Dynamite has sent us a new writer's commentary with David Avallone talking about Bettie Page #4. The book has two covers, A by Joseph Michael Linsner and B by Scott Chantler with interiors by Esau Figueroa and Bane Duncan Wade.
Chapter Four! Bettie finally meets the mysterious Doctor Elroy Benway! But remember… here there be spoilers, so read the issue and come back for the behind-the-scenes story.
The covers: Linsner delivers a gorgeous post-Halloween devil-girl pin-up of Bettie. Scott Chantler's paper dolls cover, with rocket pack, jungle girl and dominatrix options, is typically cheeky and hilarious. Buy an extra copy and cut out the dolls!
Pages One, Two, Three.
When we left our heroine, she and her friend Lyssa had fallen into the hands of Elroy Benway and the Sky Science cult, assembled in front of their operational flying saucer. Benway, as I've said previously, is a combination of a few real-world figures (not hard to guess who…) and gets his last name from the notorious character from William S. Burroughs NAKED LUNCH. Bettie, resourceful and charming girl, tries the old "go along with it" gambit.
Pages Four and Five.
In the narration, Bettie tells us that super-villains monologuing (to borrow Brad Bird's awesome word for it) is a cliché now because back in the day it used to happen all the time. Cop out or funny explanation? You make the call. Observant viewers will note that Bettie Page lives in a world where Ian Fleming and Doc Savage are real people she's heard of, who popularized the cliché in question.
Pages Six and Seven.
We finally find out what Elroy wants. Selling books? Only the beginning. Again, the lawyers would like me to remind you that any resemblance to real people living or dead is a complete coincidence, etc.
Pages Eight and Nine.
Letterer Taylor Esposito provides the ambient hum of the mind control machine, and colorist Brittany Pezzillo brings the unearthly glow.
A classic 1950s test pattern on the TV. For those of you under fifty years old, once upon a time TV stations used to "go off the air" late at night, and it's pretty late at night here. Also, Lyssa seems to know a little judo. I wonder who taught her that.
Owing to scheduling issues, this is the page where Esau Figueroa's art ends and Bane Duncan Wade's begins. I think they did a great job coordinating a consistent look for the book, without sacrificing their own talent. Lyssa and Bettie take down Callahan and Vega. I promise they deserved it.
Bettie realizes that Rick Chaplain still loves his wife, even though she betrayed him with Benway, and Lyssa doesn't have time for soap opera.
Bettie doesn't believe in cussing, hence "all heck" breaking loose. Marvin and Ellie (loosely based on my friends Marty and Elayne Roberts) show up with reinforcements to save the day. Surprise! They're spies too. You saw that coming, right?
Page Fourteen and Fifteen.
Bettie does something rash and brave and a little nuts. I've done a lot of research on the "real" Bettie in preparation for this series, and I think that aspect of her character is completely consistent with the Bettie I've read about.
This page, for some reason, ended up looking exactly the way it did in my imagination when I wrote the book. Pleasant surprises are always nice, but it's gratifying when the final page matches your idea perfectly. And the necklace comes back, first seen on page one of issue one. But it's more than a necklace, of course…
Pages Seventeen and Eighteen.
The saucer has made it all the way to Malibu. That thing moves fast! But it doesn't have to deal with the traffic on the 405.
Pages Nineteen and Twenty.
My wife, costume designer Penny Starr Jr., reminded me that leopard print underwear didn't really exist in 1951… but Bettie Page actually made a lot of her own clothes, and she was a pioneer… so my theory is that she made this set she's wearing. As for the gentleman with the towel… he's a character who appeared in a single long-forgotten novel in the 1960s. I leave it to inquiring minds to try and find him. Next time… my tribute to giant radioactive mutant movies!