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DF Interview: Joëlle Jones sharpens her knives, wit for Lady Killer
By Byron Brewer
Who can turn the world on with her smile? Why, it’s that homemaker in the ‘50s wide skirts, high heels and pearls.
No, not June Cleaver. Josie Schuller.
And not only can Josie iron a straight pleat and make the perfect soufflé. She is also a deadly, ruthless and accurate killer.
It is into this world of black comedy that cartoonist Joëlle Jones and her associates will take readers of Dark Horse Comics’ new Lady Killer title in January.
Dynamic Forces met with Jones at a local thrift store and wormed this information out of the multi-talented writer/artist.
Dynamic Forces: Joëlle, you've worked at DC, Marvel and other companies. Tell us how you got involved in cartooning and comics.
Joëlle Jones: I started just after I dropped out of art school. I really had nothing to lose so I went to a local convention for a portfolio review. I got really lucky some people liked my work and I’ve managed to continue to keep getting jobs.
DF: Tell us about the origins of your new Dark Horse book, Lady Killer.
Joëlle Jones: It all came out of a love for vintage advertising. I have been collecting old ads for some time now and I even go to antique shops to search for my favorite artists. I especially love the really sexist ads! I started to get a large pile of them at my house and thought I should really do something constructive with my hobby, so I found a way to create and live in that world for a while.
DF: Describe the world as seen through the eyes of your protagonist, Josie Schuller.
Joëlle Jones: I sort of see Josie as, on the surface, the perfect 1950s woman. She cleans, cooks, is always in heels and makeup and does everything with a smile, but I am drawn to stories about the darker side of human nature and she has a very dark side. I like the idea of someone who is confidant about who they are, but is also compelled to keep secrets from the people in her life.
DF: How did Julie become such a good homemaker, and such a proficient killer?
Joëlle Jones: I’m gonna keep that one a secret for now. I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.
DF: Was it hard designing a book which is perfect for your art: everything meticulous, from how clothes hang on a body to how a knife protrudes from a corpse?
Joëlle Jones: The designing part was not hard at all, I relish it! The problem is that I sort of have to rein it in sometimes because I get so excited to draw the next idea that I can lose focus in the moment.
DF: Is it difficult to maintain a black comedy feeling to a book? Almost reminiscent of some of Hitchcock's films.
Joëlle Jones: I’m not sure. I guess it will be for other people to judge whether or not I have been successful at it. For now I just try to entertain myself first and just hope other people will enjoy it.
DF: Explain your methods of sharing writing responsibilities with Jamie S. Rich.
Joëlle Jones: This book has been a completely different process for us. I am pretty much taking over the writing duties. Then I turn it in, get some notes from my editor Scott Allie and from Jamie. Next is to draw the thing and I tweak the script as I go. Jamie then adds some finesse to the final dialogue, then off to Crank for letters then to Laura Allred for colors.
DF: Are there ever any criticisms Joëlle the Writer has about Joëlle the Artist, or vice versa?
Joëlle Jones: Joëlle the Writer bugs the shit out of Joëlle the Artist and vice versa. I tend to get really excited about writing really intricate scenes with lots of people having their own little stories and dramas. I write thinking, Won’t this be lovely to look at? But when it comes time to draw and my schedule has gotten tight, I curse myself for ever thinking that was a good idea. Joëlle the Writer needs to start making every scene happen inside a small dark room with one person just so I can draw the thing faster.
DF: Today there is a growing number of women writers, artists and leading characters in comics. Is this a trend you see continuing?
Joëlle Jones: Sure. People seem to like reading books with good stories no matter what the gender is of the writer, artist or character. So I definitely see that trend continuing.
DF: Joëlle, at the end of the day, what do you hope readers take away from Lady Killer?
Joëlle Jones: I just hope people have fun reading it. That’s all I’m really shooting for. I’m having fun writing it and I hope that comes across in the story.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Joëlle Jones for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. Lady Killer hits stores in January 2015!
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