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Kathryn Immonen interview

 height=(WoW MAY 08)

Kathryn Immonen has written such books Never As Bad As You Think, the Patsy Walker serial in Marvel Comics Presents, and the web comic, Moving Pictures, on www.Immonen.ca. This month, her new series from Marvel, Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Agent of the Initiative, begins. Westfield's Roger Ash contacted her to learn more about the book.

Westfield: Did Patsy Walker: Hellcat, Agent Of The Initiative come about because of the serial in Marvel Comics Presents?

Kathryn Immonen: Yes. It was absolutely as a direct result. Stuart and I had such a great time with that story and I hope that it showed on every page. [Editor] Nick [Lowe] had mentioned that it had built up some interest and goodwill at Marvel and, while certainly nothing was assured, they would be receptive to another proposal. I had some cockeyed malformed notion, code-named at home "The Patsy Walker Christmas Special", that apparently went over well. Then I passed out and hit my head.

Westfield: What for you is the appeal of writing Patsy?

Immonen: She's infectious. I really love her romance roots and, even before that, her first appearances in Miss America. I'm more than a little fascinated by how that history became fictionalized many times over yet it still is firmly embedded in the character once she becomes part of the Marvel Universe. None of this is to say that I'm nostalgic... just kind of amazed. I know she went on to get dragged through a hedge backwards but she still always maintained a vibrant likeability.

She's a fantastic combination of asset and liability... which I guess sounds like a euphemism but that would be a whole different book. It's more like having Heidi Klum for your best friend in high school. Clearly that would be a relationship teetering on a knife's edge. Patsy tends to get what she wants just by asking but no one seems to hold it against her and she also has the Prince Philip gene with the crucial difference that she says absolutely the right thing in totally the wrong way. She comes off a little bit like an idiot savant but is thoroughly un-stupid... except when it comes to men.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the series? Who's in it aside from Patsy?

Immonen: Iron Man, Beast briefly, a fashion student named Ruben who I think should have his own series, evil polar bears, neo-Siberian witches, uh, wolves, ten thousand snowshoe hare, lemmings, hunters and trappers, things that bite and, you know, Hellcat. I wanted to do a story where the personality traits upon which she relies don't wash with the general population. I'm also really interested in the psychic detective side of her. Her superpowers are, admittedly, a little half-baked but her personality isn't... it's completely baked. Her psychic abilities get her into the mess but her inability to actually wield magic is a problem. Everybody loves Patsy... except when they don't and then she's screwed (idiomatically...).

Westfield: You're working with artist David LaFuente on the book. Are you enjoying collaborating with him?

Immonen: Great day in the morning. David is really fantastic. He's got great range and will be drawing from every letter in the visual dictionary on this project. His roots in the European market show up in a kind of openness in his form and a line that is finely detailed. His Patsy Walker is expressive and adorable. It's all pretty glamourous. If that's not an appealing description then I can come up with a hundred others that would serve. I am very, very lucky that he is on this project. He draws a mean polar bear. A really mean polar bear. And he's got enough enthusiasm for all of us. Every time a new page comes in, Stuart mutters something that sounds suspiciously like "don't leave me".

Westfield: Are there any other projects you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Immonen: Stuart and I continue to update Moving Pictures every Friday at immonen.ca/comics and we're getting closer to nailing down a publisher which we are very, very excited about. It should see print sometime in 2009 if we re-double our efforts. We'll have gotten a little over halfway through the story on-line by this fall. We're also doing an eight-page story (Say You're Dead) in the second volume of Outlaw Territory, published by Image.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

 height=Immonen: For god's sake, buy Stuart's Centifolia sketchbook. I've got seven times my body weight in books in our apartment and if we're not careful, we'll be found dead in here next Spring.

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