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MIKE CAREY talks BARBARELLA #6, on sale in MAY!

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  • MIKE CAREY talks BARBARELLA #6, on sale in MAY!

    MIKE CAREY talks BARBARELLA #6, on sale in MAY from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: Mike, with Barbarella #6 coming in May, tell us what has been the most rewarding part of helping Dynamite bring Barbarella to comics?

    MIKE CAREY: She’s a wonderful character to write, and it’s a wonderful universe to play in. The storytelling in the original series is picaresque, with almost no explicit links drawn between the various adventures and very little backstory given to Barbarella herself. Like Doctor Who, she’s someone who wanders into situations and can’t resist the temptation to intervene, especially if she sees injustice or cruelty. So, you know – iconic character, blank canvas. The only thing I needed to make this the perfect gig was for the Dynamite office to install a 3D printer that prints pizzas.

    The other thing that was very cool was the sense I got from online discussion that a lot of readers had never encountered the character before. It was great to introduce her to a new generation.

    BB: As of the time of this interview, only three issues of Barbarella have hit stores. Thus far, is the story going as planned? I know how writing great characters and page count can change plans.

    MC: No story ever goes entirely as planned, and generally speaking that’s a good thing. Back when I started writing Lucifer I remember Neil Gaiman saying to me that any monthly book turns out to be an incredible amalgam of meticulous planning and serendipity. Obviously you go in with a plan – and my plans are pretty heavy on detail – but then once you’re writing all sorts of stuff just comes to you as you go along. A character will catch your imagination in a way you didn’t expect, or you’ll think of a better way to handle a beat. The story evolves.

    There’s a good example in Barbarella #6. I have a character, Pulver Glain, who calls his handgun Sally-Anne. Initially that was a throw-away beat, just to indicate that he’s the kind of massive dick who would give his gun a woman’s name. But then there’s a scene where he and his two sons are tooling up for a fight and I had an idea that would take that beat in a different direction. Sally-Anne becomes a character in her own right, both as a woman and as a gun.

    BB: What can you tell us about the Glain family?

    MC: They’re the bad guys in this current story. They’re prospectors hoping to make their fortune in the future equivalent of a gold rush – tough, terse, none too moral. Pulver Glain, the head of the family, is a bully and a cheat who rules over his sons absolutely. But his role and motivation become a little more nuanced as the story goes on and we get a little more of his history. He’s still not a likable man – in fact he’s as bad in his way as the misogynistic zealots on Parosia in our first arc – but we understand what made him the way he is. In the end he has to make a big choice, and there’s just the ghost of a possibility that he might do the decent thing for the first time in his life.

    BB: Barbarella encounters an intriguingly bizarre maze around the time of issue #6. What if anything can you tell us about it? (Aw, c’mon!)

    MC: I’m going to keep my cards close to my chest on this one. We already know that a few micrograms of R.U.S.T. can distort space-time. Now we get to see what it does in huge concentrations, and it’s pretty scary. But the big mystery is why this is happening – which includes the question of what R.U.S.T. is in the first place, and where it came from. Answers will be forthcoming, but Barbarella and her new best friend Vossamin will have to work for them.

    BB: Talk about the mind-blowing art of Kenan Yarar.

    MC: Well, thanks for that word! He really does blow my mind on a regular basis. His world-building is amazing. He’s constantly fleshing out a scene with wonderful, insane little details, giving a sense of the weirdness of the universe that Barbarella takes absolutely as a given. And his handling of her as a character goes from strength to strength. I wanted very much to portray her as someone who is compassionate but at the same time very robust, emotionally. She remains standing in the face of everything fate can throw at her, and she remains herself. That soft strength, for want of a better way of putting it, comes across beautifully in the way Kenan draws her.

    BB: Mike, what other projects might you be involved with?

    MC: I’ve got a new novel coming out from Orbit later this year – a supernatural-tinged thriller called Someone Like Me. And my latest collaboration with the awesome Peter Gross, The Highest House, is out from IDW next week, which is really exciting. We released it in France last year through Glenat, but this will be the first English language edition. All the episodes of Houses Of the Holy are also still up on the Madefire app, if anyone wants to check those out. Dave Kendall’s painted art on that series is incredible.