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Marguerite Bennett Discusses Swords of Sorrow with Ron Marz

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  • Marguerite Bennett Discusses Swords of Sorrow with Ron Marz

    Ron Marz, writer of John Carter, Warlord of Mars #9, talks with writer Marguerite Bennett about Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja and Jungle Girl #1, both on sale now!

    RON MARZ: This is pulpy stuff, in the best sense of the word. Are you a fan of the pulps, which in a lot of ways were the precursors to superhero comics?

    MARGUERITE BENNETT: Awww, thank you, Ron! When I was little, I was a huge fan of the pulp covers on the 35 cent novels in my granddad’s house--I was never allowed to read any of them, but the pictures were so evocative that they stuck with me for a very long time. Even as a kid, I would try to piece together or imagine the story that could lead to whatever scene was being depicted on the cover (usually a woman in a red dress with a smoking gun, or a woman in a red dress being attacked by a wild animal, or a woman in a red dress swooning in the arms of a dangerous man. Lots of red dresses). That visual element is still dear to me.

    RM: We've got a classic "heroes fight and then team up" meeting. Obviously, it's a trope, but things become tropes because they work. Did you have any doubts about going with the expected fight/team up moment?

    MB: Funny you should ask--the title of the mini was originally Red Sonja VS Jungle Girl, not Red Sonja AND Jungle Girl, so the script came out of serving the conceit of the name of the book. After it was altered, I still liked the meeting because it was in character. Jungle Girl is normally much more curious and welcoming, but she's skittish and jittery right now with the crisis that's occurring on the island. Sonja is usually more cunning and cautious, but she's already tumbled through multiple worlds and is learning that far too many things in them want to kill her. I also just liked the antagonism because it seemed to make them sweeter in their tentative and faintly apologetic friendship (and you'll get to see Sonja being much more of a big sister to Jana as we go on).

    RM: Being part of big crossover is kind of a rite of passage for writers. And I think it's an increasingly important tool in a writer's toolbox, with the prevalence of crossover stories publishers are doing. How do you enjoy the process?

    MB: I think that's very true and very sensible, given the requirements of the medium these days. I enjoy it quite a lot, actually! I think this event was wonderfully orchestrated by Gail and our entire team. It incorporated wonderful talent against the backbone of the central book, but gave each writer freedom to craft an independent story accessible to readers who weren't even following the full event, but wanted to jump in and out for their favorite characters. I think it hit a very important balance between making a cohesive universe and not micromanaging one another's stories--it's been a wonderfully pleasant experience.

    RM: Ten-year-old me is wondering if there will be more dinosaurs in ensuing issues. Truthfully, adult me is wondering the same thing.

    MB: All things should have more dinosaurs. Next issue, we have a velociraptor chariot race. Mirka Andolfo, my fantastic artist, can make absolutely anything pulpy, wild fun. Even though we have two women in fur and chainmail bikinis fighting and flirting on the island of dinosaurs, her work always keeps it buoyant, tongue in cheek, the most cheerful of cheesecake. Mirka's been a blast to work with; she and Erica Schultz (who managed lettering and production files) really kept us moving through the whole process.

    RM: Now that's a cliffhanger! I always feel like it's hugely important to have that hook at the end of an issue. How do you go about planning your cliffhangers?

    MB: Ha! You are too kind. I tend to write out the whole of the story and then go back and section things off--try to end on a moment where, if this specific moment happened, I would not be able to resist picking up the next issue. I don't like revelations as much as momentum--something that sweeps us immediately into the next scene. Mistress Hel might not have the visual recognition to lure readers back--but I hope a gigantic murderous ice worm will.

    Make sure to check out Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja and Jungle Girl #1, on sale now! Check out the rest of the preview below.