In January, writer Marc Andreyko is launching the digital-first series Wonder Woman '77, bringing to comics the characters and concepts from the '70s Wonder Woman television show starring Lynda Carter.
And if the writer has his way, Lynda Carter Wonder Woman will meet Adam West Batman, as the writer's new series crosses over with DC's successful Batman '66 series.
Newsarama talked to Andreyko to find out more about his plans for Wonder Woman '77, why feathered hair and bell bottoms play a role, and why Lynda Carter made such an impact on the history of Wonder Woman.
Newsarama: Marc, have you heard from a lot of people that the Wonder Woman TV show was their first exposure to the Wonder Woman character?
Marc Andreyko: Oh yeah, yeah. A lot of people. After it was announced at New York Comic Con, it got about 29,000 retweets in, like, three hours. We were trending for a bit.
Nrama: I had a Wonder Woman costume as a kid because of that TV show.
Andreyko: As I said to a few people, I'm surprised I don't have brain damage — or maybe I do — because I spun around as a child so many times, hoping to change clothes.
Nrama: What do you think it was about that show that made it work so well, and resonate with so many families at the time?
Andreyko: I think it can be summed up in two words: Lynda Carter. What was great about Lynda's performance and why it's such an iconic performance of an iconic character is, people don't remember that, in the '70s, there wasn't a lot of superhero stuff in the media. It wasn't like it is now, when the studios are doing multiple $400 million budget movies about these superheroes. There was the Hulk TV show, which actually came after Wonder Woman, there was the Wonder Woman TV show, there was the Batman Adam West show, and there were some cartoons.
And you know, Wonder Woman was the first show that really paid respect to the tone of the character and did it seriously, but with a sense of fun. It wasn't dark. It wasn't pretentious.
Lynda's portrayal was an elegant, classy, maternal woman who really made you want to be a better person. There was just something to pure and respectful about her performance.
She could have been playing Shakespeare. She treated this as a role she took seriously. It was never looked down upon like she was slumming in putting on a superhero costume. And that stuff actually resonates, whether you're a girl who doesn't have a lot of role models, or whether you're a little kid who likes superheroes — you get that from her performance. That's why that performance, going on rapidly approaching 40 years later, is still such a vibrant, vibrant memory in the canon of superheroes.
Nrama: As you researched for the series, did you have to go back and re-watch all the shows?
Andreyko: When I first got the gig, I did six or seven different plots on a pitch document without going back to the show. And then after of them got through, I went back and watched the entire series — and the ill-fated Cathy Lee Crosby pilot movie.
Nrama: We've seen Batman '66, which is based on the Batman show. Is this the same kind of tone?
Andreyko: Yeah, absolutely — it was actually inspired by all the great work that Jeff Parker is doing and all his collaborators on Batman '66.
A little over a year ago, I had lunch with Hank Kanalz, who was an executive big-wig at DC Digital, and I said, "Hey! You've been having all this success with Batman '66. When are we going to do Wonder Woman '77 with Lynda Carter?
He just kind of looked at me with an arched eyebrow, and then many months later, I got an email from Jim Chadwick saying, "Hey, you want to do Wonder Woman '77?" I was like, is the sky blue? Of course! Nobody can do it except me!
Nrama: For people who either didn't see the show or don't remember, can you give us an idea of who this Wonder Woman is? What's she like?
Andreyko: This Wonder Woman is an Amazon princess. She goes under her civilian name by Diana Prince, and she's come to the United States.
It is 1977 and she, under her civilian identity, works for the government — a government agency under the command of Steve Trevor.
And hilarity ensues.
Nrama: You said it's 1977. So we're going to see stories through that lens, of the '70s?
Andreyko: It's definitely in the '70s.
There's lots of feathered hair, and bell bottoms, and corduroy jumpsuits and neck kerchiefs and lava lamps.
The first arc takes place at a famous New York disco called Studio 52.
Nrama: Ah… clever! And we'll see Lynda Carter drawn as Wonder Woman? And the other actors?
Andreyko: Yep, Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman are going to be Lyle Waggoner and Lynda Carter. But other than that, there weren't a lot of recurring characters.
But those two, we have the rights to use them. That doesn't mean other characters in the show won't appear. But like Batman '66, they might not look like they did on the TV show.
Nrama: I assume this opens the door to all kinds of stories that go beyond the TV show.
Andreyko: Yeah. The thing about comics is, it takes just as much time to draw Wonder Woman riding a horse as it does to have Wonder Woman fighting an invading alien horde. We're able to do stuff in canon that they just don't have the budget to do on a weekly television show.
Nrama: And plenty of characters and settings that never showed up on the TV show?
Andreyko: Absolutely. We're already using villains from the comic book canon that never appeared on the show. So you're going to get to see what certain villains would have looked like, had they appeared in the 1970's. There will be some familiar faces.
And Jeff Parker and I really want to do, if this book goes well, we really want to do a Batman '66/Wonder Woman '77 crossover. I have some ideas that I bounced off Jeff. Once we see if this comic takes off, hopefully that will be something that we'll be able to get off the ground.
Nrama: Wouldn't it be cool if she could meet Christopher Reeve Superman?
Andreyko: Well, they're only a year apart. So…
Nrama: It sounds like you're having fun doing this series.
Andreyko: I am! And if readers like it half as much as I'm enjoying doing it, I'll be in a good place. It's a real privilege and an honor to get to play with these characters that shaped so many people's lives.