A Writer's Commentary: Corinna Bechko on Miss Fury #1, on sale today from Dynamite. Interior art is by Jonathan Lau.
It was important to me that we meet Marla at work, because so much of the story is about her various identities, and what she does for a living is a very important to her. As a writer, I'm always fascinated by that aspect of people's lives. How you approach your work, and the kind of work you wish you were doing, says a lot about you.
I also wanted to make sure and get right into the story, which kicks off with a break-in. Why waste time when you can get to know someone through action instead?
I need to take a moment right away to mention Jonathan Lau's art here, thought. I'm thrilled we got to work together, and I think you get a sense of Marla right from the start here, before she says a word, thanks to the way he handles her movements and expressions.
Enter Miss Fury! Like I said, right into the action. Marla's life is divided. That's the most important thing to know about her. And here we get introduced to the second part of her life.
Here we see that the thieves are focusing on something non-traditional. They're not after money or art, they're stealing plans. This will be important later, and I really like how Jonathan emphasizes that in the last panel.
A lot more action, as Miss Fury shows these creeps what she's made of. I'm a big fan of using the environment to tell the story, so we learn a bit about Marla's workplace through the items that are being smashed. There goes a drafting table, and a stool… Hopefully Marla's firm has good insurance.
Meanwhile, the stolen documents are getting away! Hopefully, since we met Marla working late at her office, the reader will already feel like this is personal for her, and that losing these will hurt. Having known the pain of a computer crash eating a ton of hard work, it was easy for me to imagine how hard Marla would try to recapture the plans.
No such luck, though. The thief gets away. I love how Jonathan shows us New York here. The details are wonderful. And I'm especially happy with how the last panel on this page turned out. Miss Fury looks so disheveled as she finally calls the police. Fighting criminals is hard. It wouldn't leave you looking glamorous.
Back to normal life, where no one knows that Marla Drake is Miss Fury. You can tell from this page that I love old films and have watched a lot of them. The fact that this story is set in the 40s allowed me to finally use my storehouse of period slang.
Keep your eye on Clive though. There's a reason he gets a two-panel entrance.
Here, we finally learn what was stolen, but we still don't know why. There's a lot of dialogue on this page compared to any previous page, because this is the first place we get a breather from all the action. This is also setting up the central mystery and most of the key players, so I tried to slow the pace down a bit.
And here we get a bit more background about what Marla's work really is. We also learn about the stickiness of drafting dots, something that will be important later. And in case you are wondering, yes I did do my research, and I learned that drafting dots were used this early. One of the biggest problems with writing period stories for me is my tendency to fall down research holes and learn many too many useless facts and details beyond what is needed to tell the story.
More important than even those dots, we find out that Mr. Corey seems to know more about Marla than she knows about herself…
Which leads into a flashback, so that we can learn something about why Marla leads a double life.
We also see a bit of how hard it was to be a woman with a job in the 40s. Many women had careers then, of course, but it was even harder then to work in a male-dominated field than it is now. Casual prejudice was rampant.
So is it any wonder that Marla has some pent up aggression? I hoped to show with this sequence that she is type of person you could imagine becoming Miss Fury – that her crusading persona didn't spring out of nothing.
I really like what Jonathan did with this page. It's just two people sitting at a bar, but he elevated it into a fully realized scene.
And we're back from the flashback, as Marla has trouble integrating the two sides of her life. Even as she protests that she isn't Miss Fury, she's already following up clues that will lead her right back into the fray.
Bonus fact: there really was a Blossom Restaurant on the Bowery. One of my favorite hobbies is reading about the history of NYC, so putting some of that into this book was fun for me. You don't need to know which parts are historical references to understand the story, of course, but hopefully some of my affection for the city comes across. Extra bonus fact: one of my favorite current places to eat in NYC is also called Blossom. They make a great vegan Caesar salad, something you probably wouldn't have found in the 40s era Blossom.
It's the return of the wayward drafting dot! After I did all that drafting dot research, I wasn't about to not let them be a story point.
And we're back to action! Just so you know, "Woman of the Year" really was playing at Radio City at this time. That coincidence was just too good to pass up.
But what's this? Could such a patriotic spectacle really hide a nefarious plot? I figured Marla wouldn't hesitate to find out. I think that if you decide to become a costumed hero, you are probably the kind of person who pursues a lead doggedly, no matter what. Easily dissuaded people probably don't become caped crime fighters.
We've already had a fight and some action in this issue, so I wanted to take this encounter in a different direction so things wouldn't get repetitive. And so the weapon used against Miss Fury here is exposure, the very thing she least wants to face.
I always try to include scenes about friendship whenever I can, especially friendships between women. This is an important part of life, and one that can get easily overlooked when writing a book that's about action. Happily, the original Miss Fury had a good friend as well as a cat. To understand Marla as a character I wanted to show her home life, and introduce the two characters that help her keep her equilibrium when she's not working or fighting crime.
Of course, any quiet, dialogue-heavy page had better be doing a couple of things at once, so here we have a couple of new ideas introduced that send Marla back out into the city. Good thing Peri is such a patient cat.
Miss Fury's back on the job, seeing yet another facet of NYC. We had a bit of downtime, so it's time to ramp back up to some action…
And some scares…
Until we reveal the twist at the end! Ending on a cliffhanger is always good, but in this case it's less of a "how will she live through this?" ending and more of a "how is that possible?" ending. Hopefully readers will want to return next month and find out the answer…
For more on Miss Fury Vol 2 #1, click here.