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Tuesday Q&A

Thursday Q&A: Kathryn Immonen

Preparing Lady Sif to take her own Journey Into Mystery!

By Jim Beard

The indefatigable Kathryn Immonen takes to the forge of Asgard to refashion the Lady Sif, longtime lover of Thor, into one of the premiere names in adventure in the Marvel Universe. It all begins in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #646, out November 21, not with a whimper, but one of the most resounding bangs ever to hit the Nine Realms.

We caught up with Immonen to ask her about her new project, mythology, woman warriors, and her plans for Sif’s quest for the ultimate prize.

Journey Into Mystery #646 preview inks by Valerio Schiti

Marvel.com: Kathryn, were you interested in mythology as a child? If so, what kinds of stories did you gravitate towards?

Kathryn Immonen: I wouldn't say mythology per se. But, like most kids, I had a couple of books that I spent an awful lot of time with. One was a very old, falling apart copy of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” published sometime around 1900—which in and of itself, is a pretty magical object for a kid to have—and was full of stories that I had no ability to parse and still don't. “The sausage was carrying forged papers and so its life was forfeit.” What the hell does that even mean? And the other was a compilation of Hans Christian Andersen stories illustrated around 1970-something. And it was full of blood and horror. You had Cinderella’s sisters cutting their toes off to fit into shoes and then they are only discovered because blood is pouring out of the carriage. And The Little Mermaid and how every step on human legs was like walking on knives and the only way out was to plunge a knife into her beloved’s heart, with the upshot being that she ends up in some weirdo Daughters of the Air purgatory.

Those stories taught me that anything was possible, stakes were very high and unthinkable prices were paid. I also had this book of Andy Capp comics that probably had a profound effect on me.

Marvel.com: What’s your mission statement like on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY?  

Kathryn Immonen: The header on everything I'm handing in reads, “THE MYSTERY, LET US JOURNEY INTO IT,” which is short-hand for really just embracing high adventure—which doesn't need a short-hand, now that I look at it, because that’s pretty short on its own.

Marvel.com: If you set out to accomplish one main thing on the series, what would it be?

Kathryn Immonen: I think the goal is always to enrich the character. With anyone, I want to take that character and make everyone want to write him or her next.

Journey Into Mystery #646 preview inks by Valerio Schiti

Marvel.com: What are the most important things that a reader should know about Lady Sif from the get-go?

Kathryn Immonen: She jumps first and she doesn’t look to see if anyone is following; if they are, great, if not, more for her. She’s fierce and loyal and wants to serve her people above all.

Marvel.com: How does Sif see herself, despite what the truth of the matter may be?

Kathryn Immonen: I think that there’s some element of blind devotion in her character; devotion to her cause, to Thor, to Asgard. And that’s admirable but it’s also one hell of an Achilles heel—Hey! Mythology!—because it can make you think that everyone is playing by the same rules, your rules.

Marvel.com: What kicks off her quest for an ancient Berzerker spell in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #646?

Kathryn Immonen: At the end of Everything Burns, Sif is sick at heart that her homeland continues to be attacked, that Asgardians continue to die—and this is not necessarily specific to Everything Burns; it’s practically a leitmotif. And she finds herself thinking that Asgard should be so strong, so powerful that that, in and of itself, would be a safety mechanism. It’s a theory of a build-up of arms as a preventative measure that is as old as anything. [In the real world] Richard Gatling turned seed broadcast technology into a gun that he was sure would act as a warfare deterrent; Sif, as is her way, takes it upon herself to test this theory.

Marvel.com: Thinking about the title of the book, what kinds of mystery will be most prevalent in the stories?

Kathryn Immonen: The mystery in this first arc involves a dirty little secret that we've devised for Asgard and that Sif, unwittingly, is thrown right into by her brother Heimdall. It involves unraveling an action that was taken in the past, which may have been the result of an equally lousy decision making process. But, like so many things, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

Journey Into Mystery #646 preview inks by Valerio Schiti

Marvel.com: What makes for the prefect opponent for a warrior woman like Lady Sif, in your opinion?

Kathryn Immonen: I like opponents for her that completely confound her. If it’s just sword play, no problem, the rules are clear. But trying to fight or reason with a mentally deficient dragon or chauvinistic warriors, who are determined to redefine “un-emancipated,” is a lot more fun.

Marvel.com: Here’s the $100,000 Question to wrap it all up: Does Sif have the potential to be one of Marvel’s greatest heroines?

Kathryn Immonen: Of course, and it’s because she’s got all the raw material. On the plus side: a fighting spirit and a noble heart. On the other plus side: her tendency to think that everyone wants the same things she wants and the fact that, while she may be the chosen daughter, like Loki, she’ll never be the chosen son.

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