In 2001, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos introduced Marvel Comics readers to a haunted, hard drinking P.I. named Jessica Jones who used her superhuman abilities to help her crack cases. Her adventures, which blended street-level crime stories and superheroics, made her an instant fan-favorite. Under Bendis’ pen, she has changed and grown over the years. She got married to Luke Cage, embraced motherhood and became a reluctant but valuable member of incarnations of both the Avengers and (most recently) the Defenders. In recent years, she has become even more of an iconic Marvel character thanks to a critically acclaimed Netflix television adaptation in which Krysten Ritter plays the titular character.
When Bendis began working an exclusive contract for DC Comics, many Marvel fans started to wonder what would become of Jess? Who would take over the adventures of the Marvel Universe’s most iconic private eye? That question was answered on July 18 with the premiere of a brand-new Jessica Jones series by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Mattia de Iullis. The series is part of a new line of Marvel Digital Originals, which will allow readers to binge read arcs or “seasons” at a quicker pace than print comics.
CBR spoke with Thompson about taking over Jess’ adventures, the joy of bouncing her off characters like Luke Cage, Misty Knight and Elsa Bloodstone, and the mysteries her protagonist will tackle in the series’ initial arc, “Blindspot.”
CBR: So Kelly, in Jessica Jones #1 you kicked off a brand-new era for the titular super sleuth. You’re no stranger to Jess or superhero detectives, though, having written the latest volume of Hawkeye, which Jess guest starred in. But how does it feel to be Brian Bendis’ chosen successor to write Jess? And what’s it like moving from the type of West Coast noir you did over in Hawkeye to the East Coast P.I. tales set in the heart of the Marvel Universe?
Kelly Thompson: It was absolutely thrilling and terrifying at once. It was a dream to get that call, and exciting to imagine the possibilities, and then harsh reality sets in about how high the bar is, about how you will honor the greatness that has come before while still carving your own path and making something new.
As for location and tone… I’ll forever love Kate and her L.A. neo-noir old Hollywood — and it’s less painful to “leave it” since we’ve still got West Coast Avengers — but it was incredibly cool to get to tackle classic hard-boiled New York City noir with Jessica.
Writing Jess also means you have an opportunity to write her husband, Luke Cage, who played a supporting role in Issue #1. What’s your sense of Luke? What’s it like writing him as a supporting character?
I’m a really big Luke Cage fan, and I’m also a big fan of Jess and Luke having one of the only long-lasting marriages in comics — they’re hot and hilarious together. It’s a magical dynamic. And I had a lot of fun exploring that in even a small capacity. Since this is Jess’s book (and Jess’s case), Luke isn’t actually in Issue #2, but he comes back in a big way for Issue #3 and will also be in the “second season.”
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