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  • DAVID AVALLONE talks BETTIE PAGE #1, on sale in JULY!

    DAVID AVALLONE talks BETTIE PAGE #1, on sale in JULY from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: As a bit of a media historian, would you please tell our readers who Bettie Page is … the REAL one and the FICTIONAL one?

    DAVID AVALLONE: Long story short… the “real” Bettie Page was a nice Southern woman, very lovely, who lived through some rough times, was an amazing natural talent on camera and had a brief modeling career which left an indelible impression on the minds and hearts of everyone who ever saw her picture. She vanished into obscurity for a long time, and was revived by a comic book artist in the eighties, returning to pop culture prominence and fame, up to her death.

    The “fictional” Bettie Page is identical to the real one… except we meet her at the very dawn of her modeling career and speculate that some incredible things happened to her in 1951, which she never told anyone about.

    BB: When you first started this project, how difficult was it to conceive a compelling narrative for a miniseries around this iconic “pinup queen”? What kind of historic research (for which you are noted) did you do in meeting this challenge?

    DA: When Dynamite’s Joe Rybandt contacted me about this one he gave me no constraints except “four issue comic book series about Bettie Page.” I already knew a lot about her, but decided to refresh my memory. I watched the documentary BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL again, which is narrated entirely by interviews with the real Bettie. Hearing that voice again helped me decide that I’d let her tell the story in first person narrative style.

    Based on her life, I decided 1951 was a good year to use: before her career really kicked into high gear. I’m using some of her real life and real romantic relationships for the story, but I made the decision that all of the characters besides Bettie should be fictional.

    Once I chose 1951 as the time, I was reminded of some research I’d done about certain characters and events in Southern California after World War Two, and decided to use some of that as the basis for the actual story. But again… all very fictionalized.

    BB: That is amazing! … And what can you tell us about the iteration of Bettie Page which will be appearing in the new comic from Dynamite?

    DA: She is – I hope – very much like the real Bettie. Smart, funny, surprising and tough. In our story she gets involved with all sorts of very early-fifties intrigue. Spies and cults and flying saucers and Hollywood.

    BB: Are there any other interesting characters we should be on the lookout for in this first issue, coming out in July?

    DA: She falls in with a brilliant, eccentric scientist named Rick Chaplain. He might strike some as a “Tony Stark” type, and he is, in the sense that Tony himself was based on some real-world people and Rick is based on a few of those same and similar people. I won’t give away who exactly, but one was an actual boyfriend of Bettie’s. The other main inspiration for Rick can be figured out from the fact that he’s one of the founders of a Southern California company named Pasadena AeroSpace Technologies. Science and history fans will probably be able to figure out who’s who, and what real history I’m referencing.

    BB: Speaking as we were of historic research, what did you do to establish the time period, etc. for this mini? Why the beginning of the 1950s?

    DA: I do love writing period comics, but someday I would like to write something where I don’t have to do quite so much research. For this one, even a simple thing like “what kind of plane would you fly to get from NY to LA” takes a few minutes with Google. (The answer: a Lockheed Superconstellation.)

    Why 1951? For starters, I wanted it to be before Bettie’s career really took off, where she could do crazy stuff without anyone knowing/remembering. 1951. Also, 1951 falls during the transition from the atomic age to the space age, the flying saucer craze, the cold war, the slow death of the movie studios and the rise of low budget independents… just so many things to play with. And I’m trying to get as much of that in as I can.

    And as for the location… I’ve lived in Hollywood, California for 30 years and it’s nice to write something that happens in my own backyard.

    BB: How is it working with artist Colton Worley?

    DA: Colton’s work has a beautiful, dream-like quality and I’m keeping that in mind while I write. In my opinion, his work doesn’t look like anything anyone else is doing in comics right now, and he’s adding a feeling of period film noir to the book. His panel designs and layouts are genius and crack me up when I get the pages.

    BB: David, any projects current are near-future you can tell us about?

    DA: I have another comics project that I’m very excited about but I don’t think that’ll be announced til mid-June. Aside from comics, I’m editing a documentary about General John “Blackjack” Pershing which we’re hoping to have ready for the fall of this year.