In the Marvel Universe, mysteries and superheroics go hand in hand, which means enterprising heroes and super-powered detectives often have a way of getting paid for doing good. A number of these so-called “heroes for hire” New York City home, but there are plenty of other metropolises in desperate need of detectives and heroes. One such locale is Los Angeles, which will soon welcome back one hero in particular who left town right as she was getting to know the city.
We’re talking, of course, about Kate Bishop, the other Hawkeye, who had a big adventure in L.A. during Matt Fraction’s acclaimed “Hawkeye” run. After leaving town during the book’s penultimate arc in order to save the life of Clint Barton, this December Kate returns to Los Angeles to give super sleuthing a second chance in the new “Hawkeye” series by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero. We spoke with Thompson about Kate’s initial case as P.I., her new life in L.A., and the city’s hero and villain communities.
CBR News: What do you find most interesting about writing Kate against the backdrop of the City of Angels? And how big a role will the city play in the stories you’re telling? Could it be considered a supporting character?
Kelly Thompson: I love the idea of Kate kind of falling into P.I. work because it’s a way to “monetize” her skills so that she can actually live, now that she’s no longer got her wealthy father supporting her, and then coming to realize that her “superhero skill set” actually overlaps nicely with P.I. work — a good eye, quick reflexes, the ability to sort important details fast, general sneakiness and subterfuge. The fact that she also happens to find it truly rewarding to be able to help people in a “boots on the ground” kind of way is icing on the cake.
I’m a huge fan of cities becoming their own supporting characters in fiction, and I certainly hope we’ll be able to pull that off here. Our artist, Leonardo Romero, is doing a ton of excellent world building – taking real life L.A. and some of the great (historical) noir detective elements and updating them for us and giving us a slightly fictionalized Venice Beach.
What can you tell us about the reasons behind Kate’s return to L.A.? Is she the only hero operating in the city when the book begins?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you much without giving away some of the mysteries surrounding Kate’s first arc, but I can tell you that independent of her own personal mission, like any good superhero (or any good P.I.) she is quickly caught up in the lives of others. There are definitely other superheroes in LA, though not many in her exact neighborhood, and there definitely aren’t any P.I./superheroes — unlike in New York, which is currently lousy with cool lady P.I./supes! [Laughs]
What’s your sense of L.A.’s super villain underworld? Does the town have a Kingpin-like figure when you kick things off in “Hawkeye?” #1?
Kate’s first case is going to put her onto a pretty grotesque and specific kind of bad guy. But like in life, and any good detective case, Kate’s going to be unpeeling a lot of layers as the series progresses — one of which may just develop into Kate’s arch-nemesis.
When Kate was in L.A. during Matt Fraction’s run, her adventures were very much a love letter to the exploits of west coast private detectives like Phillip Marlowe, Jim Rockford and Veronica Mars. Will your “Hawkeye” stories have a similar feel?
Absolutely. I’m a big fan of the L.A. Noir P.I. sensibility, and you’ll find all that same love letter-ness in our series, but hopefully we’re doing it in a slightly new and different way — if only because nobody wants to have to be held up against that incredible run, right?! [Laughs]
How is Kate doing financially when you pick things up with her? Is she able to take care of expenses in her new job as a P.I.?
Kate’s not been in L.A. long when we pick up with her, so she’s still getting settled. I wouldn’t say she’s “taking care of expenses” as much as scraping by and hoping for a miracle — or just one good client and a non-bouncy check.
What can you tell us about Kate’s supporting cast and circle of friends? Will it include any familiar faces?
We’re developing a new supporting cast for Kate that I’m really excited about — one part the sort of noir P.I. thing, and one part Venice Beach surf culture and the local (fictional) liberal arts college. Kate’s former L.A. supporting cast, Detective Caudle, Marcus and Finch, will likely make cameo appearances, too.
As for more famous faces, I’m a huge fan of the Kate and America Chavez friendship, so we intend to bring in America for a story for sure. Clint could show up. I’d love that. But we’ll have to see, as that depends a lot on what Clint will be up to.
Your “Hawkeye” collaborator is Leonardo Romero, an incredibly diverse artist. There seems to be a real sense of fun and adventure to his work. What do you enjoy most about Leonardo’s style? What made him right for “Hawkeye?”
You know, as a comic book writer you get to wake up a lot of days and it’s like Christmas to see your inbox full of incredible art. But working with Leo has been like X-Treme Christmas (X-Men Puns!) — just a relentless stream of awesome stuff showing up in my inbox. Character designs and world building, all of it is gorgeous. Leo’s style is a bit more grounded and realistic than you sometimes see in superhero comics, and that’s an excellent fit for Kate, who has a slightly less flashy superhero skill set and a P.I. job and a life that’s a little messy. We’re doing some cool things to illustrate Kate’s unique way of viewing the world, which I hope readers will really enjoy.
We also have the incredible (and award-winning!) Jordie Bellaire on colors, and these two are just a dream together. They really respond to each other’s work, and are genuinely excited about and inspired by it. When that kind of collaboration happens, it’s like magic. It leaves you feeling just lucky to be a part of it.
Detective stories are all about twists and turns. What can you leave us with about some of the unexpected developments Kate will face in your initial “Hawkeye” story?
Since Kate’s story is largely a detective story. There’s not much I can tell you without toppling the house of cards, but I will say that Kate’s looking to clarify some things in her life, and anyone on a personal mission like that is bound to hit some serious obstacles and deeper issues that make you re-examine things. We’ll also have some love triangle shenanigans because Kate deserves love triangle shenanigans–and I mean that mostly in a good way.
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