'Jessica Jones: Purple Daughter': The Creators on How Jessica's Past Continues to Haunt Her
Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Mattia De Iulis try to fill in the indigo-colored blanks!
After the death of Zebediah Killgrave, aka the Purple Man, Jessica Jones is finally free. That is, until her daughter with husband Luke Cage turns purple. Is it a trick? Does it mean Killgrave’s alive? Or does it mean the worst possible thing both Jessica and Luke could imagine – that Killgrave is actually Dani’s father? EEK!
While Jessica seeks the answers to these burning questions, we’re left to ponder whether the Purple Man himself is lurking in the dark, waiting to pounce. Kara Killgrave and the other purple children are also involved in this perplexing puzzle, so we spoke to writer Kelly Thompson and artist Mattia de Iulis about what’s ahead for Jessica, Luke and Danielle, and whether we’ll see the Purple Children in action in JESSICA JONES: PURPLE DAUGHTER #2, out Wednesday, February 20.
A Hazy Purple Past and Future
Marvel.com: Can you give us a hint at what’s coming up in JESSICA JONES: PURPLE DAUGHTER #2? Will we get to see the Purple Children in action?
Kelly Thompson: Jessica’s investigation to get to the bottom of what’s happening to Danielle gets some serious heat in issue #2. The first half is tilted more toward investigation but the second half is a whole lot of throwing down as Jessica tries to literally fight her way to an answer. We’ve also got a Daredevil cameo, Iron Fist cameo, we get more Kara Killgrave, and Emma Frost rolls in to try to steal the show as a badass guest star! You’ll definitely get to see more of the Purple Children, but I don’t know if I’d call it “action.”
Mattia De Iulis: In JESSICA JONES: PURPLE DAUGHTER #2 there’ll be several circumstances that will keep you breathless. From an emoziona [exciting] perspective it will be a really intense season because evil will strike hard on the one person who Jessica loves most: Danielle. Kelly wrote a really engaging story. I’m not afraid to say that her script touched me several times while drawing. The Purple Children, and many other Super Heroes who will appear in this volume, will play a key role!
Marvel.com: In issue #1, Jessica sought out the Purple Man’s daughter, Kara Killgrave, desperate to find out why her daughter is now purple-skinned. Kara seemed pretty genuine in issue #1, but the question remains: Can she be trusted?
Kelly Thompson: I think Kara has a lot of empathy for Jessica and what she’s going through, especially since she’s dealt with Purple Man herself quite a bit. It’s that empathy that allowed Kara to let Jessica get away with pretty terrible behavior in issue #1. But the question of whether she can actually be trusted is very much still up for grabs.
Mattia De Iulis: Kara Killgrave, despite herself, bears a name that will mark her for life, in the eyes of Jessica at least. The latter, however, may also need her as it is the only link and the only track she can follow in this hell that Jess is experiencing.
Marvel.com: In the second half of issue #1, we saw that Luke takes Dani away for her safety while Jessica investigates this maddening mess. Will Jessica and Luke band together in issue #2 or will Jessica be teaming up with others to help her in this investigation?
Kelly Thompson: Luke definitely shows up in a big way in issue #2, and while I’d call some of it “banding together” the rest of it is… definitely NOT banding together!
Mattia De Iulis: I can’t say too much since I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can tell you that Jessica won’t be alone. As Kelly revealed during the previous weeks, we’ll see Emma Frost, and I can assure you that was a really fun character to draw alongside with Jessica.
Setting the Stage
Marvel.com: Can you tell us more about the parallel pages in chapters 1 (couch scene) and 2 (bedroom scene) between Jessica and Luke, and how this layout came to be?
Kelly Thompson: I wanted something very quiet and still and simple—something that would let Jessica and Luke’s trauma speak volumes—so we stripped away everything we could. This “second season” was such a tough arc to write, and I knew so much of it being “right” was going to fall on Mattia’s shoulders – and we talked about that. But I knew he was up for it… and he impressed me so much. I never could have done this without him.
Mattia De Iulis: These pages were born with the intent to bring out the emotions from Jess and Luke. They are both wrecked and the layout means to mark this distance (both physical and emotional) that, despite everything, stands between the two. Kelly and I worked closely in such circumstances, more than usual since we wanted to deliver this emotional charge to these two pages. We are very satisfied, in the end they came out just as we wanted!
Marvel.com: What was the hardest part about establishing these heart-wrenching moments with Luke and Jessica?
Kelly Thompson: For me, the hardest part was pulling back and writing less and trusting Mattia to tell the story with his art. It’s a time when Jessica needed to be more quiet, so I couldn’t rely on her words as much as I usually would.
Marvel.com: Does it get easier as you write and draw the series to portray their stories even though they are so emotionally charged and heavy from past baggage?
Kelly Thompson: I felt very in Jessica’s head (in a good way) after the first “season,” so it was pretty easy to stay there. That said, this was a very emotional story to write, definitely the toughest and most emotional and finely balanced scripts I’ve had to do thus far in my career.
