Writer Kelly Thompson reveals new details about Kate Bishop’s recent strange behavior!

Case No: 090617

Investigator: Marvel.com

Clients: Kelly Thompson

Case Overview:

Kate Bishop returns in HAWKEYE #10 on September 6—but something doesn’t seem quite right with our super sleuth. Kate learned that her father is in league with the tall, dark, and villainous woman known as Madame Masque—and if that wasn’t enough, her mom’s necklace just resurfaced with some oh-so-confusing evidence. Seems like no surprise that Kate is shaken up, but writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero worry something more might be going on.

“Listen, she’s not eating nearly enough tacos. She didn’t make finger guns once today. She doesn’t have any bandages on her face. She looked like she combed her hair and she’s wearing heels. Who is this person?!” confides Thompson. Word on the street even says Kate was out clubbing… so unless she’s secretly eradicating some illegal nightlife activities, something must be seriously wrong with our feisty female detective.

Detail of Events:

Between the drama with her dad, the bad guys, and new cases continually popping out of the woodwork, Kate has quite a lot on her plate. And while she might not have any trouble clearing a plate of mini donuts, a plate full of super hero-sized problems often proves a bit harder to swallow.

But Thompson ponders, “Kate does not run away from a fight. Kate runs headlong, full bore into any fight she sees for good or ill.” So when Kate doesn’t seem too interested in immediately running to the aide of her friends, she gets pretty concerned.

“The whole thing with Kate’s dad has really put her in a vulnerable position, where she’s a little angrier, a little less clear headed, and definitely feeling more guilty—especially as it relates to her friends,” recounts Thompson, after noticing Kate acting a bit uncharacteristically for a few issues now—putting herself in too much danger, making only a normal amount of jokes, and acting unusually with her friends. And now she’s becoming unexpectedly mischievous, explains Thompson, spilling the beans that Kate kisses multiple in issue #10. Expect things to get awkward and complicated—even by Kate’s standards. So is this dual persona just Kate’s way of dealing with recent difficult experiences or is something more sinister going on?

Actions Taken:

It looks like the task of making that discovery falls on you, True Believers! The tables have turned—Kate’s in the hot seat and we need to figure out what’s going on. What exactly should we look for?

“Did she put a frozen food of some kind on her face to reduce swelling? Did she get punched in the face a lot? Make one too many jokes so that it becomes uncomfortable for everyone? These are day-in-the-life for Kate Bishop—and if you don’t see them, maybe you should worry,” warns Thompson.

Additional Notes:

Be warned, there will be a lot to sift through in this investigation. “Expect Kate to confront her father on the biggest questions between them. Expect one of the Kate’s friends to make a lot of relationship trouble in her life. Expect Kate to kick many butts and Lucky to play a low-key pivotal roll in that. Expect Kate to go out with her friends and to have a very vintage, classic Hawkeye villain show up,” teases Thompson, who also adds that master artist Leonardo Romero provides some brilliantly-subtle visual clues to help us differentiate the pages where Kate’s acting normally—and the ones where she’s not quite herself.

Be the first to figure out what’s behind Kate’s strange demeanor with HAWKEYE #10, by Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero, on September 6!

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Captain Phasma stars in her own limited series next month!

Next month, Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto open the blast doors to one of “The Force Awakens” most enigmatic villains: Captain Phasma, as she stars in her own limited series in the lead up to “The Last Jedi” coming out this December.

With Captain Phasma’s dominating presence and the eye-catching chrome Stormtrooper armor, few were surprised that she would find herself a fan-favorite despite having only a small amount of screen time. Naturally, Thompson and Checchetto seek to address this through giving fans a glimpse into Phasma’s story in the lead up to Episode XII. To get the skinny on this new series, we spoke with Thompson to see what she and Checchetto have in store for readers this fall!

Marvel.com: Normally, Kelly, I like to ease into these interviews, but with CAPTAIN PHASMA, I’m coming in heavy! If we look at “The Force Awakens,” Phasma looked like this total badass character especially with what we know of Gwendolyn Christie. But the most we see from her doesn’t register with a major league villain between killing some nonthreatening villagers and then being taken prisoner by some newbie good guys. Are you going to give us a chance to see the truly imposing and terrifying side of this character?

Kelly Thompson: Yeah, I mean, I think we all can understand that Star Wars can’t be a “Phasma Story.” Star Wars is an ensemble piece and there’s only so much room for a character like Phasma, no matter how well designed and potentially charismatic! I, of course, can’t tell you how much she’s going to get to be in the next film, but I think it’s fantastic that she’s getting a chance both through her comics and through her own novel to tell her story. She’s a character with incredible potential, and it’s exciting that it’s being explored.

