Leah Moore, writer of Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris/Irene Adler #1, talks with Byron Brewer about the book, on sale now. Cover art by Jay Anacleto and Fabiano Neves.
LEAH MOORE: I am beyond excited about this event. When I was told that Dynamite was going to let us loose with all their female characters, and she [Gail Simone] was going to get female writers, I knew then it would be amazing. When you see the talent we have on the books, you know the characters are all in safe hands, and all we have to do is wait and see how mighty Puppetmaster Gail pulls it all together! I am so honored to be asked into that gang, I think we're all going to ride Choppers together and rob liquor stores…that's the San Diego plan anyway.
BB: Within the very limited scope of a three-issue miniseries, what were the challenges of bringing two strong-willed characters like Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler together? Beyond that, was there any unexpected fun?
LM: The challenge is giving each of them room to breathe and let the readers get to know them, that way when they clash, it's not just two mannequins, it's two people the reader is invested in. The funniest thing ever was the dialogue. Dejah Thoris in London. Does she skulk about all upset and worried? Does she shy away from all the big tough villains? Hell no! She's totally regal and taking care of business just as she would on Barsoom, it's London that has to mind its manners. Likewise Irene Adler doesn't miss a beat when she finds herself on Barsoom. Her mind is just as quick even surrounded by eight legged animals and green men.
BB: Give us your take on these two iconic characters.
LM: Irene Adler is the total package. She's a fixer, a brilliant mind, a markswoman who has no fear whatsoever, and relishes a fresh challenge and the thrill of the chase. Her worst nightmare is being sat still, with nothing to do.
Dejah Thoris is a woman with the weight of a world on her shoulders, as she rules Barsoom, and ponders the safe return of her husband. She is short tempered as only a truly regal person can afford to be, and yet she has a powerful sense of social justice. She is not a decorative bride for a powerful man, she's a woman who inspires equal measures of fear and respect.
BB: Can you tell us in a non-spoilery way how what happens to Dejah and Irene in this book figures into the overall Swords of Sorrow storyline?
LM: Okay, well in Swords of Sorrow #1 we saw a whole lot of swords being delivered and a whole lot of things ending up in worlds where they really shouldn't be. This story is what happens on Barsoom and in London immediately after Tars Tarkas is whizzed off to another world, and the huge statue of Sonja appears in a Barsoomian canyon. Some Barsoomian wildlife has found a way across time and space, and now stalks very different prey in the Victorian streets of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's London, while on Barsoom, the people of Helium prepare themselves to deal with the mystery invaders that must surely be about to arrive. Is all this connected to John Carter's disappearance? Who is the man in the desert, and what does he want from them?
My miniseries just fleshes out a tiny part of the main story, just two of the many awesome women who find themselves flung together!
BB: What was it like working with artist Francesco Manna?
LM: Francesco is a total pro, his pages are a true delight to get in my inbox. He creates a London that I totally believe, and the acting of his characters is just brilliant. To be honest, I took my hat off to him for not quitting when we got to the eight-legged horses. Nobody would have blamed him…
BB: Aside from Dejah and Irene, any other female hero you would like to take a crack at in a solo book? And if it were a team-up, who would the two ladies be?
LM: I'm finding it hard to imagine more fun than Irene Adler. For a solo book I would send her off across the world chasing a big shady group through all kinds of exotic Victorian locations. Like a Victorian female James Bond, who wouldn't get pushed off the Reichenbach Falls, she would totally dive off them, and climb out the other side with a knife in her teeth. I would write the heck out of that, no problem. Pith helmets, sailing ships, hot air balloons and opium dens. Yes please.
For a team-up, I would probably cross Irene over with Mina Harker from our Dracula books. Mina is a happily married woman at the end of Stoker's book, with a solicitor husband and some inherited real estate, but to be honest, I can't see that being the happy ever after of her story. She is way too curious and too full of ingenuity to let a world where Vampires exist be something she just accepts and gets on with her embroidery. She would be out there collecting ancient documents, going through news archives, and sending messages to far flung outposts of the empire on her telegraph line. She and Adler would be my dream book. You can sort that out for me, right? That was the deal, wasn't it? Hey, where are you going?!
BB: To check out the eight-legged horses, of course. I'm from Kentucky!
For more on Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1, click here.