Guest Q&A: Benjamin Saunders
At this year’s Vegas Valley Comic Book Fest, University of Oregon English Professor Ben Saunders will present “Wonder Woman in Bondage: Gender, Power and the Amazon Superhero,” an entertaining, informative look at the seemingly paradoxical goals and representation of Wonder Woman by her creator, William Moulton Marson.
Saunders is the author of Do The Gods Wear Capes?, an exploration of the philosophical implications of comic book superheroes, and Desiring Donne: Poetry, Sexuality, Interpretation, on the reception history of poet John Donne. He has lectured nationally and internationally on both issues of popular culture and traditional literary topics, and Saunders has also served as a judge for the Eisner Awards (the “comic book Oscars”), as well as curated several comic-art themed exhibitions.
We threw a lasso of truth around Saunders to get him to fess up a few little facts about himself.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A whole day with nothing to do but read.
2. What is your greatest fear?
Losing my ability to communicate through either senility or a stroke.
3. On what occasion do you lie?
To make others happy.
4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My tax bracket.
5. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
6. What do you most dislike about yourself?
That there are so many things I dislike about myself.
7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Of course.” “That’s just stupid.” “F*ck” and variants.
8. What is your most treasured possession?
My Silver Age Marvel Comics.
9. What do you most value in your friends?
Their acceptance of me as I am.
10. The quality you most admire in a person?
Intelligence. The inability to dissemble. Musical talent. Hard work.
11. What supernatural gift would you most like to possess?
Stock Market Manipulation.
12. What is your favorite food?
Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes, Toast, Butter, Coffee.
13. What is your favorite color?
They are all good.
14. Who is your favorite fictional character?
Philip Marlow. Spider-Man is also really cool.
15. Who is your favorite person in history?
Whoever invented indoor plumbing.
16. Who is your favorite artist?
Oh, man, way too many to name. Kirby, Kandinsky, Klimt? Just to stick with the Ks.
17. Who is your favorite musician?
Again very hard to pick one. Hendrix, The Beatles, The Who, Queen. Louis Armstrong. Hank Williams. Jackie Wilson. Joni. Thom Yorke. Jack White. You could play any of them at my funeral and I’d be happy. Well, you know what I mean.
18. Who are your favorite writers?
Shakespeare, Blake, Flannery O’Connor, Mike Moorcock, Gilbert Hernandez, Wallace Stevens (Harmonium era), Philip Larkin, Sir Philip Sidney, George Herbert, Stephen King, Tony Kushner, John Berryman, Alan Moore. Donne but just for the Devotions, these days. A hundred more.
19. Who are your heroes in real life?
MLK. My wife. My brother. Jim Thomas (you don’t know him). Jack Kirby. Joe Sacco. And God bless the President of the United States.
20. DC, Marvel, Lovecraft or Whedon Universe?
None of the above.
21. What is your present state of mind?
Tired and self-critical.
22. What is your motto?
I’ll relax later.