Trouble in Paradise For Bettie Page in New Dynamite Series
Apr 04, 2020
Bettie Page, the legendary pin-up model and actress, is hired to star in a film on a tropical island. What's not to love? But what begins as a getaway with sun and sand on a film studio's dime turns deadly when another actor turns up murdered in Dynamite's new Bettie Page series! Now, everyone is a suspect, everyone has secrets, and the cast and crew are stuck on an island with a murderer who may well kill again!
It's up to Bettie Page to turn detective, solve the mystery, and save the film in this new series by writer Karla Pacheco and artist Vincenzo Federici!
PREVIEWSworld got a chance to talk with the creative team about the all-new series from Dynamite, a Gem of the Month in the April PREVIEWS catalog.
PREVIEWSworld: Karla, what drew you to writing Bettie Page initially? Did you previously have any affection for the timeless pinup extraordinaire?
Karla Pacheco: There’s a bit of burlesque in my personal history (as well as a “goth-rockabilly” phase that’s far more embarrassing), so Bettie Page has always been a huge idol for me. Not just for her iconic style, but for the way she brought such a sense of joy and delight to her performances and sensuality.
PREVIEWSworld: This new series involves shooting a film on a tropical island and the tease of famous model Bettie Page becoming a genuine Hollywood star. Unfortunately, she never fully broke into mainstream acting in her life, often denied opportunities or faced with obstacles she refused to lower herself to, a narrative tragically still resonant today. How will your series handle Bettie's brushes with La La Land?
Karla Pacheco: One of the things that was most important to me in how we approached this series was staying respectful to Bettie Page’s history and amazing spirit, even as we try to give her what will (hopefully) be a happier future. The real Bettie was indeed denied the opportunity to reach her full potential as a star, and I want to find the world where she DID get those chances... even though it’s far from smooth sailing! She’ll face plenty of challenges and a little heartbreak as she tries to make her mark on Hollywood, but I think it will be an exciting adventure for both readers and “our” Bettie.
PREVIEWSworld: You cited Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke's take on Catwoman as an inspiration in style and besides being big fans of those masterful creators, we totally see the link. You've also acknowledged L.A. Confidential and the pulp and noir flavors being blended in. Can you dive into those and any other influences a bit?
Karla Pacheco: Catwoman is one of my all-time favorite characters, and the Brubaker/Cooke run was obviously one of the best. The things I love most about Selina Kyle and Bettie Page are their resilience, their charm, and the sheer exuberance they take in BEING THEMSELVES. Fearless in their sexuality, but (in Bettie’s case) almost innocent to its effects. Both fit so effortlessly into a noir setting. Overall, I’m trying to weave together dusty, dog-eared Hammett and Chandler novels, the breezy feel of vintage “LOOK” magazines, classic episodes of Poirot and Murder She Wrote, and the salacious naughtiness of Hollywood gossip rags. It’s lush, pulpy, stylish fun (with a surprising amount of murder and intrigue)!
PREVIEWSworld: You're introducing a healthy roster of colorful supporting characters to revolve around Bettie in this series. Without spoiling all the introductions, what can you tell us about a few of these men and women that fans will soon meet?
Karla Pacheco: Bettie is charismatic, sweet, sexy, and tough... but those qualities can invite adoration and envy, fear and attraction in equal measures. As we begin our story, Bettie’s foray into Hollywood stardom has already led to a provocative circle of friends and foes: eccentric billionaires with more money than sense; a child star turned “America’s Sweetheart” with a dark side and a grudge; an adorably morbid “girl photographer extraordinaire;” a loyal (or perhaps not) agent and protector; and a disgraced vice cop convinced Bettie is up to something, struggling against her “foul temptations” (she just thinks he’s cute). This is a big story with a showstopper of a cast, all coming together to tell Bettie’s story!
PREVIEWSworld: In addition to artist Vincenzo Federici, the creative team joining you is rounded out by colorist Rebecca Nalty and letterer Becca Carey. How has the collaboration been with this crew and seeing your scripts come to fruition?
Karla Pacheco: I’m so excited to be working with such a talented team. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’re coming up with. This is a gorgeous, colorful dream of a book, and I think it will be a real surprise and a great adventure for our readers!
Vincenzo, as Karla has gone into her fonts of inspiration above, are you pulling from anything while tackling this project? Any particular artists, comics or other stories that are adding to the Bettie Page magic?
Vincenzo Federici: I’m trying to approach this series with a more elegant style than my usual, because this kind of character and story really needs it. My inspiration usually comes from my favorite artist, Alan Davis. I really love his approach to the female figure and in general every mark he makes. In this series I’m also looking to Darwyn Cooke and Terry Dodson, two other legendary artists who I think capture both the power and sensuality of women well. I hope all the readers will enjoy my art on this!