RON MARZ: I think one of the necessary aspects in a "team-up" kind of story is drawing a contrast between the main characters, and you're doing a great job of contrasting Sonja and Jana. Was that something you set out to do, or a natural consequence of the story?
MARGUERITE BENNETT: Thank you kindly! I think it began as natural, and then as I worked, their balance and harmony became a theme that then became sort of the primary thesis of the story. It intensifies as it goes along-- Sonja is worldly, Jana sheltered; Sonja is flirty and confident, Jana innocent and uncertain; Sonja has a quick temper, while Jana is patient. They balance each other and bring out good qualities in one another. Jana solves problems by asking questions, but is backed up by Sonja's capacity for action, and Sonja's affection for Jana bolsters Jana's own confidence.
RM: There are a number of multi-panel spreads in the issue. Did you specifically ask for those in the script, or are they something Mirka Andolfo brought to the table?
MB: I am a sucker for double page spreads and splashes, unfortunately. There are always about 2 or 3 of each in my drafts, though they often get edited down. I feel like I'm always going to be a reader first, and I delighted over double page spreads as a fan. I love comics as works of art, especially when they play with the medium. There's no equivalent in novels of a double page spread or splash. In movies, the image doesn't suddenly change dimension and expand into a massive new wide-wide-widescreen. I am grateful for the artists who are so patient with my infatuation with structure.
RM: Can you talk a bit about how Mirka's art fits your vision for the story?
MB: Mirka is a DOLL to work with, honestly. She brings such buoyancy and charm and zaniness to the story. From the beginning, we just wanted this to be pulpy, campy, and fun, and she adds such a sweetness and sincerity to the characters, especially Jana. You know from the start that this is going to be a fun, quippy little story. It reminds me a bit of the opening song from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"--
"Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns;
Bring on the lovers, liars and clowns!
Nothing portentous or polite--
That's what pulp is to me.
RM: There's a bit of a fourth-wall breaking moment in the issue, though I won't spoil by being more specific. What prompted you to include that kind of wink to the reader?
MB: It was a chance to make a joke I could never make in any other circumstance, in any other comic, or with any other company. If that opportunity was never going to pass my way again, I wanted to pounce while the pouncing was good! We're irreverent in this book. What we love, we tease.
RM: Can you tease us a bit about the conclusion coming up in issue #3?
MB: The third issue is our most straight-shot adventure. We've got battles and chases and mysteries in the hearts of mountains. Still fun and frolicsome as far as "the fate of every living thing on this island hangs in the balance" can be, I hope.
Make sure to check out SWORDS OF SORROW: RED SONJA/JUNGLE GIRL which is now on sale, and check out the rest of the preview below.