About this project
UPDATE 11/29: Although I can't edit the reward listing because people have already signed up, the $10 reward level will now feature a digital copy of the book in your choice of DRM-free formats, so it can be more easily compatible with your iPad, Kindle, Nook, or other eReader.
UPDATE 11/27: A sample chapter is posted here to give you a better sense of what the book will be like.
Wonder Woman may be the absolute strangest fictional character ever to become popular. Created by William Moulton Marston, she is explicitly a character created to promote his vision of a sexual utopia in which men submit to women, which he believed was the only possible way for humanity to survive. Despite the fact that she is explicitly an icon of kinky sex, radical feminism, and liberal utopian politics - three things that are not exactly clear winners in American mainstream culture - she's endured as a major comics character and pop culture icon for decades.
Paradise Dungeon will be the story of that bizarre and amazing idea. From her first appearance in 1941's All Star Comics #8 to her brand new relaunch as part of DC's New 52 in 2011, the book will look at the complete history of Wonder Woman and how her utopian politics have risen and been suppressed over the decades, and how Wonder Woman fit into a myriad of eras of history, from World War II through to the turbulence of the 50s and 60s, the rekindled conservatism of the 70s and 80s, the rise of the digital generation in the 90s and 00s, and the present. And of how, in all of those eras, no matter who was working on Wonder Woman, the strange and radical utopianism of the concept survives.
On my blog TARDIS Eruditorum (http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot.com), I've developed a basic style for this sort of thing - one that blends cultural history, literary analysis, personal history, and creative writing into a coherent whole. The book will follow a similar style, with chapters on individual eras of Wonder Woman's history. Not every single issue will be covered, but the whole sweep of the history will be.
What I haven't found yet is a way to make this sort of thing work financially. So this is me trying. I think that there are people who want to read intelligent pop culture criticism, and I think getting funding for this kind of research from them is going to go a lot better than trying to work through the narrow and insular world of academic publishing. So here's me asking you for help - I think this is an important and interesting book that needs to exist, and I'd like you to help me make it exist.
$1500: In order to have the book be a publishable and sellable manuscript, I'll need to employ professional editing and layout services. $1500 will cover those expenses.
$3000: In order to write the book in the six month timeframe I am shooting for, I need to reduce the adjunct teaching load I currently take on by one course for a semester. $3000 does not quite make up for the lost income, but it helps a lot.
(Image: Detail of the cover of Ms. Magazine #1)
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