Introducing the New Bettie Page Comics!

by: Tori Rodriguez, Editor

Most Bettie fans are familiar with Dave Stevens’ Bettie-based character in The Rocketeer comic book series that debuted in the 80’s and inspired a 1991 movie by Walt Disney Pictures. In fact, his depictions of her are largely credited with jumpstarting Bettie’s surge in fame decades after she quit modeling and disappeared from the public eye. Since then, Bettie has been the muse for several other comics, including those illustrated by Jim Silke for Dark Horse Comics, as well as The Betty Pages, illustrated by Greg Theakston and published by Black Cat Comics.

After a long hiatus from the comics universe, Dynamite Entertainment (http://www.dynamite.com) is bringing Bettie back for some fun, fictionalized adventures that weave in bits of her real-life experience and personality. Bettie Page #1 is slated for release on July 26, 2017. I checked in with writer David Avallone and Janie Mackenzie, marketing coordinator at Dynamite, to find out what this exciting new series has in store for Bettie lovers.

New Bettie Page comic, first issue cover variant by Joseph Michael Linsner (courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment)

TR: I know that Bettie fans are going to be thrilled to see these fresh Bettie comics. What led to their creation?

JM: We’re always on the hunt for new and exciting licenses and properties, so when the opportunity to publish a Bettie Page series came along, we jumped at the chance to bring her inspiring persona to the page!

DA: For me it started the way it always does, with an email from Dynamite executive editor Joseph Rybandt. He asked if I would be interested in writing a Bettie Page comic, and I’m sure he was pretty confident as to what my answer would be. Joe had some thoughts on the basic tone, wanted it to be a period mystery/adventure–something fun and pulpy. I came back with a pitch called The Secret Diary of Bettie Page, and he gave me a green light.  

TR: Tell us a bit about what we can look forward to when we get our hands on these comics.

JM: I think fans will be happy to see a brand-new narrative with Bettie firmly in charge as she encounters some wild adventures. It’s going to be particularly interesting to see her in this leading lady role, and how her historically well-known strengths, talents and ambitions are applied to these fictional exploits. I can say with all confidence that writer David Avallone was the absolute perfect selection for this project, because he has a very intuitive insight into women, and has just the right sensitivity to really bring their stories to the page. I would not hesitate to refer to David as one of the most active feminists I’ve met–and fans can feel safe that he will pay the proper respects to Bettie’s personality, character and lasting influence on our society.

When it came to selecting the creators, we knew we needed a team that could capture a very specific visual style and tone, while also having the ability to really express the strength behind one of pop culture’s most iconic female heroines. Executive editor Joseph Rybandt summed it up best: “Colton [Worley] was an easy pick for his style, and I knew he could do a superb job on Bettie herself. Setting and tone were something I wrestled with and then the idea hit me, and with this epiphany came David, as I knew he could handle the tone I wanted, and breathe life into my story fragment, which was a time and a setting more than anything else.”

DA: What I pitched to Joe was Bettie in Hollywood in 1951. A photoshoot in New York City goes wrong, and Bettie decides to go to Los Angeles with a handsome stranger. In tone, it’s like a Hitchcock adventure or the Audrey Hepburn movie Charade–a charming civilian gets caught up in spies and conspiracies and early 1950’s craziness. Fun and fast-moving, but with high stakes. I’m trying to touch on everything about that period in history and culture that I find interesting and funny.  

New Bettie Page comic, first issue cover variants by Terry Dodson and Scott Chantler (courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment)

TR: How are the comics inspired by Bettie other than visually?

DA: I came to the project very familiar with Bettie as an icon and as a person. Even so, before I sat down to write, I watched the documentary Bettie Page Reveals All http://bettiepagemovie.com one more time. There are a lot of Bettie docs, but Bettie herself narrates that one, and listening to her voice inspired me to do the comic in first person singular. I knew it would be a challenge–I am not a Southern belle by any stretch of the imagination. Bettie didn’t drink or smoke or use profanity, and I am a fan of the first and third of those. But I felt like I could capture her particular charm, and I wanted the audience to be let in on her thoughts and feelings directly. Bettie was smart and sassy and funny, and I wanted to convey that to modern audiences. 

New Bettie Page comic, interior pages illustrated by Colton Worley (courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment)

TR: Where can we find these gems for purchase?

JM: Bettie fans will be able to pick up a copy at their local comic shop on July 26, 2017. If they aren’t familiar with their closest retailer, they can search online by visiting http://www.comicshoplocator.com/storelocator or by calling 1-888-COMIC-BOOK. If fans are interested in a digital copy, they’ll be able to purchase and download from www.comixology.com

TR: What are the plans for additional issues in the series?

JM: Currently, this is set for a four-issue run through October, with a new issue each month. By next spring, fans will be able to pick up the trade paperback, which will collect all four issues in one book. We very much look forward to hearing what fans have to say about the series, and hopefully with their support, we’ll be able to continue bringing Bettie to print for a long time to come.

DA: Me personally, I would love to continue writing Bettie in further adventures, including crossovers with some other Dynamite characters I’ve written, like Vampirella, Doc Savage or The Shadow.

New Bettie Page comic, second and third issue cover variants by Joseph Michael Linsner and Scott Chantler (courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment)

TR: As a Bettie fan, what drew you to her, and what are some of the things you love about her?

JM: I was introduced to Bettie Page around the age of 16 when there was a resurgence of the pinup style in the late 90’s. I’m a huge history buff, so when I discovered her, I was blown away by what she was able to accomplish during her era. It completely inspired me to live my truest life without concern for what anyone else thought: Be unique, be yourself, constantly fight for what you believe in, explore new adventures, break new boundaries and forever work to be a trailblazer for all the generations of females that will come after you. Without the influence of Bettie Page at such a pivotal moment in my development, I may not have had the courage to always be me! 

DA: Like a lot of people my age, I first encountered Dave Stevens’ version of Bettie in the pages of The Rocketeer back in the 1980’s. Since then I’ve read and seen a lot about her, and she’s always been an impressive, attractive and iconic figure. What comes across most strongly to me over the years is that she was a self-possessed woman, a woman who never was ashamed of herself–despite the societal pressure to give in to that feeling–and who kept on fighting with a smile when life handed her some terrible luck. The real Bettie was tough without being coarse, sharp without being mean, strong without losing sensitivity or kindness. That’s the definition of a real hero. She was extraordinary, and it’s a great honor to be chosen to bring all that to life.

1 reply
  1. Mark Whitehead says:

    Terry Dodson couldn’t think of a cover of his own, so he basically copied a panel from Dave Stevens’ original Rocketeer.

    Reply

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