Bettie Page has been an icon of beauty and sexuality since her heyday in the 1950s. From flirty cheesecake pinups to more risqué photos, the model’s famous look made her the “Queen of Pinups” and an influence on models, photographers, artists, and pop culture to this day. Dynamite is continuing her legacy with a new comic this summer, Bettie Page #1.
Karla Pacheco (Spider-Woman) takes on writing duties along with Vincenzo Federici (Army of Darkness/Bubba Ho-Tep) on art, Rebecca Nalty on colors, and Becca Carey on letters. The series centers on Bettie’s move to Hollywood in 1954 as she attempts to jumpstart her acting career. Just as she’s about to begin filming on a tropical island, a murder takes place.
Pacheco chatted with The Beat about the upcoming book and why Bettie is still so popular decades later.
Deanna Destito: Bettie’s allure has endured for decades. What is the fascination with Bettie Page?
Karla Pacheco: She’s lovely, she’s perfect, she’s naughty…but honestly? I think the reason she’s always stood out is the JOY. Bettie Page took delight in herself, her sensuality. Even in her most salacious photo shoots and films you always felt you were being invited in, rather than being shamed. That was absolutely her gift.
Destito: What inspired this take on her persona?
Pacheco: In my younger years I had a “goth rockabilly” phase and a (slightly less embarrassing) burlesque part of my life. Both were heavily inspired by Bettie at the time, but this book has given me a chance to dig into who Bettie was, beyond just an icon. My only goal was to be respectful to that, while also giving her a chance to shine in a way she never actually got in real life.
Destito: Why does this creative team’s style work well with this new chapter in Bettie’s history?
Pacheco: Vincenzo, Rebecca, and Becca are all such singular talents. I wanted to create a rich, lush, colorful Hollywood playground – with a dark noir underbelly – and oh my god, they’re bringing every element of that to life!
Destito: Is there any connection to previous Bettie comics?
Pacheco: The previous comics gave Bettie a lovely, over-the-top romp, but this one is going in a slightly different over-the-top romp direction, and I can only hope it will be equally fun and exciting!
Destito: In a world of #metoo and women fighting to be on equal footing for pay, etc. is Bettie still a relevant icon? Why?
Pacheco: Absolutely. Bettie Page never received her chance at true stardom. She was abused at so many points of her life, and it’s utterly heartbreaking. I’ll be honest, I was almost hesitant to take on this project because of that. I didn’t want to be light and flippant about someone who’d endured so much. It was only at the end of her life she was even able to reclaim her name and image. But ultimately she did. And while this book is far from an autobiography, I feel like we’re taking a look at what Bettie could have been if she’d been given her chance.
Pacheco (cont.): I can’t speak for Bettie, and I honestly don’t think anyone should…but I am doing my damnedest to give her a story I feel she deserves. Also there are murder elephants in fancy hats…but that part’s just me. Really do love a good murder elephant in a fancy hat.
Bettie Page #1 will be available in June and will feature covers by Junggeun Yoon (Spider-Woman, Black Widow), Kano (Superman), Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn, Red Sonja), and an homage cover to Frank Miller from Stephen Mooney (Grayson). There is also a cosplay cover by Riki Le Coley and two photo covers of the real Bettie herself—one nice and one naughty. Check out Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more for digital issues.