I had a brilliant time at Denver Comic Con this year, and I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to interview some amazing writers from DC Comics. DC is doing some pretty rad stuff with their comics, and I am so excited to get to dish with you, my shiny readers! I was able to sit down with Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Starfire), and Marguerite Bennet (Earth 2, Bombshells). I’ve already shared my interview with Becky Cloonan and Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Palmer with you all, and now it’s time for my last interview with the fantastic Marguerite Bennett. I’m so stoked for her latest project, and she also has some awesome advice for young women interested in breaking out into comics:
Kendall: Let’s talk a little bit about Earth 2. This one had quite a few writer on it, Daniel H. Wilson, yourself, and Mike Johnson, so what did the writing process look like for you guys? Was it collaborative, did you work on your own and come together?
Marguerite: Well, Daniel was the one who wrote the story, so he came up with sort of the massive bible on what the death of this world was going to be. And then we all broke it down into the plot and the characters, and tried to track where the emotional journey was going to be in addition to the action, and then those pages were sort of divvied up between who was sort of going to focus on who. We didn’t really want to do it by plot, because we really felt that jumping around would interrupt the emotional momentum each character had, so instead we gave a group of characters to each writer so they could keep it consistent and never lose sight of what the beginning and the end of that emotional journey was.
K: Did you guys know each other before working on Earth 2?
M: No, I’ve met Mike Johnson sort of briefly. It’s actually sort of funny, he’s such a sweetheart. When I was talking at a party with an editor at Marvel, he had worked with Mike in the past, and he sort of teasing said, “Oh, that Mike Johnson, what a jerk!” And I got sort of really cold and frosty with him and said, “Excuse me, I think Mike is a lovely person!” And he was kind of like, “I…I was kidding. We’re bros.” So it’s funny, you’ve got this sort of foxhole situation, and then it’s the bootcamp that unites you.
K: As we know, Earth 2 is ending and they are going to bring forth Earth 2: Society. What can you tell us about that, if anything?
M: I actually can’t tell you anything. I’m so sorry!
K: No, that’s okay! So are you still going to be writing on it?
M: No. I’m switching over to a different series entirely. It’s called Bombshells and I’m really excited about it.
K: Can you tell me a little bit about that?
M: Sure! Bombshells is going to be a digital first series like Injustice that is a completely new story that is based on the bombshell variants that you may have seen, these bombshell statues with this wonderful retro style, designed by Ant Lucia.
M: It’s going to be all the DC heroines in this alternate history of WWII. So the whole conceit is that the heroines came first. So on our very first page it starts with the Waynes going out to see Zorro one summer evening, and a gangster jumps out of the shadows with a tommy gun, and Batwoman comes crashing down and prevents the murder of the Waynes–prevents the creation of Batman. And so, that sets the tone for the entire series, where no heroine is a derivative of a male counterpart. So the women came first, and they defined this world.
K: [fangirls, collects self] That’s awesome! Oh my gosh. I’m so excited for that. So is it just you writing on this?
M: Yep! It’s my first ongoing, and I’ve been sitting on this since last September! I’ve got 21 issues plotted and broken, and I cannot wait. Our interior art is done by another Marguerite, the only other Marguerite I’ve found, so far, Marguerite Sauvage. Her stuff is so tremendous. We’ve got variant covers by Emanuela Luppachino, and it’s just such a killer story. We’re having so much fun.
K: How did you come up with this story?
M: I was approached by Jim Chadwick, who is our wonderful editor. I did some work with him while I was working with Tom Taylor in Earth 2 in the annual for Injustice. And I was so in love with Bombshells, and I never made it any secret how in love I was with Bombshells. So when they made it clear they wanted to move it into a proper ongoing, I was the first one on their list. There is no version of this, I can honestly say, that is more up my alley. How crazy to get to go into this new world.
K: Man, I’m so excited! So when can we expect to see this?
