Ask Marguerite Bennett what it’s like to work on her new book, DC Comics Bombshells, and you’ll get the most genuine answer.
“Dream project,” Bennett said at Comic-Con last week. “I mean, I could not be happier.”
Written by Bennett (A-Force, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin) with art by Marguerite Sauvage (Thor), the digital first ongoing, based on the line of collectible DC statues, is set in an alternate World War II universe and focuses on retro versions of popular characters such as Batwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman. The series will launch digitally July 25, with the first print issue in comic stores August 12. We spoke to Bennett about crafting this world, what it means to work on a book like this and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that you can really talk about this book, tell me how Bombshells came about.
MARGUERITE BENNETT: Last August, DC put out these series of bombshell variant covers, which would be these retro pin-up inspired versions of all the DC heroines based on their bombshells collectible statues line. And the fan response was insane. People just had such wonderful, positive reactions to this. And DC really took notice of how much people loved these designs, and how much people loved this vision of heroines. So Jim Chadwick, my fantastic editor at DC, reached out to me. I’d been a very vocal fan on social media about how much I loved those renditions, and he said you are the first person we wanted to talk to. I could not say yes fast enough. We hit the ground running and we started working since last September, and I had to keep mum until May which was really hard. After that, we reached out to artists and Marguerite Sauvage is drawing our first arc. We’re just having a fantastic time.
I love Marguerite’s work. Between your scripts and her art, you guys are really the perfect team. What was it like to collaborate with her?
She’s terrific. It sort of started off as a joke. I found her on Twitter and was like, “Oh, you’re the only other Marguerite, we should do a project together!” And she was like, “Yeah we should!” We’d been trying and it just never seemed to actually sync up. When Jim proposed actually having her on the project, it was like, oh man, that would be insane…but she’s so busy, I’m not sure if that’s even possible. But she had the same level of enthusiasm and she brings such a level of grace to all of the artwork and it’s just been so fantastic to have her lay the table for this entire universe, down to things like her color choices and her unexpected paneling. Even moments of stillness in conversation feel so alive, and still crackle.
Will we be seeing any other bombshell girls other than the ones that we’ve already been teased with?
Absolutely. Our first film statue line, those are going to be our main characters — so essentially the first year of the war. But just because a character doesn’t have a statue does not mean that you’re not going to see them. While those are priorities, you’re going to see as many pin-up or bombshell versions of these characters as I can cram into this book. We’re going to cycle through — it’s not going to just be focused on the European theater — the North African theater is the next one we’re lining up after this, and then the South Pacific. So I’m really hoping to create a full and complete world through the eyes of these heroines and actions of these characters.
This isn’t placing characters in a cookie-cutter universe. You’re looking forward to creating a real, strong world for these girls.
How the entire thing is structured — being a digital first, that means 10 pages come out a week, and they’re going to be available every Saturday, and then one Wednesday of the month there will be a collective 30-page print issue that you can pick up from your comic book store. You’ve got your choice of media. For each of those 10 pages, for our very first arc, it’s going to focus on a different heroine. So our first ten pages are Batwoman, our second focuses on Wonder Woman, our third on Supergirl, our fourth on Zatanna, and it’s going to go on from there. And each of the 10 pagers is going to be a different genre from the art and the media that existed during the war. So for Batwoman it’s this pulpy, radio adventure serial; for Wonder Woman it’s a war story; for Supergirl it’s a propaganda film; for Harley Quinn it’s Charlie Chaplin-esque farce; for Zatanna it’s a hammer film. I wanted to create something that was alive and vivid and still true to the media and the art of the era. Bombshells is an alternate history world, it’s not going to be the same thing as the way that it’s presented in the media we might have grown up with, but it was something where we wanted to capture the tone and the energy of it.
Can you tease anything about the storylines?
I will spoil the first three pages. Our very first page opens up with this grainy, black and white news reel footage, and it shows this couple and a little boy walking through the city at night, and you’ve got this cheesy announcement going over it, and he’s going, “An innocent family out for a summer stroll…” and then you see a gangster with a tommy gun and it’s all, “Suddenly, danger from the shadows!” Then the terror of the family and then this silhouette of spread wings and then, up above, who is this beautiful bombshell? The dangerous dame known only as…and Batwoman crashes down and prevents the murder of the Waynes, and prevents Batman from ever becoming Batman. In this universe, the major conceit is that I wanted no heroine to be driven of a male counterpart. The women came first. The women were the ones that define what heroism is for the century. Just getting to explore those journeys is what makes this my dream project.
As a comic fan and as someone who still looks for places where she can identify with female heroines, I’m so happy this series will exist.
Because we have so many women, it’s not like we have six dudes and one girl and she has to stand in for all female experiences. We have so many women, that Aquaman’s story can be a romance and it’s not making a statement about femininity or sexuality. When there’s enough diversity, there’s enough opportunity to explore every element of what’s true to character, as opposed to trying to speak to or address the concerns of all women in a single heroine. There’s this wonderful Mad Max Fury Road critique, and it talked about there’s this one moment where there’s 12 women on screen and no one questions them. It was like, “When there’s enough women, the world feels real.” And that’s something that I’ve kept in mind while working on Bombshells lately, that we want to make a vivid and beautiful world, and one that rings true for the characters and will be exciting for the heroines and exciting for readers and I’m so, so blessed to be a part of this project.