By Nick Eskey
DC Collectible’s popular Bombshells figures have recently been green lighted for its own comic, written by Margurite Bennett with art by Margurite Sauvage and set in an alternate reality of WWII where Super Heroes exist. Bennett talks about her experience with the book at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con 2015.
How did you get into comics?
Batman the Animated series actually, and I was on a panel today sitting next to “Paul Dini” and my heart was going like crazy the entire time. I came off as a huge flake I’m sure… But Batman the Animated series, I was five years old and saw it in this after school program. And it’s actually sort of funny. With that iconic opening sequence, I wildly misinterpreted what Batman was about. From the gangsters, and the zeppelins, and this wonder rich noir feel, I um… thought Batman was a bad guy. You saw these villains and these gangsters, and what really caught my attention was how dark it is. So often in children’s television, especially things that are presented to girls, are these hyper-saturated, very, very bright, abundantly pink things. So Batman stuck out because how different it was.
So in that opening sequence you see these “bad things, bad things, bad things,” and then you see Batman who is clearly king of the bad things in Gotham. And I assumed he was a bad guy. When I watched the episode, he was fighting these people. So I thought he was this bad guy who felt guilty of being a bad guy and then decided to then turn [them] all in and clean up the city that he was responsible for making this evil and dark. I operated off of that for like a year before I was six. I didn’t know what the murder of the Wayne’s had to do with this… So I really misinterpreted this. But because of this, and creating my own wrong canons from the very beginning, it really started it as something creative. Something I could enjoy watching, but also putting my own mark on even from a very young age.
How did you get involved with the “Bombshells” project?
Oh gosh. Our wonderful editor, “Jim Chadwick,” approached me last September (that’s how long I had to keep secrets about this). He knew I was a huge fan of the series. I’m very vocal on Twitter about how much I loved it and I collected all manner of things form it, and because of the attention that those August variant covers got, DC was like “There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this. What about… we’ve essentially got this whole world waiting to have these stories told, maybe there’s something to this?” And there was that Katniss like, Hunger Games moment where I said “I volunteer!” And as soon as he offered, I was all over it. We’ve hit the ground running, and going ever since.
They’re introducing this as a digital download comic right?
Yes. The digital version, which is in these ten page increments, will be every Saturday of the month. These ten page chapters will feature a different heroine for our first arc. And then for our second arc, their paths start to cross. That starts July 27th I believe. The first print comic is going to be August 12th on Wednesday.
What kind of research did you have to do for a story taken place in WWII?
It’s almost always been a preoccupation of mine even at a young age, and I come from a military family. So it was something that you grew up knowing and learning a lot about. And it’s not precisely World War II. We’re doing an alternate history. But it was something where I was able to incorporate these story telling elements.
Scaling back for a minute, when people try and look at an event that massive, a lot of the times we get caught up in things that are almost too big to tell a story about. Or like when you visit a new country or culture, you’ll go to like the “Great Wall,” or you’ll go to the “Eiffel Tower.” But the thing that you remember coming away from it aren’t these giant vistas. They’re small interactions. They’re small stories. Like the “Eiffel Tower’s” one thing, but the thing that I took away from Paris was that “Spongebob Squarepants” is called “Bob L’eponge.” That sticks with you for some reason, and so it was the smaller stories, the more intimate human stories, that always stayed with me with learning about war as a child. Something that’s so far removed from my generation and my birth, they were always the stories that were too big to hold here in my head. But it was the small stories that were the ones that could stay.
Small stories are what influence the world of Bombshells more than outside events. We’re not trying to tell the battle of the bulge, but we’re trying to tell the stories of human courage and human compassion.
Which one of the Bombshells is your favorite to write for?
Batwoman. Batwoman is my favorite DC hero, period. I think that every DC hero in particular is so iconic. Each one can be boiled down to a single virtue or element. Batman is about justice, or obsession depending on your read. Or Batgirl is about recovery. And I feel like Batwoman is about service.
Where it’s the element of military service, or giving yourself to a larger cause. I think she’s inherently a very selfish person, so it’s something that she struggles with. She had a tendency to really hurt the people that she loves, but she still wants to do this, she still wants to be this thing that can provide for other people, and care for other people. It was so interesting because she comes from a place where she’s flawed. She fails so often, in trying to do this, and trying to be this. And it felt like this really perfect moment of crisis that’s going to define the coming century. Her failings and her strengths are going to be the heart of that story.
What was the most challenging part of writing for Bombshells?
You know, we have so many wonderful heroines. So I do worry about being able to give each of them their do. There are so many people I want to incorporate. The first heroines you’re going to see are the ones that already have their own statues, but there are a lot of ones that I want to hurry and get to. But we do need to do that first and establish them first. Coming from the DC Collectibles needed to be our priority. And so I’m hoping the public will bear with me, because they’ll be times when you’ll see character, and you might not see or hear from them again for a few months… I’m just impatient, and I want all my toys at once, and I want to share them with everyone all at once.
Look out for DC Comics Bombshells releasing on digital starting July 27th, and the physical book releasing August 12th.