M: The first digital starts, I believe, July 12, and the first print version will be out August 12. Also, every Wednesday there is going to be a ten-page story release, and then on the last Wednesday of the month, we’re going to have a full thirty-page print issue that will be available at comic book stores. So if you want to wait and get the full thing or you want to follow Wednesday by Wednesday, you can do it. And how every ten-page story is going to operate is it’s going to focus on a different character. Our first ten-pager is going to be about Batwoman, our second ten-pager is going to be about Wonder Woman, third will be about Supergirl. So each time, we’re trying to make sure there is something for everyone in this comic. So Batwoman it will be an action-adventure story, with Wonder Woman it’s a war story, with Supergirl its like a propaganda film. With Hawkgirl its an Indiana Jones-style story, with Vixen it’s a rebellion, Aquawoman its a romance, Zatanna its a hammer movie. So we want to make sure to fund this complete world with the art and the genres that define the forties and the war.
K: That’s great. I am so excited about that. Well, you’ve done a lot, with Bombshells now and stuff you’ve done with…another unnamed comics publisher…lots of awesome stuff with women in comics. And, for instance, with A-Force, there’s been a lot of pushback. How do you respond to that? I mean, I’m excited about all of the awesome women in comics right now, as you can see. How do you respond?
M: Make a martini and enjoy my right to vote.
K: That’s good.
M: We’re here to stay!
K: Did you grow up with comics?
M: I did. I mean, Batman animated series when I was five years old is the whole reason that I’m here today. I absolutely fell in love with that style of the stories and the depth, the art, and the level of the emotionality in all of them. There were times that I couldn’t afford to keep up with comics, and there were times that I felt unwelcome in the comics community, but sort of when there was that social media boom of Tumblr and DeviantArt and fan fiction–I wrote so much fan fiction. I’ve got binders full of it. When I found that there were other nerdy girls who loved this, or other nerdy people who accepted me in spite of the fact or ignored that gender bias, we sort of built our own community. And we’ve been trucking ever since.
K: You’ve written a lot of really awesome female characters, especially now with Bombshells, you’re going to touch on All of the Things, which is rad.
M: I’m putting my stick fingers over all these toys!
K: You are! Is there a favorite that you like to write on?
M: Oh, Kate Kane. She’s my favorite heroine, period.
M: Oh my gosh, you know I feel like every hero and heroine has one defining thing about them. That if you were going to boil them down, all of their wants and needs and damage and virtues, there would be one thing. For Batman, a lot of people would call it his need for justice, but I’d say it’s more about obsession. For Batgirl it’s more about recovery, and for me Batwoman is more about service, about what you sacrifice, what you give of yourself and your abilities to redeem others. Whether its more the world at large, or more intimate, personal damage, but that selflessness is the thing that pulls her through. It gives her strength as much as its her greatest vulnerability, and that always really resonates with me.
K: What would you say to, like you said, there are a lot of girls that don’t feel welcome in the comics community. How would you encourage them to overcome that?
M: You know, no one’s going to write this story for you. You’ve got a story in you that only you can tell, and you need to tell it. Do not let somebody tell you that your story is invalid. Do not let someone tell you that your story isn’t worthy of being told. Don’t let somebody have that control over your life and your self-worth. You have just as much of a right to be here as anybody else. Don’t get scared. You can do this.
I had to also mention that DC is doing some really exciting stuff when it comes to becoming a more inclusive environment for women. In addition to Bombshells, DC also has another new project coming up. This time, it’s for those comic book fans who are young girls. DC is going to be releasing a full universe aimed at young girls, complete with digital content, TV specials, made-for-video publishing, toys, and apparel called DC Super Hero Girls in fall of 2015.
Yep. You heard right, we’re finally getting some female action figures and apparel. Yes, please. FINALLY. We can expect the digital content this fall, and the rest of the products (apparel, toys, books, etc) will launch in 2016. You can head to the DC site to read more about it, but I am so excited and impressed with the ways DC is working to create products for its female fans of all ages. Ten points to DC.
I cannot tell you how STOKED I am for Bombshells and Super Hero Girls. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got Bombshells on my pull list at my comic book store. If you haven’t done that already, you most certainly need to remedy that! You can check out more info on the comic on the DC website. If you aren’t following Marguerite on Twitter, you should definitely remedy that as well. So what do you think of Bombshells? Will you be reading it? Is it already on your pull list? What do you think of Super Hero Girls? Let me know your thoughts on all things Marguerite, Bombshells, DC, and Superhero Girls in the comments!