Miss Fury #1: Rob Williams’ Writers Commentary

So, Miss Fury #1 came out last week from Dynamite… but how did writer Rob Williams put it all together? Let’s fnd out…

PG 1

MissFury01-1

“Everyone is doing themselves a weak and cowardly disservice if they don’t ask themselves this question… What are YOU angry about?” Start a storyline with the controlling idea front and centre. It’s on the nose, yes, but it’s effective. And this was the key question for Miss Fury when I approached the book. She’s called ‘fury’ yet she’s a super rich Manhattan socialite who’s incredibly good looking. What’s she got to be angry about? Over the course of the first arc – that’s the core question. And we open in 1943. The world’s at war. America’s at war. Millions dying and suffering. Yet Marla Drake’s life is all roses. She hasn’t found herself yet.

“Anger is an energy,” was something I wrote in the pitch, stealing from John Lydon.

And that telegram in panel 3 is a flashback, by the way. To a key moment in her journey towards her own anger. We’ll find out more as we go.

PG 2

MissFury01-2

My first draft of the script I started things further on with some character-setting dialogue, but then I decided this was an issue one, we probably needed some action straight out of the blocks.

More punching. And kicking. This is a superhero book.

We’re establishing here that a) Miss Fury is a fearsome, superhumanly quick fighter (she twists an assailant around in time to get his body to take the bullets meant for her – that’s quick). And b) she’s not a squeaky clean, morally black and white figure. She’s slashing and drawing blood here.

Also: Jack Herbert, our seriously impressive artist, is establishing that he can draw an action sequence really, REALLY well.

PG 3

MissFury01-3

She catches a knife in mid-air and returns it at the thrower, getting him right between the eyes!

You know, for kids!

When I saw these pages in B&W I was delighted. I hadn’t worked with Jack before but there’s a real fluidity to the action here, and Miss Fury looks terrific in panel 4. Lots of swagger there. The colours are wonderful too. Ivan Nunes did a killer job on the book. Really talented colourist.

Love the ‘Thunk!’ sound effect there too. Nice job by Simon Bowland, our letterer, throughout.

MissFury01-6

PG 6

The idea here was, on a kind of suggestive level, that Miss Fury doesn’t just fall through the skylight into the Nazi’s time machine, but the time machine rather pulls her through. It wants her. None of this is established in text, and to have her saying “It almost feels like it… wants me,” would’ve been plain bad writing. A bit of ambiguity here and there isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think. Let readers fill in the blanks as long as the narrative us clear. Even if no one gets what the intention was, she still falls into the time machine so the plot is serviced.

The whole idea of Miss Fury’s time travel in the arc is so personal to her. It’s meant to be ambiguous to an extent. Is she really travelling through time or is she still in 1943 and insane?

PG 9

MissFury01-9

Jack drew this to be a real highlight of the issue. And it’s completely different from the script and what I imagined. But who cares when it looks this amazing.

The script called for a side-on shot of an art deco bath, which sits in the middle of a huge room in Miss Fury’s Manhattan apartment. The idea being that this room is enormous but she’s kind of so emotionally empty that there’s nothing in it, just a luxury bath. Jack changed the angle, the sense of this huge room with just a small bath in it. But she’s still wearing the gloves in the bath (that’s not for ‘cool and sexy’ aesthetic reasons, we’ll reveal why later). She’s reading the ’43 newspaper, and the contradiction of the salubrious image and the dialogue “there’s a war on, you know. It’s a terrible business” is still there. I don’t mind an artist changing what I’ve asked for as long as the narrative point is served. It is here.

And it looks fantastic. So shut up Mr. Writer.

PG 13

MissFury01-13

Miss Fury’s new origin. Her voice is more than a little tongue-in-cheek here. “The implicit local hallucinogenic…” “he may have just been trying it on.” The humour hopefully lifts this scene beyond being the typical superhero origin. And I liked the fact that she isn’t 100% sure if she has superpowers. It’s, again, a little ambiguous.

PG 14

MissFury01-14

Sex Panther! It stings the nostrils.

Is the panther real? She doesn’t know.

Although, she is covered in blood during sex in the final panel, so there’s a hint. She’s a dark one, eh? I wanted to show her as being in control here. She drives the action. Titillating? Yes. But true to her character. These are all little snapshots of Marla Drake. The entire initial arc is something of a jigsaw puzzle for her and, hopefully, by the end of the first storyline, you have something of a three-dimensional woman.

And who among us can say that we haven’t had sex with a Masai tribesman while under the influence of a powerful hallucinogen and covered in the blood of a MASSIVE jungle cat that we’ve just killed in hand-to-paw combat? I know I have.

PG 18

MissFury01-18

Who’s this bloke then? Badly burnt face? He’s a super-villain, surely.

This is Captain Chandler. Who’ll make a big difference in Marla Drake’s life. A key figure in her journey.

Great faces in the crowd scene behind Captain Chandler. Jack does great faces..

And there’s that telegram again in panel three. If it repeats like this, it’s a key moment.

PG 21

MissFury01-21

And suddenly we’re in a scene from Modern Warfare. Tanks, guns, jet fighters, a street scene where Manhattan’s been turned into Chechnya. Romance is very much over and Miss Fury’s suddenly thrust into war. Her war.

And something big overhead is blocking out the sun. That can’t be good.

The script, by the way, asked for her to be carrying a ‘Sienkiewicz rifle’, as in Bill. I used the same phrase in an issue of Daken: Dark Wolverine and it’s become shorthand for an impossibly large and deadly weapon. The language of comics… I’m going to keep using it.