Despite what most fairy tales tell you, men aren’t the only ones who can save the day. And in the upcoming new series Damsels from Dynamite Entertainment, the famous females of fairy tale lore are taking up arms and fighting the fight.
Written by the team of Leah Moore and John Reppion and drawn by newcomer artist Aneke, Damsels sees heroines like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, the Little Mermaid, Snow White and more banding together – or trying to – to find off an evil that threatens all of their homelands and kingdoms. Delving into the darker side of folklore and fairy tales with a more realistic bent, Damsels could be described as a Disney Princesses’ version of Expendables, but in a way Walt Disney would never let you see.
At this point, the bodice-ripping fairy tale princess is a trope as well established in pop culture as the harmless Disney princess — especially in comics. But with their latest series from Dynamite Entertainment, the writing team of Leah Moore and John Reppion are looking to imbue a gorgeous set of lady legends with the danger and blood of their original stories.
This September, “Damsels” — a new monthly series with art by Aneke and covers by J. Scott Campbell and Sean Chen — ships to comic shops, teaming fairy tale characters Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid (with more on the way) in a fight against a mysterious evil.
CBR News spoke with the husband/wife writing team for their take on the legendary roots of these damsels, the European-esque world they inhabit, what lies behind it and the ways in which their series will and won’t conform to expectations for vamped up princesses and “happily ever after” endings.
Leah Moore and John Reppion, aided by some beautiful art by Aneke, do a remarkable job of creating a richly realized fairy tale world that manages to avoid most of the genre’s more obvious clichés and uses its characters in surprising ways. Damsels is a fantasy likely to appeal to the widest possible audience.
There’s been a rash of fairytales-in-the-real-world of late from Fables to Grimm to Once Upon A Time, but this is not that. This is closer to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld or Shrek, just not so played for laughs.
We have trolls under bridges keeping the city moving, we have markets selling fairies as pets – though they can also be used as possible assassins. And rather than stories trying to play their way out, we instead have characters trying to make their own way in the world, while kings, queens and princesses get on with whatever they get on with.
Last month Dynamite Entertainment announced a new series, DAMSELS, by Leah Moore, John Reppion and art by Aneke. There’s no way to avoid the obvious comparison to FABLES, a comic featuring fairy tale characters that debuted in 2002. This question will be asked a good point is brought up.
Check out what we were able to find out about this new series set to debut this September. Both Leah and John jumped in to answer our questions.
Official Press Release from Dynamite Entertainment (scroll down for unlettered preview pages):
THE FAIRY TALE HEROINES STRIKE BACK IN DAMSELS #1!
WITH AN AMAZING COVER BY J. SCOTT CAMPBELL!
June 14th, 2012, Mt. Laurel, NJ -
Get ready to see classic fairy tale heroines take action in Damsels #1, hitting stores this upcoming September. Written by the acclaimed writing team of Leah Moore and John Reppion, with beautiful art by Aneke, and dynamic covers by J. Scott Campbell and Sean Chen!
In Damsels #1, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Snow White come together with other damsels in a new adventure filled with danger and intrigue. In Damsels, the alluring princesses of classic fairy tales take up arms to save their kingdoms from war. Rediscover the darkness at the heart of fairy tales and why they’ll be no happily ever after. Damsels opens with Rapa wishing she had not got out of bed that morning, if she had a bed to get out of that is. The day began badly and has gone rapidly and literally downhill ever since. A series of peculiar and baffling encounters throw obstacle after obstacle into her path, intent it seems on preventing her progress. The thing is, until today she had no idea she was trying to make any progress, toward anything! A collection of hazy memories and bewildering tattoos are all she has to help her figure it all out, and to be honest, she’d just as soon not bother. Around her, we see the mountain city of Caumont thrown into overdrive by the arrival of Queen Talia and King Aurore of Perrault. The streets are thronged with cheering people, does it matter they aren’t exactly sure why they are cheering, or for whom?
“We are thoroughly enchanted to be working on such a spellbinding series,” says writers Leah Moore and John Reppion. “It’s fantastic fun for us as writers to be able to play with characters and concepts that are familiar, but then put our own Moore & Reppion style spin on things. Yes, there are Damsels and yes, there will be plenty of distress, but nothing is how it seems, and there is brutal action and weird surprises at every turn. We have had so much fun writing this, and we are so pleased with the art team Dynamite have set us up with. We can’t wait to see it in print.”
