Since I mentioned my Lipstick & Malice character Nona LaBete the other day as being the face of my new website re-design, I thought I'd take a moment to share some of my thoughts and sketches of that sassy model/assassin. I created her in 2008, motivated by my love of La Femme Nikita (the movie, the show, and even Bridget Fonda's remake Point of No Return) and inspired by my own (minor) experiences with modeling. With Lipstick & Malice, there were a few points I wanted to address.
- The Sexy. Although I know the concept of the sexy femme fatale killer has been SUPER overdone, and the model/assassin idea has been covered (hello Domino), I thought it would be interesting to explore a killer whose strength lies in the fact that she is a model, first and foremost. And by being a model, she is the ultimate chameleon, someone who commands the spotlight and yet can morph into whatever the situation requires her to be. She becomes invisible because she's both the center of attention and whatever the stylist of the day commands she be. I dunno - for some reason, this idea fascinated me more than the run-of-the-mill hey, there's a hot girl, watch her take these criminals by surprise with her SEXINESS!
- The Skinny. I also wanted to explore the fact that sure, she can rock the lingerie and the sexy party dresses, but she's also incredibly skinny. The biz requires her to basically be a hanger, so she's got very little meat on her bones. I didn't want to make her look anorexic, but definitely all sinewy - and in that way she could fit wherever she needed to, compress or expand like Mr. Fantastic. I definitely looked to Aeon Flux for lithe inspiration. She needed to fit in vents, hide behind door cracks, and slink along the floor.
- The Gore. Another main point I wanted to emphasize with this comic, was that she wasn't afraid to be brutal or do what needed to be done to finish the job. If she's an assassin, she's all in. In my second book in the series, I tried to emphasize the brutality of the profession and how little it bothered Nona. She's still a killer, remember? There's no need for her to be squeamish - she wants this job, for whatever reason. It appeals to her.
- The Victim. I know in a lot of stories involving crime and killers and women, there's a tendency to make even the strongest women eventually become victims (if you haven't heard of Gail Simone's Women in Refrigerators yet, definitely check it out -- the video summation from Bitch Magazine is also good). I wanted to make sure to steer clear of this stereotype - it doesn't mean that Nona will never be in danger, or fighting for her life (it's kind of part of the profession, I would think), but by no means is that going to be the default position for her, nor is the method going to be torture porn. I tried to drive this home in my 3rd book in the series, when Nona is attacked in her home, in an extremely vulnerable position, but yet doesn't get raped/murdered/treated any differently from a male assassin in her same position. In fact, she may even come out ahead.
So that's a little introduction into my model/assassin series. Here's a colorized version of Nona that I've done recently, as well as a few awesome pieces of FAN ART! which I love love love and don't receive nearly enough of!
Loris is an amazing comicker whose illustration blog can be found here!
Charly's a longtime friend and one half of the super podcast Indie Spinner Rack. You can find his artwork here! Sorry for the crappiness of the reproduction of his drawing - but he did, after all, sketch it on the back of an envelope that was mailed and, apparently, crushed and dragged through the mud. ;)