Got a mystery? Goldie Vance will solve it!
BOOM! Box‘s upcoming “girl detective” miniseries stars Goldie, a 16-year-old girl who hones her detective skills Crossed Palms, the Florida resort she’s lived in since she was a kid. Driven to figure out how everything from cars to people work, Marigold “Goldie” Vance spends her free time solving mysteries with her best pal Cheryl and hotel detective Walter.
We spoke with writer Hope Larson and artist Brittney Williams about the origins of the series, reinvigorating the girl detective sub-genre and the other colorful characters Goldie finds herself surrounded by.
CBR News: Brittney, you were already attached to this project when editor Shannon Watters contacted Hope about pitching for it. What were your earliest reactions when you heard BOOM! wanted to do a girl detective story?
Brittney Williams: Imagine the flailing Kermit the Frog gif — that was my initial physical reaction. I was down for it!
Were there any story details or characters the editors presented, or was that all you two?
Hope Larson: Beyond “girl detective,” it was all me and Brittney!
Was this concept something you saw the market lacking, an idea that captured your imagination, or a maybe a bit of both?
Larson: I think [editor] Dafna [Pleban] was the one spearheading this whole girl detective thing, and seeing a hole in the market, to be gross and commercial about it. I just thought it sounded like a fun project to write.
Now, of course, there’s that CBS “Nancy Drew” reboot where she’s in her 30s, so clearly a few people have been craving some girl-detective action.
Williams: It was mainly the idea that captured my imagination. If it sounds fun, I’ll draw it!
Once the two of you teamed up, what was the process like for nailing down the looks and the story?
Larson: I submitted a short pitch and character descriptions for the cast and supporting characters, and those went to Brittney almost immediately. We’ve created the characters and the vibe of the story as a team.
Williams: After reading Hope’s pitch and character descriptions, it went from there. I’d draw some things, then share with Hope and our editors Dafna and Shannon. We’d all talk about what worked best and what didn’t until we arrived at the better idea. Collaboration nation!
How would you describe the world of “Goldie Vance?” The concept seems to have some retro or classic flavors to it, with the hotel detective angle and some of the design elements, but are they also dealing with modern technology?
Larson: It’s in a gray area between retro and historical. I do have some historical projects where I try to be as accurate as possible about the time period, but this story is looser and more playful. I’m not a big Tarantino fan, but I do like the way he approaches projects like “Inglourious Basterds” and “The Hateful Eight.” “Goldie Vance” is grounded in global politics and technology of the early 1960s, but it’s not exactly the real world. As for modern tech, they aren’t dealing with any of that. No cell phones. No mysterious, world-ending devices.
Williams: Historically inaccurate, accurate, retro-land with no modern technology!
The series is based in Florida, a state with a… unique reputation. Add in the resort element, and you’re dealing with people from all over, possibly acting differently than they normally would because they’re on vacation. Does that drive the series in any way?
Williams: I get to draw a bunch of really fun and interesting characters. Hmm, that didn’t really answer the question…
Larson: This arc deals with the glitzy vacation aspects of Florida, not crocodiles and sinister things happening in the Everglades, or drugs, or people shooting each other for stupid reasons. I’m from North Carolina, so I know what it’s like to come from a region seen as a social backwater, and I’m not out to pick on Florida!
As for people coming from all over and acting differently than normal, that’s something I was thinking about for sure. You never know who’s going to check in, or if they’re who they claim to be.
Does this first four-issue series cover a single mystery?
Larson: Yes, it’s one mystery. I’m not sure how to talk about it without tipping my hand.
Williams: *Stares into camera*. It’s a mysterious mystery.
Fair enough! Goldie likes to figure out how things work, but does she experience a level of frustration because people don’t always make sense when it comes to what they do or their motives?
Williams: For Goldie, cars are pretty straightforward. Of course, people are the exact opposite. There are some moments where people and situations get confusing, but Goldie and pals will always do their best to figure out any mystery!
Larson: In this arc, it’s more an issue of people needing her help but not telling her the whole truth. I think about the thesis of “House, M.D.” a lot when I’m writing anything with a mystery element: Everybody lies. People do usually act in ways that make sense, but they often don’t tell the truth about why they’re doing what they’re doing.
What can you tell us about who’s who in this line-up image?
Williams: From left to right: Goldie Vance, teen detective and car enthusiast who gets stuff done: Cheryl, her BFF and walking dictionary; Walter, actual detective who is terrible with the ladies; Diane, the coolest beatnik lady everyone wishes they could date (including me); Tony, the chillest guy you wish you knew; Art Vance, my dad- I mean Goldie’s dad; Sylvie Bell, Goldie’s mom- maybe a mermaid; Sugar Maple, the second richest person you’ll ever meet; and Mr. Maple, Sugar’s dad. The richest person you’ll ever meet.
Hope, you’ve done minicomics, anthologies, webcomics and graphic novels. What’s it been like, moving over to a limited series at BOOM!?
Larson: Yeah, my career path has been a weird one. I’ve done a little bit of everything. It’s been fun and challenging to stretch myself and try a new storytelling format at BOOM! A lot of my work has gradually been moving in a more expansive/serialized direction for the past few years, and I hope this is a world we get to spend more than four issues exploring.
To jump in on the ground floor of “Goldie Vance,” get your hands on the first issue by Hope Larson, Brittney Williams and BOOM! Box in April.