Josie Schuller is back!
When the 5-issue “Lady Killer” ended in May, a lot of questions were left unanswered about the glamorous assassin, the mysterious organization she worked for, and even her suspicious mother-in-law. Now, Dark Horse Comics has announced a second series for “Lady Killer,” starting in March 2016, where we’ll see some of those loose ends tied up. Creator JoÃ«lle Jones will be both writer and artist this time around, accompanied by colorist Laura Allred; Jamie S. Rich, co-writer on the first series, will not be returning.
In the first series, readers saw Josie navigating the demands of taking care of her husband and twin daughters while simultaneously working as an assassin for a mysterious agency. Noir themes were brightened up by the comic’s colorful 1960s setting and Josie’s stereotypically sunny housewife persona. But while the first series jumped into action with over-the-top fight scenes and bloody splash pages, Jones tells CBR News that the next series promises a deeper exploration of the characters’ backstories.
CBR News: While the first series sort of wrapped itself up, it did leave a few things open-ended. Josie was thinking about setting out on her own, and things weren’t entirely cleaned up with the organization she was working for. So where does it pick up in the second series?
JÃ¶elle Jones: It actually starts in Florida. They’ve moved across the country to start a fresh life. The husband’s got a new job.
What is his job? Do we ever find out?
I never said — I mean, I know what he does. He’s a mechanic for Boeing, so they move to Cocoa Beach in Florida. He’s been promoted, to work on the aerospace stuff going on in Cape Canaveral.
I think overall in the second series, it’s going to be a lot more revealing about the characters. With the first arc, I wasn’t sure if anybody would even read it, but it was something that I wanted to just get out of my system and do. I didn’t want to get bogged down with too much revealing of the characters; I just wanted a plot-driven, straightforward story. Just in case it failed miserably, it would still be what I set out to do.
[The new series is] definitely going to be dramatic, along the lines of the first series. Josie is trying to start a new business of her own, all while balancing her family moving across the country and getting them settled. And her mother-in-law now knows about what Josie does, so she has to deal with that. And then, other factors come in, as well. So, through circumstances, it’s more revealing of Josie’s past — and the grandma’s past as well.
The organization that she worked with in the first series might come back. I can’t really say more about it.
A lot of the jobs that Josie takes on end up pretty messy. How does the organization take care of the cleanup?
After Josie finishes, Peck comes in. I left it open to interpretation whether he takes care of the body personally, or if he hands it off to a separate cleaner. The responsibility was never hers; she was just brought in to do her thing, and then somebody else would take care of the messy parts.
That plays into the twist on her being a housewife, that she’s making these huge messes and just leaving them behind. And then she has her advice column in the back of the book, telling people how to get stains out — which she never does herself!
Yeah, she doesn’t clean up after herself, just like me! The answers are real, though. I collect etiquette books, from the 1910s through the 1970s. A lot of my advice, I’ll look it up in those books and find solutions for the weird problems that people write me.
Are they all real letters that people send in?
Yeah, real people write to me! Every now and then I’ll get a reminder that I have to answer letters. I’ll read them like, “What…? I am not qualified to answer this.” But I love it. It makes me laugh every time I write it. I share a studio with a few other people, and whenever I do the letter columns I’m always bothering them — “Hey guys, read this one!” — and laughing out loud.
The first miniseries was co-written with Jamie S. Rich, but on this one, you’re the sole writer. What’s it like being both the writer and artist?
This time, it’s just me. It’s really different. At the end of the last series, Jamie was mostly just working with the dialogue. Going over and polishing everything. It’s a little scary to do it all by myself, but I’ve got good editors to help me.
I’m very excited that Laura Allred is returning as colorist. She’s been really great to work with. From early on, I didn’t want to give her any direction. I wanted to just see what she would do, left to her own devices. I mean, I picked her because of her color sensibilities. It’s beautiful. I’m always blown away when I get the colors; I’m always excited. I’m so glad that she’s going to be on the new series. I can’t imagine it without her — but if she wants to leave, I won’t keep her shackled to it.
Is the new series a self-contained miniseries like the first one, or is it transitioning into an ongoing monthly?
I enjoyed doing the first series so much as a self-contained story, so this next series definitely relates to the first one, but it’s also something that you’d be able to pick up if you’d never read the previous one. I kinda like doing that just because, since I am a new writer, keeping it self-contained each time is easier. I think it’s a TV series mentality. It seems to be less daunting for me, and more fun.
Thankfully, I didn’t paint myself into any corners with the first series. I left a lot of things open for interpretation, and I made sure that I didn’t write the things I didn’t feel like writing. So if I didn’t feel like going off on a side tangent to explain things further to people, I just didn’t do it. I was more focused on having fun and wanting readers to have a good time.