“We’ve been talking about Damsels for a long time internally, and trying to figure out who the best writers would be. Leah and John were at the top of the list, but they had taken a break from comics. Debating who to approach, we followed up with Leah and John to see if they would script once time freed up. They said yes. It was the best decision for the comic.” states Dynamite Publisher Nick Barrucci. “Get ready for one hell of a ride. Not every fairy tale has a happy ending.”
Be sure to pick up Damsels #1 in September!
To celebrate Dynamite Entertainment’s 10th Anniversary all of their titles are half price on ComiXology until the 13th of February 2014.
All you have to do is use the code DYNAMITE when you checkout.
That means that, as well as titles like The Boys, Red Sonja, and Army of Darkness, loads and loads of Moore & Reppion series are 50% off for the next 48 hours:
Don’t forget to use the code DYNAMITE when you checkout.…
The prestigious anthology series continues as the Grey Riders continue their quest to hunt and kill Red Sonja, but is she truly guilty of the horrendous crimes she is accused of? Spectacular short stories by Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider), Leah Moore (Damsels, Sherlock Holmes), Nicola Scott (Earth Two, Secret Six), and series regular Gail Simone (Batgirl).
Out on Wednesday the 22nd of January 2014.
This six page preview is actually Leah and Tula Lotay’s full story! Enjoy.…
This bold experiment in anthology storytelling continues as the GREY RIDERS continue their quest to hunt and kill Red Sonja, but is she truly guilty of the horrendous crimes she is accused of? Spectacular short stories by Rhianna (Tomb Raider) Pratchett, Leah (Damsels, Sherlock Holmes) Moore, Nicola (Earth Two, Secret Six) Scott, and series regular Gail (Batgirl) Simone.
20:44 GMT today is the point at which the plane of the our planet’s equator passes the centre of our sun, and we move from Summer into Autumn. It’s the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another.
Although we still have issues and collections due out over the coming months (Damsels #10-#13, Legends of Red Sonja #3, Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon TPB, Damsels TPB) for the first time in seven years, we find ourselves not working on a Dynamite Entertainment project. Dynamite have been brilliant to us over the years; they’ve never been anything other than an absolute pleasure to work with. They’ve always allowed us the freedom to make whatever we’re working on our own thing – to find some angle we can adopt to make a project into something that really captures our imaginations and enthusiasm.
Seven years is a long time, especially considering we’ve “only” been writing together for a decade, so it’s fair to say that Dynamite has pretty much been our comics career to date. So, what are we doing next?
Well typically, although there’s a lot of very exciting stuff in the pipeline, we’re not really allowed to talk about a lot of it at this stage. One thing we can mention (although I’ve been warned by Mr. PR, Michael Molcher, not to say too much) is that we’ve just had a nine part series accepted by Tharg the Mighty which will be appearing in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, 2000 AD sometime next year.
Something else (still) coming next year is that Self Made Hero project I’ve been cagily mentioning in these quarterly posts for quite some time. More on that ASAP.
Moving into the realms of the more unspecific: we’ve just turned in a script for a short story for a comics/TV tie-in/spin-off which we’re very pleased with and we’ve got a few more of those up our sleeve. We’ve got a thing we’ve been working on for a long time with Sally Jane Thompson, which we’re all very, very excited about. We’re also currently in talks with a publisher about what will hopefully be our next big thing in comics. Maybe that’ll keep us busy for the next seven years.…
Gustave Doré (1832 – 1883) was a French artist, illustrator and sculptor who worked primarily with wood engraving.
He was a phenomenal talent producing incredibly detailed engravings of the slums of Victorian London, illustrations for Poe’s The Raven, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Milton’s Paradise Lost among many other works.
I don’t know when I first saw Doré’s David and Goliath from his illustrated English Bible of 1866, but it can’t have been more than a couple of years ago. It’s an image that has lodged very firmly in my brain. It’s an astounding, awe inspiring illustration. It is epic. It is just about the most Heavy Metal thing I have ever seen.
I may have already mentioned *ahem* once or twice recently that we have a new book out today: Damsels: Giant Killer - a stand alone, 32 page one-shot (previews here). Doré’s 147 year old engraving was a big inspiration for the one-shot; we knew that if we could capture just a fraction of the atmosphere of that image, then we’d have something that would deliver on a gigantic scale. I’m very happy to say, I think we (Leah, Dietrich Smith, Alex Guimaraes, Chrissie Zullo, Rob Steen and myself) have pulled it off.…
Meanwhile, right here you can get two free retro-styled sci-fi, pulp detective Deadeye stories by us and Matt Timson.