Marvel.com: When we consider the back story to her armor alone – the remnants of one of Palpatine’s Naboo ships – we’re clearly looking at a character with a deep back story. Yet, we really don’t hear much from her. What insights can you share with us about developing her story further?

Kelly Thompson: Phasma is an incredibly complex and also laconic and mask-wearing character. She is not easily known by anyone, and that is deliberate on her part. I’m lucky enough to have gotten to read an early draft of the novel, which delves deeply into Phasma’s back story and it’s very cool stuff. The comic, however, is more focused on the present – and specifically what happens when Phasma gets out of that garbage chute. We are drawing on some of her back story in more subtle ways, but we didn’t want to step on the novel’s toes. As a result, we don’t go too deep into that territory, focusing instead on who Phasma is today.

Marvel.com: In The First Order, we see General Hux as a political beast – someone anxious to climb his way to the top of the order and garner favor from the ominous, Supreme Commander Snoke. Kylo Ren, however, shows us a much more impetuous and undisciplined villain, who finds himself struggling with the light side of his otherwise dark nature, as he too seeks Snoke’s favor. Where does Phasma fall in all of this? Is she loyal to the more militaristic Hux or do you think she plays another game?

Kelly Thompson: I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say here, but Phasma, more than any other character we’ve met in the Star Wars universe I think, is a survivor.

Marvel.com: Now, I have to believe there’s a real tightrope act for you here given that we still have two more films to go and plenty of story to tell. How do you strike the balance between revealing just enough information without spoiling what’s to come?

Kelly Thompson: We were given very clear parameters about our story, showing Phasma’s road from the garbage chute to the next film, which, to be honest, was a huge, exciting, and slightly terrifying responsibility. But I hope we embraced it and fans will dig it. I don’t think it’s quite what anyone is expecting, but I hope that’s a good thing!

Marvel.com: With working in an already established world, I’m curious what aspects of the story you and Marco Checchetto plan to bring?

Kelly Thompson: We start out in Issue #1 on Starkiller Base, so fans will be getting a closer look at the last moments of Starkiller Base and all that entails. The rest of the series takes place on an all-new planet with all-new monsters, aliens, and threats…exciting stuff that I hope fans will dig!

Having Marco Checchetto on art is absolutely fantastic. He’s got this incredibly realistic style that works so well for Star Wars, and he’s an excellent storyteller with sharp instincts. His work blows me away every time I see new pages. And we’ve got Andres Mossa on colors and Paul Renaud on covers, which means the visuals are just across the board incredible.

Marvel.com: As a final question: What do you think victory for Captain Phasma looks like? Do you think she’ll achieve this goal in either the next installment of the new trilogy or, at the least, by its end?

Kelly Thompson: I think Phasma is looking for victory every day. Every day is an effort to survive and advance. Ultimate success for her is being so powerful that she cannot be destroyed, but even if she achieved such a thing, I don’t think she could relax or enjoy it. Ideally, there’s a story in her future that forces her to confront that strength/weakness within herself and come out the other side having changed or grown. But because Star Wars is not a “Captain Phasma” story as we already discussed, I don’t know if something like that is in her future or not – in the films — or anywhere — we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store.

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Kate Leth, Amy Reeder, and Kelly Thompson speak out on several subjects!

We continue this month’s celebration of Women’s History with a roundtable discussion consisting of some of Marvel Comics’ most talented creators: Kate Leth (PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT!), Amy Reeder (MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR), and Kelly Thompson (HAWKEYE). We wanted speak with these creators not only to know who influenced their work but also to get an idea as to how and where they see women affecting the industry as a whole.

Marvel.com: To kick things off, I’m curious who you think are the most significant female super heroes in the Marvel Universe and why?

Kate Leth: I think that right now, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and America Chavez are probably the most influential, at least to the women I know. I have personal favorites, of course—She-Hulk tops the list—but I think each of those three and their respective titles—including YOUNG AVENGERS—have really pushed Marvel in a new and better direction. None of them are cookie-cutter bombshells or plot devices; they’re all fully-realized and reflective of the real world.

Amy Reeder: Historically, I’d say Storm is pretty significant; talk to any random person on the street and they’ll know who Storm is. And that’s not nothing! Something about her has clearly made a lasting impression on the world, and I’m not sure if that’s her amazing design, cool powers, or just general command of presence. I would love for her to come more to the forefront than she already is. She is a true leader.

On a current note, I’d say Ms. Marvel has kicked off a whole new era of comics at Marvel, that is focusing both on the importance of representation, and the originality of story and art. It feels like we’re experiencing a renaissance.

