Marguerite Bennett has been taking the comic book world head on over the last couple years; writing books like the weekly title Earth Two: World’s End to characters like Batgirl and Joker’s Daughter. With her new title, DC Comics Bombshells, being release digitally in July of 2015 and hitting comic shops in paper form last week, I was lucky enough to ask Marguerite a few questions about her new book.
Your friendly neighborhood jman: Marguerite, you came from writing the weekly book Earth 2: World’s End (which was a bit of a collaboration) to writing the digital first book, DC Comics Bombshells. Any differences for you in writing the two books?
Marguerite Bennett: The big change was in the nature of collaboration–I’m working very closely with our artists, including the magnificent Marguerite Sauvage, Ant Lucia, Bilquis Evely, Laura Braga, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown, and more, as well as with our wonderful editors, Jim Chadwick and Jessica Chen. The characters, operating outside of the regular DC canon, also provide an immense amount of freedom. We’re leaping from genre to genre with each character, as well–Batwoman is a pulpy radio serial adventure, Catwoman is a noir, Supergirl is a propaganda film, Harley Quinn is a Looney Tunes farce, Zatanna is a Hammer horror, Aquawoman is a romance, and so on. It’s great fun.
jman: Since DC Comics Bombshells is based on Ant Lucia’s work, was it difficult fleshing out the Bombshells personalities? How do they compare to their modern day contemporaries?
MB: It was a complete joy, actually. Some characters maintain a traditional origin, such as Wonder Woman, who began as a WWII heroine. Some changes will be drastic–Supergirl grows up with her adopted sister in the USSR, for instance, and her outlook is colored accordingly. We wanted to avoid a one-shot, purely Elseworlds feel (and few people love Elseworlds the way I loved Elseworlds)–when characters appear, we wanted to provoke excitement and affection, but never complete familiarity. The same goes for our villains–we have some original characters and villains coming who I hope you will love and fear in equal measure.
MB: BOMBSHELLS actually operates within an alternate history WWII, and so while we wanted to capture the tone and tenor of the era, I did not want to incorporate certain historically accurate elements, for which you may of course criticize me freely. In some cases, the changes are granular–for example, in our aerial dogfights, the planes are in some cases combinations of two or three different planes, and certain technologies exist that would not have in 1940, such as the elevator that Supergirl and Stargirl ride, which was not installed in the Moscow subway system until some months later. We also have the United States enter the war far earlier, a fledgling cosmonaut program in the USSR, and the political situation in Spain is far more unstable, among others. Social elements, such as segregation and feminism, have also been meddled with, because I didn’t want to read, let along write, beloved characters being spat upon and treated as second class citizens, regardless if it’s the truth of the era. I have never tried to pass this off as some rose-colored revisionism. I’ve always been up front that this is an alternate history. I accept whatever criticism you feel this warrants.
jman: Bombshells is pretty progressive, too, with Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer not only sharing an apartment, but sharing a bed as well. Was that your idea? What was the initial reaction from DC editorial?
MB: Kate is canonically queer, as is Maggie, so DC was quite supportive. I adore how Marguerite Sauvage draws them together–no fetishization, no objectification, only genuine love and sincerity between them.
jman: Where do you hope the book goes from here?
MB: I hope we get to run the full five years I’ve got planned. Even if we’re axed after 6 issues, though, I will remain forever grateful we got this far. This book exists because of the fans. The reader reaction to the BOMBSHELLS covers and collectibles was astronomical, and DC entertained the series because of that enthusiasm and interest. This is for the fans. Thank you guys, always.
Many thanks to Ms. Bennett for taking the time to answer my questions.
Don’t forget to check out the latest episode of the Newsbox. This week we’re talking Deadpool, Spidey and the DCU.