here, and we'll pick up right where the red skies, walls of anti-matter and warnings from Pariah from the reality-bending Crisis on Infinite Earths had left us with the end of Diana's Silver Age and the start of her new life, as every ending is a beginning...
Wonder Woman's history had become a bit....involved by the 1980s. So much so, that DC gave George Perez the ability to start Diana's history over from the beginning following on the heals of his success with Marv Wolfman on the New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the time, John Byrne and Marv Wolfman were redefining Superman, and Frank Miller was getting a chance to explore Batman's origins. What was the best thing that this reboot brought to Wonder Woman? And the worst?
DAVE MARCHAND: Sad that Donna had to suffer so because of Diana's improved history, but the Perez work was just breathtaking, and he introduced so many characters into Wonder Woman's history as well. Do you have a favorite supporting character? Favorite villain?
The one-shot Elliot S. Maggin businessman/villain Maximus was LOTS of fun, too, and I really would've enjoyed seeing more done with him. The Priscilla Rich incarnation of the Cheetah (as conceived by William Moulton Marston) is a favorite, too.
DM: Thanks to your answers, I've learned a lot about Wonder Woman. What do you feel you have learned about Wonder Woman that you didn't know before you started work on this?
JW: I have a new appreciation for Dr. Marston's characterization and continuity in the original series. People who dismissed Steve Trevor as a "male Lois Lane" obviously never saw much of the character as depicted from 1942 to 1948. He was much more of an equal to Diana in these stories and actually saved HER a surprising number of times.
I'm also impressed that Marston was on top of the series' internal continuity, referencing developments from previous stories even when his editor messed things up by running those stories out of order. The famous 1948 Villainy, Inc. story where multiple old adversaries teamed up for the first time is typically attributed to Marston but it has several continuity gaffes that leave me convinced that he wasn't the author.
I also discovered that Marston devices like the Magic Sphere and Mental Radio were dropped from the series by the early 1950s, replaced by more modern but less colorful scientific instruments. It wasn't until the Schwartz era that they were folded back into the series.
JW: My favorite issue of the Diana Prince run is Wonder Woman V1 #202, which is an utter delight in every respect, including the detail that Diana was able to turn Catwoman from an enemy into an ally. The chauvinistic Cavalier was a nice choice in the Len Wein launch of the mid-1970s Trials saga. And both John Byrne and Phil Jimenez did great stuff with Darkseid. But Brian K. Vaughn's more recent use of Clayface in Wonder Woman V2 #160-161 was simply inspired! Who better to fight a heroine created from a clay statue?
JW: I was first aware of it and the Batman book from the 1976 house ads. I discovered the Batman and Superman volumes at a local library in the late 1970s and LOVED them. The library didn't have Wonder Woman, though, so I was thrilled when I ran across it at a flea market in the early 1980s. Consequently, it was the last of the three Fleisher books that I read but the first I owned. Like the other books in the series, I loved the level of information on all these old stories and still consider the books to be some of the most invaluable resources on DC's Big Three.
DM: Great to know that you improved on the work already done, as well as upgrading it! I know more encyclopedia volumes covering Flash and Green Lantern were planned back in the 1970s, but they never happened, and Mike Fleisher went on to have great writer runs on comics like Jonah Hex and Warlord. I hope to see more than DC's current trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman covered in encyclopedia form this time around, hopefully spreading the knowledge with at least a Justice League of America volume. Wonder Woman has recently become known for her "treatment" of former Justice League coordinator-turned-traitor, Maxwell Lord, but why was this not so shocking?
JW: Weird thing about Maxwell Lord's death. Wonder Woman killed Triton in EXACTLY the same way in Wonder Woman V2 #163 and no one batted an eye.
DM: Would J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5 creator and a regular writer for Wonder Woman, sharing the book with Gail Simone for issue #600, with covers by George Perez, Adam Hughes and Don Kramer - an issue that is almost a history lesson in Wonder Woman itself!) find YOUR Wonder Woman Encyclopedia useful?
JW: Well, I'd like to think that he--or anyone reading the book--would find this an excellent resource on Wonder Woman and her world. Certainly, I think many of the entries Phil and I wrote are more thorough and accurate than anything found on the web.
JW: I have an article of Claw the Unconquered in the current ALTER EGO #92 and a Silver/Bronze Age history of Wildcat in this month's BACK ISSUE #40. A few months down the road, my coverage of DC's weird westerns of the 1970s will be in BACK ISSUE #42.
DM: John, thank you for your time and your incredible research on Wonder Woman. We all look forward to your upcoming projects!