Kelly Thompson: I think Captain Marvel is undoubtedly one of the most important characters out there for Marvel and with good reason. Storm, She-Hulk, and Black Widow are also super iconic and powerful to me. I also think some of the more atypical super hero cult favorites like Jessica Jones and Nico Minoru of Runaways, especially with TV shows—or upcoming TV shows—have the potential to leap to the front of the line. One thing I love about all of those I just listed is the variety; there’s no type there, they’re all very different characters the same way Wolverine and Spider-Man are different and that’s both important and a big change we’ve been seeing in the last five to ten years; enough female roles to see some real variety in the characters. In the end though, I think it’s impossible to understate the importance of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. The impact of that character is massive. She’s a game changer, and I hope it’s a permanent change.

Marvel.com: Of course, you are all currently working on female-led titles for Marvel. I recognize it’s difficult to look at your work from a historical perspective since you are in the moment as we speak. All the same, how do you think your respective titles are affecting the shape and creative direction of the Marvel Universe?

Kate Leth: I hope HELLCAT is picked up again in years to come by people who realize just how queer it is. Not just in its characters, but its sensibility. I absolutely think straight people can write gay characters, but I think that Brittney and I, who are both queer, made this book something authentic and genuine in between all the puns and crime-fighting. As our book is ending, I look to others to pick up the glittering, rainbow torch. [Laughs]

Amy Reeder: Seeing as I created Moon Girl, it’s hard not to have high hopes on that front; I hope that she will be a solid mainstay in the [Marvel] Universe and our team has been working hard to see that happen. She is currently the smartest person in the Marvel Universe! So, it’ll be interesting to see how long she can hold onto that title. She’s now featured in three video games, and I do truly hope she can find her way into film or television, if only because this would be a great opportunity to have a young black girl hero on the screen. And past that, I hope that the success of our book sets off many more titles that keep representation in mind, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more young characters as well.

Kelly Thompson: I mean, obviously, Kate Bishop should be ruling the world, right? [Laughs] More seriously, I do think you’re right that it’s really hard to know what something you’re doing will mean to people or the market in a year, let alone five or 10 years. I’d love for Kate to not only continue being a fan favorite but to also level up to solid super-star A-list status—she’s obviously well on her way to that; and I hope we’re helping to make that happen, but she’s got a ways to go before she’s a household name like Storm or Captain Marvel or Black Widow.

More broadly I’d love to see more books like HAWKEYE that are allowed to have “smaller” stories. I love a good world ending apocalypse as much as the next guy, but sometimes I want something that stands on its own a bit and feels a little more personal. Those can be tough in this cutthroat market, but I think they’re really important stories, and also happen to be some of the best—and most critically acclaimed—stories we’ve seen in recent years.

Marvel.com: Taking things in a more personal direction, which women in comics have had a significant effect on you as comics creator?

Kate Leth: I would not be in comics if it weren’t for independent creators like Kate Beaton, Jess Fink, and Emily Carroll. That’s where I found my start and inspiration, through women who did it themselves and built a career on their own terms. There are the big names, of course—Kelly Sue [DeConnick] and Gail [Simone] have been incredibly supportive and inspirational to me—but Kate and Jess and Emily gave me the guts to just get out there and make the thing.

Amy Reeder: Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss made a very early and lasting impression on me and how I think comics should be. Sophie Campbell has probably affected me more than anyone else, male or female—her love for creating unique characters echoes her passion for people in general. I’ve learned a lot from [SPIDER-MAN] artist Sara Pichelli—my sketches have gotten more life in them from looking at hers.

Also, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR artist Natacha Bustos has been blowing me away with her art. I’m floored by her ability to draw all the crazy things we’ve asked for, and at an amazing pace. I’m learning from her how to stop myself from doing too many details, all while making panels look better and with more focus.

Kelly Thompson: Kelly Sue DeConnick. She’s not only written some fantastic and hilarious comics, super hero and otherwise, but she was certainly the driving creative force behind Captain Marvel’s book, and the character becoming a definitive A-lister at Marvel comics. And from where I’m sitting that pushed the needle forward in a really important way, both for Marvel and for female characters and super heroes more broadly. I also think not enough can be said about [editor] Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson’s work with MS. MARVEL; that’s some once in a lifetime magic there—a perfect pairing of creators and character. Kathryn Immonen’s WOLVERINE & JUBILEE and her JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY run are so great—wild and creative and fun and unexpected. Gail Simone is obviously a legend, she paved the way for so much, made so many things possible for those of us that have joined her in comics.

