David Avallone, writer of The Twilight Zone/The Shadow #4, talks with Corinna S. Bechko about Miss Fury #4, both on sale now from Dynamite. Covers by Tula Lotay and Jonathan Lau.
DAVID AVALLONE: I hadn’t been following this series, so I came into #4 in media res and it was fantastically entertaining. I’m going to pick up the first three. I also was not familiar with Miss Fury. When did you discover her? Was she created in the period?
CORINNA S. BECHKO: Thanks so much, that’s great to hear! I was aware of Miss Fury for quite a while, probably since the big book of original strips was put out by IDW several years back. I was interested then because she was the first superhero created and drawn by a woman, way back in the ‘40s! I set this story in the same time period to honor her origin, even though my writing style is very different from Tarpe Mills.
DA: Do you have any particular attraction to, connection with the period? Or would you be just as happy writing Miss Fury 2016?
CSB: I do connect with that period, mostly through my love of old films, and film noirs in particular. But I think it’s also an interesting period in our history from a societal perspective. After all, WWII happened only about 20 years after women got the right to vote in America. Things were still very unequal in terms of available careers and just about everything else, but thanks to the war there were actually more opportunities than before since so many men were off fighting overseas. Over the course of writing this miniseries I did a lot of reading about the women who worked on the bomb, the women who built equipment, and the women who generally held down the fort at home. 2016 is an interesting time too, but it’s impossible for me to view it with much perspective.
DA: Were there always supernatural elements to the series?
CSB: Not as such — it was much more an adventure comic — although the last time Miss Fury was resurrected by Dynamite there was a huge time travel element. I love time travel stories, but I knew I couldn’t repeat that trick. I also love to write horror, so I tried to inject a bit of that into my take on the character. I didn’t want to even try to ape Mills, and I knew my run didn’t have to fit with the last one, so I figured I might as well play to my strengths. To my delight, my editor agreed and I’m really happy with the result.
DA: Jonathan Lau’s art is stunning. Have you worked with him before? Was he your choice or the editor’s?
CSB: Isn’t his work amazing? This is the first time we’ve worked together, but I really hope it isn’t the last. My editor, Joe Rybandt, put us together, and I just about danced for joy when I saw the first pages. He really cares about making the characters feel real, and about making the period feel authentic. And his monsters are wonderful! There are several scenes that involve characters wearing masks, which I worried over before I knew whom I’d be collaborating with. After all, that can be a tricky business to convey on the page. But those panels turned out to be some of my absolute favorites, because Jonathan made them look so elegant and frightening.
CSB: Only when it’s a real story point. In this case, since it is a period piece, I did include quite a bit of reference in my scripts, usually photos of how people dressed or how a specific part of NYC looked at the time. After all, I did a ton of research to make sure that I wasn’t including any anachronisms in the story, so it seemed like I should share that with Jonathon so that he wouldn’t have to just repeat all my work on top of designing the pages. I figure that as a writer, I have the luxury of a little more time than an artist, so I should probably not be stingy with it.
DA: How does your Miss Fury compare to earlier versions? Have you felt the need to update her a bit for modern audiences, or was she always this wonderfully kick-ass?
CSB: She was always really kick-ass! I did update certain things, like the fact that she has a career she cares a lot about in my version. In the original she was a socialite. I don’t know much about being super rich (although I did once work on the grounds of a mansion as a zoo keeper) but I do know a lot about caring about your job, so hopefully that’s something modern audiences can relate to as well.
DA: Is there a comics creator – writer or artist – who inspires you the most?
CSB: The first one to ever make me go “wow” was Harvey Pekar, simply because he made it seem like you could make comics about anything. I was able to see that comics are a medium, not a genre. Charles Burns is another. Reading Black Hole was one of the things that made me want to write comics. I still refer back to it if I’m feeling uninspired.