close at Wonder Woman’s origin story before. It looked strange and exciting, and I had been toying with the idea of doing an adaptation of some old comic, as an exercise.

A few years later in 2014, I ended up making my comic DIANA. All the while, I wondered if there was anything more to Marston’s story. It seemed like something a journalist or historian outside of the comics world might turn into an article, or book, if they looked into it.

So a little while after my comic comes out, I am amazed to come across a New Yorker article about the Secret History of Wonder Woman! A harvard historian who writes for the magazine had written a book about William Moulton Marston! For once in my life, I let my little brain go & write my friend Dan at The Comics Journal to see if he can get me a review copy! He does, and I get to interview her!

So, I’m reading this great book, like a month or two before anyone else, and I start looking over 900 pages of the WW comics that Martson &  HG Peter did together before Marston’s death in 1947. It becomes really evident to me that there are aspects of western esotericism in these comics. I kind of try to shrug it off, because of course I’d be looking for such stuff. The original Wonder Woman comics are an early pop psychology mix, based on a heroic & utopian feminist agenda. She is a constant optimist, a blatant mouthpiece for the power of positive thinking. Although many superheroes display aspects of paranormal abilities, none approach these powers like WW does.

Wonder Woman’s activities in the psychic realm - her telepathy, mind control, clairvoyance & telekinesis all follow theosophical ideas. If you’ve ever read a new age book about ESP, you’ll notice right away that WW goes about doing it right. She is constantly having adventures on different layers of the astral plane, she brings herself and others there through trances, in sleep or while in dreams. She speaks of thoughts having physical form, and people appear in their imagined ideal forms on the astral plane.

So, in reading the details about Marston’s unusual life, I wondered what sort of esoteric things he may specifically been aware of, or had in mind when making this comic book character. His wife had Elizabeth had studied Greek at Mount Holyoke. Both herself and Olive Byrne, the mother of Marston’s other children, had taken part in providing ideas for Wonder Woman. As well as these two women, Jill Lepore’s book reveals a third woman who also lived in the Marston home named Marjorie Wilkes Hundley. Hundley was an unmarried, independent woman who came and went over the years and lived in their attic with her “incense & tarot cards”.

Marston first met Huntley in 1919 at an army base during WW1. She returned to live in Boston with him and his young wife, Elizabeth. This was years before Marston had a family with both Elizabeth & Olive Byrne. Huntley was also present at the mysterious “Aquarian meetings” that took place in 1924-25 at the home of Marston’s aunt Carolyn. It was here that Olive, Elizabeth, and William Marston first entered into some sort of cult of female power, which lay the groundwork for how they would live their secretly polygamous life. Lepore refers to a 95 page manuscript she found in the DC archives detailing one of the meetings. Carolyn Marston Keatley was interested in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, which is hardly a sex manual for a cult of feminine power. We don’t know anything else about what spiritual ideas may have influenced these people. Huntley remained part of the family for decades after Martson’s death. He died in 1947. Elizabeth & Olive raised their children together, remained a family, and lived into their 80’s.

Marston’s children recall playing in closet in Huntley’s Rhode Island home that contained “all of their spiritual stuff” Elizabeth Marston told her children that Huntley was in possession of a box of documents that would “explain everything”. Huntley claimed to have burned this box of documents, claiming that “the world wasn’t ready for what it contained”

I had so many questions after reading Lepore’s book. I was excited to interview her, and ask about some these things I was curious about. I was totally naive, and had no clue that her book was going to be the such a sensation in the press. She was on Fresh Air & The Colbert Report the same week I interviewed her, and there were features in many newspapers about the book. Her answers to reporters’ questions were mostly always the same, and on message - summarizing her book. My offbeat queries about the cult of feminine power at the center of her story seemed rude and distracting in context. She was polite in answering my questions, but didn’t offer much more insight. She did however note that she doesn’t believe that this supposed box of documents has actually been destroyed!

I told my friend Maja about my ideas regarding Wonder Woman, and we’d been hoping to write an article about it sometime soon, when we suddenly got the opportunity to give a talk to the Golden Dome mystery school. If I felt that this story was simply a curiosity, that it was just interesting that there are some new-agey aspects to the original Wonder Woman, I wouldn’t really be bothering with all this. It feels important somehow. There’s been this intensely patriotic character, this total witch of an archetype standing front and center, yet somehow totally invisible in our popular culture for 75 years. Do you “like” Wonder Woman? Have you ever known a woman who was “into” her? Why exactly has she persevered for so long, when she doesn’t seem to have much of a story going for her? Any child can tell you the origin story of Batman or Superman, but not Wonder Woman, even though she’s been around just as long. Our ultraviolent modern pop culture has finally got hold of her, too. They’ve done away with her “clay birth” and made her the daughter of Zeus. She carries large swords and murders people. This isn’t Wonder Woman. I want more people to know about how and why she was originally created, in the hopes that we might one day actually have a strong & spiritual female archetype in our popular culture. There’s more to this story, and I want to get the conversation started.