Rob Williams started off as a freelance journalist and creator of corporate videos before he did Cla$$war for Com.X. Since then he's worked for Marvel, Dark Horse, 2000AD and Dynamite Entertainment. Jai Nitz chatted with the writer about his very different take on a golden age heroine.
Jai Nitz: Rob, I know you best from your self-published Cla$$war and 2000AD work (which are all fantastic) and now you're writing Miss Fury at Dynamite. What was your first encounter with the American Golden Age heroes?
ROB WILLIAMS: Thanks! My first encounter with Golden Age… I'm not sure. I guess it would be Marvel stuff when I was a kid. I remember being fascinated to find out that there was an original Human Torch and feeling it was pretty tragic that he became the Vision (heh). I loved The Invaders as a kid. Of course, you have no idea at the time that these are Golden Age characters. Sub Mariner etc. When I got a little older I had a soft spot for DC's All Star Squadron. It's a rich era to play in.
JN: How did you come to Dynamite and Miss Fury? Your first work at Dynamite was Robocop. I can't think of a concept much further from a non-superpowered heroine.
RW: That was a few years back now. But yeah, it was Robocop, I think. I believe Andy Diggle mentioned me to the guys at Dynamite, and I dropped them a line about possible work. They offered me Robocop, which was a lot of fun. Very close to that 2000AD attitude and aethetic that I know really well. Very close to Dredd, of course. Some might say it's EXTREMELY close to Dredd. Dynamite's always been good people to work for, in my experience.
JN: What was the original hook in the character Miss Fury that got you started?
RW: Well, Nick Barrucci asked me if I was aware of the character, and then it was up to me to pitch. One of the good things about working for Dynamite is they give you a lot of creative freedom, which I think is probably their appeal with creators. If they like your pitch, they'll offer a few pointers, of course, but they don't insist that a book goes in this or that direction. I started playing around with her time-travelling from the 40s to 2013, but then you realise that's been done to death. So, I thought, wouldn't it be more interesting to do a non-linear time travel story, where she's constantly being thrown back and fore through time, and you get this jigsaw puzzle effect of her personality as a result. It's more challenging but a lot more fun for the writer, and hopefully for the reader.
JN: Miss Fury is a dimension-hopping, violent, period piece. LOL. I think it's amazing that you're putting in a ton of pulp-craziness and pulling it off without a hitch. Are you planning more insanity for the future?
RW: Yeah, we have things coming up like the Philadelphia Experiment, a Mob boss who's convinced himself that he's a superhero (I like him a lot) and a behind-enemy-lines mission into Nazi Germany that's aiming for a time travel laboratory. For me, these kinds of storylines are lot more interesting that if we'd taken the easy route and made Miss Fury a Catwoman-lite jewel thief.
JN: Talk about your process writing a Dynamite script. How is it different from a 2000AD script?
RW: It's really not that different, aside from it being 20 pages rather than five or six pages per episode. I'll flatplan the episode out, mark down the act breaks, usually note on which pages certain actions will occur, then I go to script. You've structured it that way, you know which markers you have to hit and when. But that's largely how I work on every script. And theme is big for me. That's the spine of your story.
JN: Talk about Jackson Herbert and what he brings to the table. I love his stuff.
RW: Yeah, Jackson's a star in the making. There's so much hyperbole in comic interviews, but genuinely. Take a look at Miss Fury #7 and some of those panels are high, HIGH level comic art. And he's getting better all the time. He brings so much to the book. He's brilliant at the pulp mood stuff, his era reference panels can be stunning to. The opening panel of Miss Fury #7 is Manhattan, 1943, and he makes it look so evocative. And he draws beautiful women. He's one to watch.
JN: What's next for you at Dynamite? What other projects do you have upcoming?
RW: Nothing definite lined up at Dynamite yet. Hope to do more with them. I have several other projects on the way though. I have a six-issue series coming from Vertigo in February, THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR, which is kind of Downton Abbey meets the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. Stunning art by Si Coleby on that. I'm writing two issues of Marvel's Revolutionary War mini-series, KNIGHTS OF PENDRAGON and SUPER SOLDIERS, I have a few Judge Dredds I'm excited about in 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine, including one with RM Guera. And in April my and D'israeli's creator-owned series ORDINARY debuts from Titan. D'israeli's a genius and I think that might be the best thing I've written in my career. I'm hoping people check it out.
Miss Fury #7 is available now.
Jai Nitz is a writer in his own right having written for Marvel, DC, Image and currently Dynamite on Grimm: The Warlock debuting next month.