This month, Oni Press released Angel City, a limited series written by Janet Harvey. She has been around the comic book industry for some time, most notably as the writer for Sony’s DC Universe Online. She co-created the series along with artist Megan Levens and colorist Nick Filardi. In addition to writing Angel City, Ms. Harvey has also been working on Scene Queen, an anti-bullying film which she wrote and directed. She recently came to New York Comic Con, and she talked about her Angel City. I hit the Oni booth while she was in the restroom. I’m guessing you know how difficult those were to locate, and I know the women had longer lines. While I waited, I was given a number of first issues, none of which I’ve gotten around to reading. When I met Harvey, she gave me a variant covered ANGEL CITY #1 (I had gotten an issue of my own for research prior to the show). We wound up going to the Press Area, which was quieter than the floor.
Bleeding Cool: What is the basic premise of Angel City?
Janet Harvey: The basic premise is Dolores Dare, who is this cocktail waitress/gun moll. She wanted to be an actress, but she’s become muscle for the mob. She finds out her friend has died, and so she decides to go after the killer, but she’s part of the sort of corruption of the city, so she knows how to navigate it. She has access to things that an outsider wouldn’t.
JH: It takes place in the Thirties in Hollywood, It’s sort of the golden age of Hollywood. We chose 1939 because that was when the height of when the movie industry was starting to really come to its own. Lots of big cars, flashy dresses, gangsters and movie stars. It seemed like a good place to put a comic book.
BC: How did you get into the style of noir?
JH: I’ve always really liked noir. I guess I have a very cynical worldview. A series about corrupt cops and people who have been through the wringer a little bit. I got into that through punk rock and B-movies, and eventually ended up in noir.
BC: What have been the biggest influences for Angel City?
JH: [Dolores] is not [based] after a specific actress, but I kind of had somebody like Jean Harlowe in mind, who always played the gangster moll, or Virginia Mayo in White Heat. They’re kind of like showgirls who [slipping into period accent] talk like dis, they’re always a little bit like dis? [laughs] They’re wisecracking, they’re a little hardened, but they’re tough/ They can take care of themselves.
BC: How long did it take Dolores to develop?
JH: I feel like characters, when they come to life, it just clicks and they’re talking to you and talking through you. Dolores was definitely one of those characters. I just loved her. The story was built around her. I always felt like I knew what she was doing. I had the idea of, “What if there was this woman [who] did stunts and had been a cocktail waitress?” If you had somebody in fishnets fighting crime,who would they really be? [laughs] The idea of Dolores came out of that.
BC: Who are the supporting characters you’d want the audience to know about?
JH: My favorites [include] Joe Yoshimoto, the photographer who is kind of Dolores’ sidekick. He’s going to be back a lot. They’re working together to solve this crime. The gangster, Gino, is also really fun. He’s going to be a major player. He’s kind of big and dumb. He leans with his heart and his chin, but I think he and Dolores are a lot alike in that respect. He’s definitely going to be a part of the entire plotline that’s coming. We’re going to have a new character is issue #2 named Rita, who would also be fun for people. She’s an actress as well.
BC: How long is Angel City scheduled to run?
JH: We have six issues. I think we’ll get it collected quickly. If we can tell further stories with these characters, I would really like to do that.
BC: How much story would there be after six issues?
JH: It’s called Angel City, so we can tell stories about the other characters. I’d want to take them to New York, but then we’d get outside of Angel City, so I’m not sure that’s really going to happen. I feel like like there’s a lot more we can tell, especially with Dolores and Joe. There’s a lot more we can tell, and I think there’s other things that they can solve in the larger world of the story.