Interview: Jones & Rich Talk “Lady Killer” Inspiration & More

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Joelle Jones & Jamie Rich’s new Dark Horse series “Lady Killer” had one of the most well received debuts in recent memory. People have already called it the miniseries of the year and we’re only in February. Josie is a housewife with a secret – she’s a killer for hire. How she balances her “normal” life with her secret life is the core of this story. We had the opportunity to talk to both Jones and Rich about inspiration and where the series is going.

Geeked Out Nation: So how did “Lady Killer” come together?

Jamie S. Rich: It began a couple of years ago now as an idea of Joëlle’s. She pitched it to me as something we could develop together, and at the time, it was a really solid concept, right from the get-go. The whole “1960s housewife moonlighting as a n assassin” idea. She had a lot of ideas about how she got into the life and the dynamic for the series, and we batted them back and forth for a while. When the book ended up at Dark Horse, she then took all that and distilled it and refashioned it into what you’ve been reading.

GON: After reading the first issue, I was really interested in how Josie balances her double life. She seems very comfortable in both. You don’t see her acting off or “out of place” in either role. It kind of reflects what a lot of women still do daily except her balancing act involves killing people. Could you talk about that and whether or not we’ll see her struggle with this as the series progresses?

Joelle Jones: I think the struggle with balancing her life is a very human problem, just a bit more fantastical. I know a lot of women feel the need to be many different things in order to get through life and I thought it would be fun to play with those ideas and make them the central concern of the story.

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GON: What is it about this time period that makes it so special? Why not set the story in the 70’s for example.

JR: The story is set before a lot of the social change that is to come. Civil rights, Vietnam, the Equal Rights Amendment–life is about to take a dramatic turn for everyone living in America. Joëlle’s original idea had a lot to do with the particular dynamic of American households at the time, and what it was like to be a housewife in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. During World War II, women found a lot of satisfaction joining the workforce while the men were overseas; post-war, college became a place to find a husband. Women would leave school to go form a family and, even if they completed their education, not really put them to use. Meanwhile, the technology of homemaking was changing, too, so it was easier to take care of the house and a lot of women had more time on their hands than they expected. It created a certain malaise, a certain rot behind the pretty facade, that gave us a really fascinating character foundation for a woman to take on such an out-of-the-norm job.

Plus, the visual aesthetic I think appeals to us both. The style of illustration, the fashion, all that stuff, appeals to us both.

GON: Artistically a lot of people have compared “Lady Killer” to Mad Men. Joelle, what were some influences for you?

JJ: Mostly it was the ads and illustrations and comics of the era. I have been collecting them for years and being able to live in that visual world has been so much fun for me!

JR: I’m a movie buff, too, and so I think looking back at old movies comes into play for me. The idea that we can pick out details we might like from something like Charade, that’s definitely fun. When we were first planning the series, we actually had a couple of sessions where we got on Skype and fired up Netflix at the same time and chatted through some old favorites about the flavor of the series.

GON: And when it comes to how Josie fights, is there anything specific you looked at? It was very Black Widow to me. Very clean, precise and planned out.

JJ: I watch a lot of MMA and krav maga, I also love action films. When I write a fight scene blocking it out is one of my favorite things. I find myself going a little crazy and always having to scale back just so I have room for other things.

GON: “Lady Killer” could be a dour kind of story but when I finished reading the first issue, I noticed a nice amount of dark humor. How do you keep things on the lighter side without getting too dark?

JJ: One of the things I set out to do with this book was have a good time. I don’t want to take it to seriously and for the most part only write it for myself. If I am not entertained than what is the point?

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