Lynda Carter loved playing Wonder Woman. She loves all the attention the character has been getting of late, following the summer's blockbuster movie starring Gal Gadot. And she loves meeting her fans.
What she doesn't love is the traditional comic-con template, in which stars sit at tables and sign autograph after autograph for fans who have paid handsomely for the privilege.
"No, I don't like it at all," says the actress, who played Wonder Woman on television for three seasons from 1975 to 1979, one on ABC, the last two on CBS. "There's no time to interact, and people are waiting in line for a long time, and if you don't talk to one person as much as you talked with the last person … nobody's happy."
But organizers of the annual Baltimore Comic-Con have been after her to appear for years, Carter says, and she'd gotten tired of turning them down. So she came up with a solution she hopes will make everyone happy.
Friday night, on Day One of the three-day convention, Carter will appear in concert, performing some of the songs that have been a staple of her club act for years — she was singing before "Wonder Woman," and has continued to do so for much of the 38 years the show has been off the air. She'll also tell a few stories from the stage, including some that will touch on her career as the Amazon princess with the star-spangled costume and the golden lasso of truth.
"We do everything from old blues, like Bobby 'Blue' Bland, to Eric Clapton, from Motown to country music," Carter, 66, says over the phone from her home in Montgomery County, where she lives with her husband of 33 years, lawyer and businessman Robert A. Altman. "We're a fine-tuned machine. These guys I work with are so good."
Carter debuted her show at last month's Comic Con Palm Springs with a set that included Al Green's "Take Me to the River," Bobby Blue Bland's "Who's Foolin' Who," Clapton's "Change the World," Chris Isaac's "Bad, Bad Thing" and Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll." She says she was delighted with the reception — "Everyone was on their feet at the end," she says — and believes she's finally found a way to connect with her comics-loving fans.
"It's such a fun show," she says. "I tell a few Wonder Woman stories, give a few little tidbits of information. And it has some creativity to it, too, which is the music. … I wanted to bring something fresh and new, something that was much more interesting."
This is a fun time to be Carter, the actress and Miss World USA 1972 agrees, laughing. In addition to her concerts, she got to play the president of the United States — an alien in disguise — on Season 2 of the "Supergirl" TV series. She filmed "Super Troopers 2," reprising her role as Governor Jessman from the original 2001 film. And she's been able to bathe in the reflected glory of "Wonder Woman," thrilled with the vision that Gadot and director Patty Jenkins brought to the big screen.
"I told Patty from the beginning, 'This is going to make a billion dollars,'" Carter says (and she wasn't far off; so far, the movie has brought in more than $816 million worldwide). "I so believed, after I met them and after I talked with both of them and knew them for more than a year, that it was going to be fantastic."
For decades, Hollywood had tried to bring Wonder Woman to theaters; several projects were announced, some were even cast, but all were aborted. The movie needed a strong director with a vision and a proven track record, like Jenkins — whose earlier effort, "Monster," won Charlize Theron a best-actress Oscar — to successfully pull it off, Carter says. (Jenkins also signed on this month to direct, produce and co-write a sequel.)
"It had be the vision of the director, to add these wonderful things and to see [in] every moment [the character's] tenderness and her humanity — even though she's a goddess — and her loveliness and her passion and her fierceness and her loyalty and her anger and her destiny," Carter says. "They didn't just put a woman in a guy suit doing guy things."
And she's glad to finally pass the Wonder Woman mantle on, Carter says. No, she insists, her close association with the role was never a drag, or something she got tired of trying to live up to. "I've seen actors fight those things, and it doesn't do them any good," Carter says. "People are trying to connect with you through some character that they loved seeing you do. [Wonder Woman] is such a powerful role, almost anything else I do pales in comparison."
Whether Gadot becomes as closely identified with the character remains to be seen, but Carter does have a piece of advise for the 32-year-old Israeli actress she describes as her "soul sister": Take one of her Wonder Woman costumes home and put it aside for posterity. Carter has kept two of hers, and has earmarked one for each of her two children.
But doesn't an iconic outfit like the original Wonder Woman's belong on display somewhere, maybe in the Smithsonian alongside Dorothy's ruby slippers and Fonzie's leather jacket?
Well, maybe as a loan, Carter says, her voice rising in mock consternation. "If they help me restore one of them, I will certainly allow them to show it. For now, they're put away."
If you go
Baltimore Comic-Con runs 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St. Admission is $25-$35 daily, $65-$150 for a three-day pass. The Lynda Carter concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at the convention center; tickets are $35-$1,000. baltimorecomiccon.com.