DAMSELS is a series from Dynamite Entertainment focusing on the female characters seen in fairy tales. This is how John Reppion and Leah Moore set out to make it different, making the damsels able to stand on their own. Beginning this May, Matthew Sturges, no stranger to fairy tale characters, will be writing a miniseries dealing with the Little Mermaid's story and how it didn't necessarily have a happy ending.
Before the first issue comes out, you'll be able to see a story in the 2013 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue (also featuring a story from the upcoming GRIMM series, based on the television show). We decided to ask Sturges some questions on this series to find out what we can expect.
Comic Vine: How did you get involved writing MERMAIDS?
Matthew Sturges: I’d been trying to do something with the good folks at Dynamite for a while, and up until then, nothing had quite clicked for one reason or another. But when the opportunity to write about The Little Mermaid came along, I jumped at the chance. Obviously I’ve spent some time writing about fairytale characters, but even after fifty issues of writing JACK OF FABLES, the Little Mermaid never came up. So it was great to have the opportunity to try something different, but in a wheelhouse where I was already pretty comfortable. The Dynamite guys have been really supportive of me telling the kind of story I want to tell, and overall it’s gone incredibly smoothly. It’s going to look like a million bucks.
CV: Will this series be connected to DAMSELS in any way or does it stand on its own? Will other "Damsels" ever appear?
MS: It most definitely takes place in the same world, but it’s filling in the backstory of the Little Mermaid’s character, so it actually takes place in the past, in DAMSELS continuity. We basically learn what happened between the time that the Little Mermaid’s happy ending got ruined and bring her up to nearly the present.== TEASER ==
CV: Will most of the action take place on land or underwater? Or will it be a mix?
MS: The entire story takes place on or in sight of water. It begins in a sunken city and also ends in one. A good deal of time is spent aboard a pirate ship. Because pirates have always been and will always be awesome. Basically, the Little Mermaid is hired by a renegade prince to retrieve something magical from the Great Whorl in the center of the ocean. There’s all sorts of danger and skullduggery along the way. I tried to include every kind of water-based mythology I’ve ever wanted to explore.
CV: The point of DAMSELS is to show the female characters able to kick butt. How much butt kicking will we see here?
MS: She punches a shark on page 2 of issue 1. She’s probably the most butt-kicking heroine I’ve ever written. She’s different because she’s actually a very troubled young lady. Being spurned by her Prince Charming (Aurore), she’s become a bitter, despondent, self-destructive person. She feels like she has little to live for so she’s constantly leaping before she looks
Along the way, she also holds a knife at her love interest’s throat, knees a pirate captain in the groin, and wrestles a giant squid. Despite the action, probably the most butt-kicking thing about her is her attitude. She takes absolutely zero crap from anyone. . It’s the first time I’ve written a protagonist like that, and it’s a lot of fun, I must say.
CV: Would a mermaid be completely grossed out to see people eating seafood?
MS: Not this one! One of the things we learn from her in her narration is the attitude of those who live in the sea. It’s eat-or-be-eaten. So the mer-folk in my story don’t have romantic notions about that kind of thing. They eat seafood, and they eat it raw! (Obviously) To my way of thinking, a society of mer-people would have to be pretty tough to survive in a world where death can swim down on you from above and literally bite your head off.
CV: Walking by a fish market, you can't help but notice the odor. Do mermaids have a fishy/ocean water smell when in human form?
MS: That’s funny you should ask, because I actually address that very question in the first issue. The answer is that in human form they always smell a bit salty, like an ocean breeze. I think it’s a pretty nice smell. Selkies, on the other hand, smell like wet dogs.
Regardless of their opinions on the olfactory presence of mermaids, I hope people will give this book a shot. I’m so happy with how it’s turning out, and it’s a book that I think will really appeal to all ages. My twelve-year-old daughter is my first reader on my scripts and she has given them a hearty thumbs up. I figure if I can please her and my Dynamite editors, then I am truly writing an all-ages book!.
Be sure to look for the DAMSELS: MERMAIDS/GRIMM Free Comic Book Day issue in May along with issue #1 on May 8! Here's a look at issue 0.