Monday, May 4, 2015

Kickstart the Week: Molly Danger Book Two

By: Nicole D'Andria

Today we’re kickstarting the week with Molly Danger Book Two. The immortal ten-year-old returns in another volume full of danger! Learn details about the Kickstarter project and hear from writer and artist Jamal Igle (Supergirl, Terminator, Firestorm) about his creator-owned comic right here on Comic Frontline.

It has been nine months since the events of Molly Danger Book One in which an immortal ten-year-old girl protects Coopersville, NY. The titular pre-teen in question keeps breaking the rules of the Danger Action Response Team (D.A.R.T.) organization and questions what’s real. By her side she has her new partner, D.A.R.T. pilot Austin Briggs and has a new friend, Austin’s stepson Brian Hammond. The villainous Father is also amassing Supermechs and has a mysterious plan that will be unveiled to the characters and readers alike.

The writer and artist for Molly Danger is Jamal Igle. He won the 2011 Inkpot Award for outstanding achievement in Comic Art. His artwork has been featured at numerous publishers including DC Comics (Firestorm, Supergirl, Zatanna), Marvel (Iron Fist: Wolverine, The New Warriors), Dark Horse Comics (Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy) and IDW Publishing (G.I. Joe). Molly Danger is his first creator-owned project and is published by Action Lab Entertainment.

Molly Danger Book 2 Cover

Molly Danger Book Two will be funded if at least $50,000 is pledged on Kickstarter by May 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm EDT. $15,000 will be going in the budget for the audiobook and as the stretch goals for the project are hit the funds will go towards the scripting and audiobooks for the third and fourth volumes of the series. There is also a top secret stretch goal that will result in even more special prizes if it is reached. For $5 a backer will receive a PDF copy of the book. Or you could choose to get a Molly Danger “M” symbol patch (shipping sold separately).

You can pledge money for Molly Danger Book Two on their official Kickstarter page. The Kickstarter includes a preview of Molly Danger Book One and a sampler of the first volume’s audio book.

I spoke with Molly Danger’s creator himself, Jamal Igle.

Jamal Igle

Me: Can you talk about what inspired the creation of Molly Danger?

Jamal Igle: Well, originally it started as a very mercenary effort. I wanted to develop something that I wasn't seeing on the stands, which was a serious take on the concept of a kid superhero. Over the years the idea morphed into something more personal. I wanted to create a hero that everyone could get behind, but tell a story that hit some universal themes such as loneliness and loss, family dynamics, the search for oneself and finding your purpose in life.

Me: Why do you think there is a lack of kid superheroes and why do you think it's important to have them represented in comics?

Igle: The first rule of writing is supposed to be "Write what you know", but I think people take that too literally. As adults, we have a tendency to forget what it was like for us to be children, so we assume that to be a child is to embrace what we assume to be a childish mentality. One of the best pieces of advice I got when I began writing the series was to "Not be afraid of dark and serious" when it came to writing a story that you want to appeal to kids. Kids can be unbelievably perceptive and honest and I think it's that honesty that's underrepresented in media. I grew up reading Power Pack, Tom Swift books and The Hardy Boys. Those characters always had their issues and strife that they deal with but it's coupled with the added layer of having adults dictate to them what they can and can't do.

Me: I heard the idea of Molly Danger was originally an animation pitch. What was the process of getting that idea from animation to comics?

Molly Danger Book One Page

Igle: Almost accidental actually. I basically decided that although I’d worked in animation and probably could have done it as a cartoon I'm ultimately a comic book artist. I just felt that in order for me to flesh the story out the way I want to, I would have to work it out myself on the comic book page.

Me: How would you describe Molly as a character? What makes her a hero?

Igle: She's a genuinely good person, but not sappy. She's smart, observant and quick witted but she can also be sarcastic. Molly chooses to do something positive with her life and the circumstances she's involved in, in spite of the loneliness and alienation she occasionally feels.

Me: Can you talk a bit about the supporting characters, including Brian Hammond and Austin Briggs, and their importance to the story?