And if I start listing artists that have inspired and affected me we will literally be here all day: Becky Cloonan, Fiona Staples, Sophie Campbell, Tula Lotay, Meredith McClaren, Jordie Bellaire, Stephanie Hans, Annie Wu, Brianne Drouhard, Jillian Tamaki, Amanda Conner, Babs Tarr, Pia Guerra—so, so many.

Marvel.com: Which women working in comics today do you think are really pushing the medium and industry forward?

Kate Leth: I’m gonna get real self-serving for a second and say that the Valkyries, the group I founded years ago—that is now nearly-700 members strong and much larger than me—for women working in comics retail, are making a huge difference. As the group’s evolved, members have moved into publishing and creating, but those working on the ground in shops and libraries have made a huge difference. As a unit, they’ve got power, and influence, and their concerns are being listened to. For publishers to see this and realize they need to address it and cater to it is something that didn’t exist five, 10 years ago. That matters!

In terms of creators, I think the biggest change is coming from outside the Big Two. Nobody’s made an impact like Raina Telgemeier or Kate Beaton. I think that indie creators, people making webcomics and graphic novels, are the ones to watch. Spike Trotman, Taneka Stotts—with Sfé Monster—are publishing anthologies that traditional publishers might never have wanted to touch and are seeing huge success. I mention these names quite often, but I honestly think they’re crucial to this industry. While there are lots of indie creators I’d like to see tackle Marvel stories, I’m happy to see them flourish with their own work.

Amy Reeder: Dare I say it: I think most instances of the medium being pushed forward right now is through the work of women. We have women who are making major headway in the book market, like Kate Beaton and Raina Telgemeier. Steven Universe’s Rebecca Sugar has perhaps unintentionally inspired swaths of comics hopefuls with her art style; it’s all I see with art students. Most of the books with buzz surrounding them involve women creators and/or characters.

A lot of the up-and-comers are exciting, too. This gal Hannah Blumenreich recently did a short backup story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25, based on her awesome webcomic Spidey Zine. She’s someone to look at. I’m also really excited about this young writer-artist Tillie Walden—she tells stories in a way I never knew I needed, but the fact is, I do.

Kelly Thompson: Anyone that can move the needle like Kelly Sue DeConnick has and sort of permanently change the conversation, is an icon and a legend as far as I’m concerned. We’re all benefiting now from a lot of hard work she put in at Marvel and continues to put in elsewhere. Her creator-owned Bitch Planet, to me, is probably the most important book in comics right now. It also happens to be fantastic. And being both important and legitimately fantastic at the same time is no easy feat!

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Kelly Thompson gets Kate Bishop some guidance from Jessica Jones!

It’s Women’s History Month everyone! And it just so happens that Marvel Comics has a leading lady team-up that Hall and Oates would be proud to sing about coming your way April 5 in HAWKEYE #5 by series writer Kelly Thompson and guest artist Michael Walsh. That’s right, Jessica Jones rolls into town with Kate Bishop ready to soak up all the veteran detective tricks she can like an enthusiastic sponge.

“I think Kate would be the first one to admit that she’s sort of still figuring out how to be a PI and so Jessica Jones has already been a sort of mentor and a great force in her life, so to get to use her in the private detective capacity as well, she’s super into it,” says Thompson.

The writer let slip that throughout this two issue team-up Kate pulls advice from her experiences working with Jessica; sort of like Jessica’s PI tips, brought to you by Kate Bishop. For instance, Jessica might see a suspect in Kate’s aviators and Kate’s take away from that: aviators rule! A thought cops everywhere agree with, Kate, because aviators do indeed rule.

“I think that certainly these aren’t bits of advice Jessica is trying to impart, it’s just bits of experiences that Kate is choosing to pick up from her specific sensibility,” Thompson notes. “And sometimes they’re more relevant to actually learning something than others, but I think within the context of the story it’s fun and everyone will enjoy it and you learn a little bit about Kate and a little bit about Jessica at the same time.”

Hawkeye #5 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco

Now given that Jessica pretty much owns the role of stoic, street smart sass master who doesn’t take lip from anyone, we could imagine that there might be a bit of tension with Kate about as stoic as a five-year-old whose parents just brought home a puppy. Even so, Thompson believes Jess can’t help but be reminded of when she began her detective days, and may even pick up some tips herself.

“I think everyone learns a little bit from Kate just because she’s such a boundless fount of optimism, to an almost ridiculous degree,” the writer shares. “I don’t think that’s Jessica’s sensibility but it sort of rubs off on her. It’s definitely a mentorship but as they grow together, I think it changes a little bit through our story so it goes more from mentor-mentee to just colleagues which is huge for Kate and it’s thanks to Jessica’s strong guiding hand that helps her get there.”

Catch all the action and maybe even a few detective tricks on April 5 in HAWKEYE #5!

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