Writer and presenter, Ani-Mia, returns to our site to give us a second Writer’s Commentary to the current Bettie Page starring miniseries, Bettie Page: The Alien Agenda #2. She discusses her influences behind this book’s Egyptian setting, the creative/collaborative process and more.
[+++ WARNING: Possible SPOILERS ahead! Buy & read the book, then return here for some awesome commentary! +++]
Issue #2 and it’s the start of the adventure! First up, my favorite thing about the series is giving nods to adventure movies I grew up on via the character’s wardrobe choices. It seemed incredibly fitting to fashion the team’s outfits around the movie The Mummy since they are headed to Egypt.
I really enjoyed creating Young-ja’s personality. She’s often seen as cocky and headstrong while in reality she’s often timid and just a kid. I actually modeled her after a friend of mine.
I picked this pyramid not only because it was one of the first and most notable but there are so many mysteries surrounding it. For example, they found thousands of clay jars inside inscribed with the names of past pharaohs, with no clue as to why they were created or placed there. Maybe they were protecting something inside? It was also created by Imhotep which is a convenient connection to The Mummy.
I loved the idea of there being a dream sequence taking us back to Ancient Egypt. Almost as if Bettie is being fed the information she needs to get through the puzzles. If I could have expanded this more, I would have made it longer and emphasized that the person holding the knife was a pharaoh, giving the impression that what is hidden was protected by royalty.
We finally get a good look at Bettie’s outfit inspired by Brendon Fraiser’s character from The Mummy with the signature scarf and suspenders.
PAGE 9 & 10:
I wanted a long top panel for the spread that gave off a classic adventuring vibe, complete with booby traps. And here we see Sofia’s personality, always eager to teach and learn. Ever the motherly type as she worried about the bodyguard’s hands earlier. My favorite panel in this spread is the final one where you see the flames reflected in Bettie’s eyes giving a sense of danger before turning the page.
Funny story. For the second to last panel, Celor, the artist, was trying to get an idea of exactly how I wanted it to look. I am not a skilled artist at all, which he quickly learned. I sent him a simplistic stick figure drawing of people crossing over a pit with a rope. Very Pitfall-esque. The pit had spikes at the bottom and little S shapes that I ended up having to point out were snakes. And then he came back with this dynamic shot from the bottom of the pit and it was better than anything I could have thought of. He’s a creative genius.
The scale trap was one of the first traps I thought up for the entire series and the idea of bringing the ancient flower of life, which is usually seen as a geometric pattern, to life, seemed like the perfect fit in a magical tomb.
Dun, dun, dun, my first time killing off a character in a comic. And it’s bloody and gruesome and uses an actual poisonous powder used in ancient Egypt. A hard lesson in greed.
No tomb would be complete without a mummy but now with an extra-terrestrial twist. The idea floating in my head was that some of the mythical creatures we know from stories are actually creatures created by ancient aliens. Some people already believe aliens are responsible for our own leaps in technology, so it’s not impossible to think they would have used those advances when visiting humanity in the past. Especially when there are some that wonder if aliens were involved in the building of the pyramids.
Here we get the next clue and I decided it would be fun to play with the Disc of Phaistos because, even today, no one really knows what it means. I’m so thankful that Celor is really accommodating because it had to be a pain to draw all the individual symbols.
Now we’re off to Greece for the next leg of the adventure. A country I got to visit while in college studying art history and the people and culture still holds a special place in my heart.
Bettie Page: The Alien Agenda#2 is out now from Dynamite Comics