By Tim Stevens
Marvel comics offer a plethora of difficult relationships that seem to forever be teetering between full-fledged romance and unmitigated disaster. For many, like writer Valerie D'Orazio, Cloak & Dagger have long been the most intriguing of these couplings, and one she will look to explore in a limited series announced over the weekend in San Diego.
"I was always fascinated with the complex-one might say unresolved-relationship between those two characters." D'Orazio acknowledges. "It is, in my opinion, one of the great unfulfilled-yet-yearning relationships in sci-fi, right with Buffy and Angel and Mulder and Scully."
D'Orazio, who notes, "all I wanted to do was become a writer for Marvel Comics when I grew up," thrilled at Marvel asking her to pitch ideas, but knew the invitation hardly guaranteed her a job.
"The pitching process became a matter of the right idea at the right time," she admits. "That's where Cloak and Dagger came in. I was just really interested in exploring this bond between them, and take things to the next level and help them grow more as characters."
As it happens, Marvel shared that interest and her pitch landed D'Orazio her first writing job in and industry she has worked in for over 10 years as an editor.
That previous experience bore out as both a help and a hindrance as she got to work scripting the mini. On the positive side of things, the process proved less of a mystery to her than it would be to most first time comic book writers. "I suppose you
can say it allows me to empathize with my editor more and what she or he is trying to do," explains D'Orazio. "I understand the process from the inside-out a bit better, so it makes everything from working out schedules to coming up with cover image ideas a lot easier."
However, at times, that inside knowledge did get in the way of some artistic choices. "There is also a necessity to sort of 'remove' myself from that familiarity with comics as business and product and then just dive into the pure creativity aspect of it," notes the first-time scribe. "There were a couple of times when I was unsure of myself and rewrote things to fit in more with my preconceived notions of what is 'expected' in a super hero comic. And my editors caught that and told me to just keep what I had before: to just follow my true vision and not worry about being like everybody else."
For colorist Emily Warren, the attraction to the book came from seeing her collaborator's work. "The moment I saw [pencil artist] Irene [Flores]'s sketches I fell in love," she confesses. "They were so fluid and elegant, the first thing that popped in my head was 'I want to pull this in Photoshop and go to town!' I knew I really wanted to be apart of the project at that point."
Both creators carry a palpable sense of excitement and gratitude with them. D'Orazio perhaps summarizes their feelings best when she concludes, "I'm just really bowled over with the way Marvel has encouraged me to just be myself on this book, and to stick with my vision. I deeply appreciate that, and I realize I'm very lucky."
For up to the minute Marvel news spinning out of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, visit the Marvel.com SDCC news hub. And while you're waiting in between announcements, spend some time over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!