ECCC 2019: The Black Crown Panel Announces Marilyn Manor By Visaggio & Zarcone

by Hannah Means Shannon

At the Black Crown panel at Emerald City Comic Con on Friday evening, Shelly Bond hosted Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mags Visaggio, Nick Robles, Tamra Bonvillain, and Alison Sampson.
Bond said that she’s been in comics since the 1980’s, but the most exciting and fulfilling thing has been the last two and a half years that she’s spent at Black Crown. They’ve put out 10 miniseries and 7 trades in that time.
Talking about Femme Magnifique, Bond said that the goal of creating the anthology was always “to inspire”. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s contribution focused on Hilary Clinton, with Elsa Charretier, and used no dialog. Originally there were going to be narrative captions, but in the end they didn’t need them. DeConnick feels “defensive” of Hilary, because she can be problematic, but people who live in the spotlight make mistakes. “People need to be allowed to learn and grow”, DeConnick argued. As an “incredibly qualified candidate” who had lived in the spotlight for 30 years, and her loss of the presidential race, DeConnick stated, was down to nothing but “misogyny”.

Alison Sampson spoke about her story with Leah Moore, about Beth Ditto. The story really captures the experience of 90’s music in the small club scene that she and Leah experienced in Britain. She learned a lot working on it, including more about Ditto’s life, and particularly enjoyed the nostalgia as well as the universal experience it conveys. The story is aspirational to a lot of people, based on fan response, Sampson said.
Nick Robles conversed about Euthanauts, which has just arrived in trade. His favorite moment was the intro the series where he handled “everything”, which set a foundation in stone for the series. Featuring Thalia, an assistant funeral director, with a lifetime’s obsession with death, the book’s premise is “scary” to a lot of people, but it’s also very brave. It’s a focus on the “human experience”. Bond said that there’s a moment when something goes from “mediocre to masterpiece”, and watching that with Euthanauts was amazing. Comics editing is the “greatest job no one knows about” working on “magnificent” processes, Bond said.
Circling back to the 90’s music theme, Bond commented that Mags Visaggio and Bond share a love for 90’s music. Bond announced Mags Visaggio as writer on new series Marilyn Manor, one of the “weirdest” things she’s ever worked on. It’s about a first daughter who gets the White House to herself for one week and decides to throw a giant party. That goes very, very wrong. It’s drawn by Marley Zarcone of Shade the Changing Girl. It’s set on August 1st, 1981, the day that MTV debuted.

Bond said that musically, the era was post-punk, new wave, and new romantic, with a salute back to glam rock, and that’s being captured by the book. For Visaggio, the early 80’s are a “foreign country”, but the opening of MTV made her wonder about what it means to “be observed”. As a first daughter who’s been very rebellious, the lead character deals with a “broadcast, public persona” during an era where it was less common, so that helps examine the idea. Her best friend, Abe, is a teen girl who’s convinced that she’s possessed by the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. The series will debut in June. It’s a story of friendship, classes, and appropriation, Bond said.
Tamra Bonvillain spoke about the stages of coloring the covers for Marilyn Manor. She discussed the process through flatting work, when she was given some inspirational Andy Warhol and Marilyn Monroe shots. Then she gave it more of a “cell-shading” approach to the initial colors. Then she added a “shift” to give a certain feeling of “off-register” printing. It was something people tried to avoid when publishing comics in the 90’s, but Bond loves it as an effect of something in motion. Tim Daniel created the logo.

The book breaks the fourth wall and there are fantasy sequences in the book, according to Visaggio. The main character feels she has a relationship with Marilyn Monroe, since her father had an affair with him. Monroe’s objectification was something she turned into power, Visaggio feels, and the story’s protagonist wants to do the same with her public notoriety. You’re going to see some “interesting dead presidents resurrected”, in the series, Bond warned.

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