Seeing Scarlet Again
♦ Scarlet by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev is back, from DC via Bendis’ Jinxworld imprint. Last week, DC spoke to Bendis to give people a chance to get up to speed with the book if they had never read it before so here’s their feature on him and the book…
SCARLET, the popular Jinxworld series from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, fully embraces this tradition. With its story of a new American Revolution and its fourth-wall breaking protagonist, Scarlet has never been a series about doing what you’re supposed to, a tradition that continues today as the book returns with a new issue #1 and a new publishing partner. Scarlet is technically the second Jinxworld comic to be released since Bendis became exclusive to DC, but it’s the first Jinxworld book that had life before DC. Today’s SCARLET #1 is technically the eleventh issue of the series. There’s no reason that you can’t start with it, but you might want to know a bit more about this timely piece of revolutionary fiction before you do.
The series first debuted eight years ago, in 2010, but it’s become more relevant with time, something the creative team is very aware of. Scarlet Rue is a fictional heroine who isn’t based on anyone in particular, but considering how much anger can be found in modern day society, it’s not hard to imagine someone a lot like her emerging in real life.
“Almost all heroes are unlikely,” Bendis suggests. “Scarlet is someone who would never have gone down this road if not being randomly pushed by a bad person. We’ve now spent years watching, on a daily basis, video after video of someone abusing their power, abusing their privilege to oppress someone. Eventually, it’s going to be the wrong f**king person. I’d witnessed something that I thought was going to go that way, and it didn’t, but it inspired me to think about what would happen if it did. What will it take? And really, what it’s going to take is just the wrong person at the wrong time.”
But Scarlet isn’t just forward thinking in its story—it’s entire presentation aims to move the comics bar forward. Maleev’s color palette is muddied and dim, fitting for its battlefield setting. However, he uses brighter color to really add impact to important characters or moments, whether it’s an explosion, a spurt of blood or Scarlet’s crimson hair. Even more noteworthy, however, is the way that Scarlet breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the reader (indicated by square word balloons and italicized text). While other comics that break the fourth wall usually use the technique for comedy, Bendis and Maleev rely on it to really give the reader an understanding of who Scarlet is and why she’s doing everything she’s doing. You get to know her really well, really quickly.
To read the whole piece, visit DC’s website here