Launched earlier this year, the digital-first series Wonder Woman '77 has given new life to characters and concepts from the '70s Wonder Woman TV show starring Lynda Carter. Written by Marc Andreyko, the series even got an endorsement from Carter herself.
Set among the craziness of the '70s while also staying true to the serious events and issues of the Cold War era, Wonder Woman '77 is serialized digitally on a twice-monthly basis, with single issues released in print soon after. The first trade paperback collection was released earlier this month.
Although currently on a hiatus, the series resumes in August with new digital installments and in September the print issue Wonder Woman '77 Special #4. That issue features new stories by Andreyko and other writers, including Amy Chu, Trina Robins and Amanda Deibert. Artists on the Special include Tom Derenick, Dario Brizuela, Tess Fowler and Christian Duce.
Newsarama talked with Andreyko to learn more about the series, how Wonder Woman '77 Special #4 will follow up one of the show's episodes, and what happened when Andreyko met Lynda Carter backstage at one of her concerts.
Newsarama: Marc, the whole concept of this series seems very fun, but in a different way — it's not humor, but it has this element of pure enjoyment about it.
Marc Andreyko: Oh yeah, absolutely. It's fun without being the sort of reductive version of fun. Fun doesn't mean simple or there's no meat on the bones.
I'm really trying to capture the feel of the TV show. And there was a purity and a positivity to it.
And we're seeing this throughout the business, in both movies and TV and comics — we're kind of ebbing away from cynicism. I don't know if you read DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that just came out. It was saying, "We've been there; we've done that. Let's find out why heroes are heroes and not what's wrong with them."
And there's something similar in Lynda Carter Wonder Woman — she's a hero, but that doesn't mean she's a square or uninteresting.
And of course it's fun because it's the '70s. It's corduroy, bell-bottom pant suits, neck kerchiefs, bad hair, and disco music. What's not to like?
Nrama: You talked about how there is substance there. And I've noticed that you've incorporated actual events from the '70s.
Andreyko: Yes, the time period is very important to it, with what was going on with feminism, the equal rights amendment and women, and women's roles. It was such a rich, rich period.
And I didn't want it to be in the '70s just for the "Look! There's a lava lamp!" or "Look, there's a disco ball!" You know? I wanted it to be in the '70s like the great Ang Lee movie called The Ice Storm that takes place in the '70s. And it's the '70s the way they really looked, not the '70s like That '70s Show, which was done for comedic effect.
Nrama: In the first collection, for people who didn't read any of the individual issues, what villains show up?
Andreyko: We have Silver Swan — one of the few things I asked if we could do when pitching the book was, can we make sure we can use villains from the comic book as if they would have appeared on a TV show? Because the TV show was fairly limited in its scope, on what it could do budgetarily, as far as villains. And Wonder Woman does have such an under-appreciated and underused rogue's gallery.
And some of them just slid right over into '70s interpretation. I mean, Silver Swan is a singer, the Cheetah is an archaeologist. So it just felt very cool to be able to slide those characters into the world of the Lynda Carter '70s Wonder Woman.
Nrama: You've included the TV show cast but added other characters. Can you talk about who you surrounded her with in the comic book?
Andreyko: The only real consistent characters on the TV show, week after week, were Steve Trevor, Diana and IRA, the talking computer, which in best '70s fashion is the type of computer that was the size of a house — with the spinning tape decks on the front of it and lots of lights.
So we got to play with adding all sorts of other characters, fleshing out that world in the way a TV show would — you have your regular cast, but every week, you're casting mostly new characters around your three or four main ones.
Nrama: Along with the collection, there's also another print Special coming out — the fourth in the series. Does that collect the online issues?
Andreyko: Yeah, the Wonder Woman '77 stuff is digital first, and then it's collected into 80-page print specials. And then each two specials are collected into a trade. And the third special just came out a few months ago. And the fourth one is coming out in September, after running during the month of August in digital.
It's multiple stories. I'm writing the first story, and there are a couple other writers working on other Wonder Woman shorts. The artist on mine is Tom Derinick, who's doing crazy beautiful work.
My story is the first Wonder Woman '77 comic book story that is a direct sequel to an episode of the TV show.
Nrama: Which episode?
Andreyko: It's a sequel to the episode called "Gault's Brain." It was John Carradine. He dies and his brain is kept alive in a jar, and he has telekinesis. And he's trying to kidnap an Olympic athlete to steal his body and put his brain in it.
Nrama: That's an awesome premise.
Andreyko: That was the episode of the TV show. And at the end of the episode, Gault and his cronies escape.
So this comic book story is, where are they after that?
The story is titled obtusely as "The Revenge of Gault's Brain."
Nrama: The reception of this comic book has been very positive. Were you at all surprised by it? Or did you suspect this would get an enthusiastic audience?
Andreyko: I knew there would be eyes on it, because everyone loves Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman. My biggest concern was doing justice to her legacy and being faithful to the sort of consistency of character that was there.
So I knew people would be looking at it. I hoped I didn't drop the ball. And I hoped that people liked it.
And luckily, I've gotten to work with great editors and great artists throughout this whole series, and our goal, for all of us, has always been to do the best version of Lynda's story in print as we could. And thus far, knock wood, it seems to be working.
Nrama: Have you heard anything from Lynda Carter about the comic book? Or anyone from the TV show?
Andreyko: Yeah, last year when the book had just come out — Lynda's a singer, and she does a six-week tour every year in the spring. She starts in Los Angeles in March and ends in Washington, D.C., I think in April.
And so I got a bunch of the editors and artists — we all went to see her at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. And I sent a note backstage, not knowing what to expect. And then she gave us a shout-out from stage, talked about the comic book and all that.
And then afterwards, we got to meet her in her dressing room, and she was…. as lovely and beautiful and nice and sweet as you think she is, you're underselling it.
She basically should have been delivered on a beam of sunshine by Sandro Botticelli.
Just everything I wanted and more. She was so sweet and so supportive of the comic book. She grabbed my hand and said, "Thank you for doing this." I literally had tears in my eyes. I was like, "No, thank you for letting us do this."
You know, I told her when I was six years old, I got a nosebleed from spinning around so much trying to change my clothes.
So she's lovely. And I know people who've seen her on tour this year and brought copies of the comic book, and she signed them and talked about how much she liked it. She also did a thing on the Today show last year and mentioned the comic book as well.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Wonder Woman '77 — or anything else you're working on, Marc?
Andreyko: I'm working on a bunch of stuff. But it's all stuff that I can't talk about. And I hate that sort of vague talking from comic book people, like saying, "Guess what! i have something great coming out! I'll tell you in a few weeks!" But I literally can't. But there are some really, really cool stuff that will be announced in the next couple of months.