Igle: Austin and Brian are trying to find their way in the world. Austin doesn't know how to be a parent, being a big kid himself. He's not a disciplinarian and has a hard time with Brian's seeming indifference. Brian is looking for a father figure, but finds Austin's approach disturbing. Brian is a kid in a lot of pain, having been uprooted from his old life and moving to a brand new city with a new stepfather. Molly Danger is as much their story as it is Molly's. Molly's relationship with Austin and Brian is such a huge part of what I'm doing because all three characters represent aspects of myself.

Me: To catch some readers up, can you describe some of the events that took place in Molly Danger Volume 1?

Molly Danger Book One

Igle: Molly Danger is the story of a seemingly immortal, superhumanly strong 10 year old girl. While she's physically and mentally a pre-teen, she's been stuck at that age for over two decades, fighting crime in the upstate New York City of Coopersville. While Molly is beloved in most quarters, she's a very lonely child. Kept in constant isolation by D.A.R.T. (Danger's Action Response team) when not on mission, Molly longs for a real life and friends outside of being a superhero. Things change when while on a mission to take down the evil Supermech, Medula, Molly meets a police helicopter pilot named Austin Briggs. Austin, newly relocated to Coopersville with his wife Monica and stepson, Brian joins D.A.R.T., becoming Molly's pilot.

Unfortunately, things aren't all they seem, as the Supermechs, a group of cyborg supervillians are being gathered by a being who refers to himself as Father.

Me: Will readers be able to follow this volume if they haven't read the previous one? What information will they need to know to get the fullest out of Molly Danger Volume 2?

Igle: New readers will be able to jump right into Book Two and learn everything they need to know, and then some.

Me: You have a very unique perspective in that you do both the writing and the artwork for Molly Danger. Is there a certain aspect you enjoy doing more?

Molly Danger Book One Panels

Igle: Writing is a bit more fun because of the immediacy of it. Drawing a comic is a very labor intensive and time consuming process in the comparison that I just enjoy the process of writing a bit more these days.
Me: Why was it decided to turn Molly Danger into an audiobook as well?

Igle: I was approached by Audiocomics to produce the first book, and I'm a huge fan of radio shows. We had such a great time recording the first book and the responses had been so great from the public it seemed only natural to continue.

Me: How did you come up with $50,000 as your goal on Kickstarter?

Igle: The entire goal is to produce the art for the book, pay for the printing and shipping the books from the printer into storage, produce the incentives for backers. We also have to write the audio script and pay for the recording studio time, actors, music production. It's a very expensive endeavor, but a high quality product can cost a bit more.

Me: Your artwork has been featured at a variety of publishers including Dark Horse, Marvel and DC Comics. What have been some of your favorite comics to work on?

Jamal Igle Firestorm Character Design

Igle: I recently drew a Terminator miniseries that was more fun than I expected it to be, but there will always be things that will remain close to my heart. My runs on Firestorm and Supergirl (respectively) were big deals for me creatively. Then there are the little projects that come along, like I did a two page Lil' Dr. Sivana story for a JSA: Secret Files that was hysterical.

Me: Can you talk about how your process differs when it comes to working on creator-owned works like Molly Danger versus works for other series with already established characters such as Supergirl?

Igle: Supergirl, as much latitude as we seemed to have on the book is still the property of DC Entertainment. It doesn't belong to any one single creator, we're just the managers of the franchise for the time we're involved in the series. Molly Danger is mine, it's something that at the end of the day belongs to me. I'm the one responsible for all the decisions involved with how she's represented.
Me: If you could become the writer and/or artist for a title that you have not already written/drawn, what would it be and why?

Fun Fact: Jamal Igle did the pencils on Superman #714

Igle: I have some ideas for Captain America, The Hulk, Dr. Strange and Superman that I would love to explore as a writer/ artist. There is a deep, nasty part of me that would live to do The Punisher at some point.

Me: What advice to you have for people interested in writing and/or illustrating comics?

Igle: You have so many more outlets for getting into comics, either on the corporate end or creator owned than I did way back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Be patient, take your time to develop your skills, your ideas and once you feel ready, just do it. No excuses!

Me: Thanks Jamal!

Do you have a Kickstarter? Want to be interviewed about it and have it showcased on “Kickstart the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my personal website

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