Marvel.com: We saw some familiar locations in issue #1, Alias Investigations and Hell’s Dive Bar are a couple that come to mind. How did you go about capturing the old and new settings?
Kelly Thompson: Mattia is incredible at capturing mood and tone. And his incredible colors tell a story all their own.
Mattia De Iulis: I have studied Jessica's office thoroughly to make it coherent in all situations. I even created a real 3D model! Generally speaking I am a detail-oriented guy, always trying to catch the right atmosphere, from characters to setting, for the scene that I have to represent.
Marvel.com: You both worked together on JESSICA JONES: BLIND SPOT. What’s it like teaming up again and do you have any habits or traditions forming together?
Kelly Thompson: Speaking for myself, I think we’re a wonderful team. I think we’re very in sync – there’s actually very little conversation (via email) because Mattia just GETS it. He perfectly understands the scripts and the things I’m trying (even the subtle things), and he takes everything and makes it so much better. It’s truly a joy to work with Mattia.
Mattia De Iulis: There’s a great team spirit between us. I really enjoy working with [Kelly and editor Alanna Smith], and I cannot think of a better team to work with! This obviously facilitates and stimulates the creative process at the same time, there’s a continuous exchange of ideas! There was a moment, immediately after sending me a very demanding screenplay, in which Kelly even apologized, being afraid of putting me on the spot (since the script had less dialogue, and this would have emphasized my skills in character acting, expressions and body language). But she believed in me, and in my skills, and I think I managed to do a good job (also because drawing the emotional side of the characters is one of the parts of my work that I like best). Kelly and Alanna always made me feel like I was home!
Marvel.com: How do you work with the letterer, VC’s Cory Petit, and what are some lettering elements that blew you both away?
Kelly Thompson: Our fearless editor Alanna Smith keeps us apart! Why do you deny our love, Alanna!?! In my experience thus far it’s pretty common for there to be a separation there – probably letterers want to be protected from crazy writers. But Cory is fantastic, he’s put up with a lot of weird lettering demands.
Marvel.com: Can you tell us what you like about Martin Simmonds’ covers and how you both work with him?
Kelly Thompson: Like with Cory, Alanna keeps us apart. But Alanna’s a great editor and I trust her implicitly, with good reason – look at those covers! Martin has done a fantastic job of capturing the noir of Jessica Jones and the horror.
Mattia De Iulis: Martin is a great cover artist. I love how he portrays a whole story in a single illustration! Honored to have his work also in this second season!
Marvel.com: What was the editing process like for these double-sized issues?
Kelly Thompson: Well, our team is pretty small because Mattia does art and colors. We mostly work with Alanna really. I know there are a ton of other people helping the Jessica Jones sausage get made, like our graphic designer Carlos Lao, and of course Executive Editor Tom Brevoort watching over us all. But part of a finely-tuned machine means I have the luxury of not having to examine each individual part.
Marvel.com: Why did each of you want to work on this story in Jessica and Luke’s life (and piggybacking on that, why can’t they/we have nice things)?
Kelly Thompson: I think it’s important to show that trauma never leaves us. You just keep dealing with it, keep surviving. Especially with something like what Jessica went through and a character like Killgrave, nothing is sacred, truth is an illusion. That’s a heavy thing to live with. And that’s Jessica’s life. It’s part of why she’s such a powerful survivor.
Marvel.com: What or who did you want to explore in issue #1 versus #2?
Kelly Thompson: Issue #1 was really about establishing what had happened to tear their lives apart, and the trauma of that. It was important to me that we really FEEL that. We needed that beat, even though Jessica is still investigating and trying not to succumb… trying not to step off the ledge, that beat of her feeling that trauma. But issue #2 is a lot more hi-octane as Jessica’s investigation both deepens and she literally starts fighting back in a big way.
Mattia De Iulis: These two seasons are quite different, both in the themes and in the emotional intensity (the ending of the first season had already meant to do so). In the first season we highlighted a problem that should not exist: violence against women. And who better than Jess and her friends to act as spokespersons for a similar story? In the second, evil approaches her family, striking Danielle. Kelly gave me the chance to explore Jessica's human side to the core and, for me as a big JJ fan, it was exciting because I found myself drawing an intense and powerful story!
Marvel.com: What do you want readers to watch out for in the next issue?
Mattia De Iulis: I think that the next volume is the best I've drawn, both technically and for the story by Kelly that will take even more dramatic turns! Particularly with this next issue, I always ask myself "How will readers react?" I have to thank Kelly for her story and Alanna Smith for her enormous help. We have worked on this series with [such] heart, and I think this is the thing that will reach the readership right away!
Kelly Thompson: I want readers to prepare themselves! It’s gonna be rough!
JESSICA JONES: PURPLE DAUGHTER #2, written by Kelly Thompson with art by Mattia de Iulis, goes on sale Wednesday, February 20 as a Marvel Digital Original! You can pre-order your copy today!
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