And, of course, all 160 pages of our Victorian techno Soap Opera The Thrill Electric are still available for free online and via iTunes for iOS.
Free comics, just for you. Enjoy.…
I (John Reppion) will be attending Steampunk Doncaster for one day only on Saturday the 15th of June (not the 8th, as previously posted).
I’ll be selling and signing books including Journeys in the Winterlands and a collected volume of my SteamPunk Magazine contributions to date.
Moore & Reppion will be attending N.I.C.E in Bedford for one day only on Saturday the 7th of September.
Moore & Reppion will be attending Thought Bubble Leeds for one day only on Saturday the 23rd of November.
I missed posting this prior to, or at the exact point of, the Vernal Equinox which occurred at 11:02 GMT today. This is due to the fact that, these days, we have no time whatsoever to spare here in Moore-Reppion Towers. Of course, time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. And I’ve just had my lunch.
Some philosophers argue that there is only the Specious Present – the GIF-like mini chain of events which we experience as “the now”. The past is merely the recollection of those spent moments, while to speak of the future is mere speculation upon perceptions as yet unperceived.
Physicists on the other hand, speak of the chronon, and of Planck time (Planck time being a universal quantization of time itself, whereas the chronon is a quantization of the evolution in a system along its world line and consequently the value of the chronon, like other quantized observables in quantum mechanics, is a function of the system under consideration, particularly its boundary conditions).1
Warren Ellis posted a thing on his site last month entitled Boiling Spacetime: How Time Works In The Graphic Novel about how time in comics is completely elastic. Indeed, different time-streams can run simultaneously on the same page in comics (there’s a bit in one of the earlier League books, for example, where a fight occurs right to left on a normal left to right page, meaning that the participants are moving backwards in time).
Right now it feels like we exist in two separate time-streams here. We have workplace time and home/family time, and they’re running simultaneously. As I’m typing this the rest of the house buzzes around me in fast forward, the hands of the clock spin with sickening rapidity. For Leah, who is in the other room with two 9 month olds, time moves more slowly. She can hear the tick of the clock. She can see how bloody long this is taking me. It will be the same when I eventually finish this blog and go and take over with the kids and she comes in here to finish typing the latest Damsels script2; time will fly for her and I will feel every second of it. But I still won’t have enough. There is never enough time. Never enough to do the dishes, to work up that proposal, to sort out those house repairs, to finish that script, to enjoy the progress of the kids. Time is tight, time is the enemy, and it’s ticking away too fast in both Moore-Reppion time-streams.Send more chronons!3 Please.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy Damsels #6 today.
nce again, here we are at the Autumnal Equinox of another year. Summer officially ended about an hour and a half ago and the season of falling leaves, Halloween, and bonfires began. I went on a little pram pushing pilgrimage to the local standing stones with my tribe of sons earlier and paid my respects to the prehistoric Merseysiders whose cryptic carvings still remain, yet seem to go all but unnoticed, in South Liverpool suburbia. Not so much the elephant in the room as the mammoth at the corner of the road, next to where the ice cream van parks.
Although we’re currently on full-time child wrangling duties here at Moore & Reppion towers, there have been some exciting announcements recently concerning things we have already written and which are currently (or soon to be) being drawn, coloured, and lettered.
Damsels #1 came out earlier this month and seems to have been very well received. Due to the aforementioned permanent child wrangling I haven’t had a chance to sort out a proper page for the series yet but moorereppion.com/tag/damsels/ should give you all the info you want for now (beware some spoilery reviews if you haven’t read #1 yet).
Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon has been solicited for a December release. We actually finished work on the scripts for this mini back in 2010 but our Trial artist, Aaron Campbell, went and got himself famous so we’ve had a bit of a wait while Dynamite found the right man for the job. That man turned out to be Mr. Matt Triano and you can see some of his work for the series (as well as the stunning Francesco Francavilla cover for #1) at moorereppion.com/tag/the-liverpool-demon/ (there is a Liverpool Demon page, but it needs updating, sorry).
Something that hasn’t yet been officially announced yet is an adaptation/anthology which we’ve written for Self Made Hero and which is due for release this time next year. We can’t say much more than that at this stage but we’re both very excited about the book which, as it happens, has a very Autumnal feel.
So, although our current days are filled with nappies, prams, nursery and playgroups, and our nights not nearly as full of sleep as would be ideal, we’ve managed to bank thirteen individual issues and a graphic novel’s worth of scripts just for you, dear reader. Don’t worry, it’ll be like we were never gone.…