Spoiler Session: Writer Jordie Bellaire Discusses 'The Darkhold: Wasp' #1
Join Jordie as she delves deep into the psyche and history of Janet Van Dyne!
Warning! This article contains slight spoilers for THE DARKHOLD: WASP #1, so read on at your own risk, True Believers!
Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, has many sides to her, as accumulated over five decades plus as one of Marvel’s premiere heroes. The fun and flighty socialite belies one of the most skilled leaders the Avengers have ever had, a capable mentor, and intelligent strategist.
Similarly, while most recognize Jordie Bellaire as among the elite color artists in comics, there’s much more to her talents. To that end, Bellaire seized the writing reins on THE DARKHOLD: WASP, in addition to still applying colors over the art of Claire Roe.
As part of the larger event, this one-shot examines Van Dyne’s history as somewhat skewed through the prism of the Darkhold. We spoke with Bellaire about steering this unique project to fruition!
This is your first writing credit for Marvel. Was writing comics something you've always wanted to do during your career or did opportunity come about another way?
Jordie Bellaire: When I was in middle school, I used to spend a lot of my free time writing dark and spooky stories and submitting them to my English teacher for approval and edits (these were not school assignments, she was a legend). Thinking on it now, her support really helped me believe I had any voice at all and this carried through until I graduated from college with a few other professors encouraging me to pursue writing. I've had ideas and stories but never felt I was good enough to properly write a thing but after Redlands made its debut at Image, I've just tried to lean into every opportunity I can when it's offered. I'm grateful for all of the chances I've been given and feel like I learn more every time! For now, I spend a lot of my time coloring and that suits me just fine.
For those coming in late, what is the basic premise of the Darkhold event and why is it so cool?
Super Heroes buckling under the weight of their darkest thoughts and alternate realities, thanks to everyone's favorite Latverian scamp. I don't know what is not cool about it! It could be a Tales from The Crypt setup...but we get our Marvel friends in on it!
Why was Janet Van Dyne an appropriate choice to examine through one of these books?
Janet is a very complex and interesting character, I wish I could have had another 20 pages to write! She's compelling in that she's sensible and strong but in the beginning, way back when, she was rather codependent and somehow insecure, despite being a total package. Having the Darkhold digging into her psyche shakes up all of those darker emotions, allowing them to come to the surface.
What about Janet do you find appealing as a protagonist to write?
I relate to Janet's sadness in this story which instantly made her a compelling character to write. In doing research for this story too, I felt more and more heartbroken for her. She's a well-to-do privileged woman, with plenty of opportunities and life at her feet, but she almost allows herself to squander it all for one man. You could easily dislike her, for getting caught up in the wrong thing and wasting a lot of her potential for years but that would be selling her short. She's young, she's eager for adventure and falls in love easily—a dangerous combination if it attracts the wrong person.
Were Jan and Hank Pym doomed from the start? This issue seems to take a somewhat fatalistic approach to their relationship, but did they ever stand a chance?
Don't get me wrong, I think people can fall in love more than once but I believe Hank's heart is with Maria, his first wife and poor Jan never had his whole heart at all, even though she was ready to give all of hers away.
What's the fun in writing a book like this where you get to delve into various moments from Avengers history?
Seeing Claire's art come in and having all of it reimagined! Tigra [in] a Claire Roe book ASAP, Marvel.
Where did the idea to use Kang as a voice nudging Jan? I loved that!
All the beauty of editorial, it was an excellent suggestion from them, especially since sometimes you never know what baddies you'll be permitted to have play in a story like this. The fact that they let us have Kang was pretty rad!
As an artist yourself, what was it like collaborating with Claire Roe?
A treasure, a pleasure, a delight. I'd like to do even more, please!
Was it your choice to also color this book?
Once I saw Claire's art come in, I knew I wanted to try my hand at it and thankfully editorial and Claire were nice enough to let me. I knew from the beginning I wanted the look to be incredibly minimal so it was great that I got to handle it myself with Claire's approval.
Would you be open to future stories with Jan or following this premise?
Of course! I can see all the different stories that could come out of Jan, upbeat, romantic and silly or dark, dramatic and violent. She's not just a pretty face, she has the backstory and the emotional depth to take readers anywhere!
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