Dynamite is introducing a new Bettie Page comic, and this time she’s headed to Italy. Who better to bring the bombshell back to the Boot than Italy’s own Mirka Andolfo? In a Comicon exclusive, Andolfo discusses why she’s writing but not drawing the series and how this assignment was a dream come true for her.
Tom Smithyman: I can’t believe you’re writing but not drawing a series about Bettie Page! Is it killing you to not draw this series???
Mirka Andolfo: Honestly? No! I’m having so much fun illustrating covers, and as much as I love drawing sexy female characters, in recent years I’ve come to appreciate pure writing, as such, as well. Obviously, drawing such a comic would be in my wheelhouse, and I would have a lot of fun, but I’m having a different kind of fun writing it (together with Luca Blengino). And for me, who was born a cartoonist, it is always splendid to see when an artist (especially if she has the qualities of Elisa Ferrari) represents what I had thought.
Smithyman: The series is all about Bettie in Italy. That does sound like a good fit for you. Was this assignment a dream come true?
Andolfo: When Nate (our editor) asked me to work on a Bettie Page series, it didn’t seem real, honestly. She is such an iconic character and so extraordinary, that I didn’t expect to receive this proposal. The idea of bringing her to Italy came from us (me, along with Luca Blengino, my partner in crime in this adventure), and I must say it was a very good choice. Or rather: readers will say that for now, I can say that we enjoyed it, and we are delighted with the result.
Smithyman: You did a cover for the first issue that shows Bettie on an iconic Vespa bike driving in front of Rome’s Trevi Fountain. It doesn’t get much more Italian than that, does it?
Andolfo: For each cover, I always send a couple of sketches. In this particular case, we knew right away that it was the right choice. A little bit because it combines very iconic elements with each other: the Italy of the dolce vita and Bettie Page… But, as well as the whole series, there is also a bit of a didactic spirit: often abroad Italy is seen in a somewhat stereotypical way. Here we play on a stereotype that is very concrete but also dated. Today, Italy is no longer like that!
Smithyman: Why do you think readers are so fascinated with Bettie? Is it just her looks, or is there more to her than that?
Andolfo: I think there are two factors. The first is definitely related to extraordinary beauty, and sensuality: she was one of the first pinups and among the most famous ever. That certainly counts for a lot.
But not only that: what I personally see in many of her photos (and I don’t always find it in other models) is also a strong and decisive character, a great likability. I think this has also greatly influenced the popularity of the character, even today.
Smithyman: You have worked on a lot of sexy characters, including Harley Quinn, DC Bombshells and your own works like Sweet Paprika and Mercy. How is writing Bettie Page different from those women?
Andolfo: I do not think that Bettie Page is different from the other sexy characters that I have drawn; rather, I think that each has its own characteristics and specificity. Paprika’s sexiness is different from Lady Hellaine’s, and both are very different from the sexiness of other characters I’ve had a chance to write or draw.
As discerning readers will have guessed (haha!), I love drawing and writing sexy subjects very much, and I think the first key point is just that: to focus on the specificity of each one because otherwise, the risk is to be trivial and to make all characters two-dimensional. Whereas, even in the sexier aspects, it is important that each character has its own “voice.”
Smithyman: You mentioned that Elisa Ferrari draws this series for Dynamite. What were your thoughts when you started looking at the pages she created based on you script?
Andolfo: When Elisa sent the first layouts based on what Luca and I had been thinking, it was immediately obvious that everything was…perfect. I have always greatly admired her work, and although usually, the sexy component is less pronounced than what she does here, she managed to get into the mood immediately. And, with her, so did the color team, Mario Gulma and Francesca Vivaldi. I am very, very happy, and I hope that the spirit in which we created these pages will also shine through for the readers and entertain them.
Smithyman: You share writing duties with Luca Blengino. How does the creative process work with the two of you?
Andolfo: Luca is an experienced writer and a great friend, so it is always nice for me to work with him. We don’t have a fixed method: he lives about an hour and a half from the office of Arancia Studio, so we alternate methods… Sometimes he comes to the office, and we work side by side, while other times (more often) we chat or talk to each other. In this case, after his initial input, I developed the story, leaving more of the script duties to him. But always confronting each other.
Smithyman: The real Bettie was born in Tennessee and came from an English-Irish background. But since this series is set in Italy and involved a Bettie doppelganger, are there any Italian celebrities that she reminds you of?
Andolfo: I honestly can’t think of anyone. While “moving” Bettie to Italy, we tried to stay as true to her character as possible, trying not to alter it. I hope we succeeded…
Smithyman: I’m sure readers are excited to hear Bettie as told by you. Best of luck on the series.
Dynamite is introducing a new Bettie Page comic, and this time she’s headed to Italy. Who better to bring theCOMICONRead More