The following is an interview with Jamal Igle, the creator of Action Lab Entertainment’s new graphic novel, Molly Danger. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Igle about his inspiration for the all-ages series, the process of working with the multi-continental creative team, and the upcoming release of the story in radio play format.
This interview was conducted on April 26, 2013.
Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: In the summer of 2012, you lead a successful Kickstarter campaign for the graphic novel Molly Danger. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the series, how would you describe its premise?
Jamal Igle: Molly Danger is the story of the most powerful 10 year old in the world, who has been 10 for two decades. She’s inhumanly strong, amazingly smart, incredibly brave, and possibly immortal; however, she’s also immensely lonely. She doesn’t know what it means to be normal, and she desperately wants to find out.
She’s the defender of a small city in upstate New York from a group of super-powered criminals called Supermechs™, all of whom seem fixated on Molly.
BD: What was your inspiration for the story?
JI: Originally, I developed Molly as an animation pitch about a decade ago with a friend. I had just returned from Los Angeles and had been working as a storyboard artist. I was inspired by the series Kim Possible and the Life and Times of Juniper Lee. Eventually, I decided it would work better as a comic book. Unfortunately, I kept having to put it to the side for paying work.
A few years back, I was approached by an editor to pitch an all-ages superhero concept, so I dusted Molly off and reworked the concept to its current form. I thought about what I would want to draw, what would be fun for kids, and the type of story I would want to see play out.
I wanted to create a positive hero for young girls, in particular, something that I felt we aren’t seeing currently in comics.
BD: You have had a very successful career in the comic book industry, with previous work on Action Comics, Iron Man, Nightwing, Spider-Man, and Supergirl. Given your experience with top-notch creators in the industry, how did the creative team behind Molly Danger form, and how would you describe the creative process?
JI: Once I started putting the initial Kickstarter together, I knew there were two people I wanted to work with on the book, one being Juan Castro, the inker. He’s a young, talented guy and he’s really starting to make a name for himself working on G.I.Joe for IDW and Arrow for DC Comics. Romulo Fajardo Jr, the colorist of Molly Danger, was another. The original colorist, Mike Watkins, began the process, but due to a screw up on my part, Mike wasn’t able to continue. So, Rom was kind enough to step in. Rom’s work was introduced to me by Chris Ryall at IDW, and we’ve been working together for over a year now. Frank Cvetovic was introduced to me by the book’s editor, Adam Knave, who I met a while ago and was kind enough to offer his services.
The creative process really starts with me. I pencil the pages and upload them. Juan is in Tijuana, Mexico, and prints them out on blueline. Then, the pages go to Rom, who is in the Philippines, and he colors them. Once that’s done, they go to Frank. While all of this is going on, Adam acts as a second pair of eyes for me making sure everything looks okay.
BD: In a unique release model, the hard cover edition of the book will be released this July through Action Lab Entertainment while an audio version of the series will be released through AudioComics. How do you think that the different mediums will affect the audience’s experience of the story?
JI: In many ways, they’re separate and equal. The audio comic is more like a radio play, so that it can be enjoyed without needing the print comic and vice verse. If you get both, it will enhance the experience, not take away from it.
BD: Producing audio dramas and audio theatre can be a long and involved process, requiring a team of actors, writers, directors, and editors. Did you have a hand in adapting Molly Danger to the audio format or the recording process?
JI: Not directly, but the recording script is based primarily on my full script, with some minor changes. Lance, Roger, Elaine, and the Audiocomics team are more capable of doing it than I could ever do on my own.
BD: Do you feel that audio drama adaptations of comic books will become more prevalent?
JI: It would be nice. Since the announcement was made, I’ve head from quite a few teachers and librarians who liked the idea of having a companion piece for younger readers and visually impaired readers.
BD: A free preview of the graphic novel series will be available for Free Comic Book Day. What can readers expect from the first issue?
JI: The opening salvo, quite literally. It’s 11 pages of book one and you’ll get everything you need to know about Molly, her world, and what makes her tick.
BD: Besides Molly Danger, are there any other projects on which you are currently working?
JI: I have an issue of G.I. Joe coming up. I have a few other things in the works, covers and such. Molly is my primary focus though.
BD: This being Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your own favorite comic books or audio dramas?
JI: My own tastes are fluid I think. For example, I love Saga, East of West, Invincible, The Savage Dragon, The Manhattan Projects, Fatale at Image. At Marvel, it’s Superior Spider-Man , Dardevil, Captain America, Uncanny Avengers, Avengers, New Avengers, All New X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men. I’m still reading Batwoman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash at DC. As far as Audio, if you haven’t checked out Andy Hamilton’s “Old Harry’s Game,” do so NOW. You won’t be disappointed.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell Fanboy Comics’ readers who would like to learn more about Molly Danger?