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Models, Inc.: Fashion to Die For

Writer Paul Tobin marches down the catwalk with the Marvel Models and a murder mystery

Patsy Walker
By Jim Beard

Watch out, world! Super heroes and super villains step aside-the mighty marvelous Marvel Models also come dressed to kill! Now appearing on the catwalk: Toni Turner, Patsy Walker, Jill Jerrold, Chili Storm and Millie the Model herself!

MODELS, INC., a four-part limited series from writer Paul Tobin, allows equal time for the other fashionistas of the Marvel Universe and plunges the gorgeous gals deep into a murder mystery of their own. We asked Tobin to dish on all the delicious details of MODELS, INC. #1, out August 26.

"In format, it's a murder mystery, with one of the models-hint: Millie-caught up as a prime suspect in two slayings," the writer reveals. "But, at heart, it's a character study of how the models work together to undercover the bad guy.

"Patsy Walker is one of the models, and that means Hellcat is on the case. Beyond that, Johnny Storm is dating one of the models, putting him on the scene, and another model is rather jealous of Patsy's Hellcat identity, and plays around with a costumed identity of her own. The super hero aspect isn't at a huge part of the book, but the book very definitely reflects its place in the Marvel Universe."

cover by
Scott Clark

And it's definitely a corner of the Universe that until now has gone largely unexplored, but still very much in keeping with the action and adventure you expect from the House of Ideas.

"We wanted a solid footing in the Marvel Universe, because of course it's the world's best playground, but at the same time we wanted to keep the models from drowning in that world," Tobin remarks. "This is why I wanted Patsy Walker in the story, because Hellcat is a fabulous super hero, but essentially just a talented woman in a pretty costume. A bullet will take her down. And while the Human Torch plays a part in the story, Johnny has a history of trying to burn problems away; it isn't his style to sit down and puzzle out a problem."

Aside from the Torch, Tobin has assembled a bevy of beauties that not only turn heads at every stop but catch the eye of the world's greatest pop photographers. How'd this one lucky guy manage to choose a cast from such fine examples of the female form?

"As to picking the models, that was fairly easy," explains Tobin. "We needed Millicent Collins. Millie the Model is one of Marvel's all-time best-selling, most-loved, characters, even if she hasn't been around much in the last 30 years. And Chili Storm was always Millie's rival, so her presence was a necessity. Then of course Patsy Walker was required on the runway, because I love Hellcat, and that gave me an excuse. Toni Turner, Jill Jerold and even Hedy Wolfe all play big parts as well."

MODELS, INC. #2 cover by Scott Clark
The writer's even dared to pick a favorite character while assembling MODELS, INC #1, risking the most stylish of catfights among his cast in the process:

"I'd say it's Jill Jerold, but one of the big factors in that is how little she was used over the years, so it's nice to see her getting some air time. Also, artist Vicenc Villagrasa is doing such a brilliant job with her. He's doing amazing work with all the models, but Jill is coming through as really strong.

"All that said, if you asked me tomorrow, I might have a different favorite."

At first, one might think that the Marvel Models have beaucoup of glamorous things to occupy themselves, but Tobin's murder mystery seems just the ticket to keep their lives lively.

"I think one of the interesting things to do, as a writer, is to take a character out of her comfort zone," he says. "That's one of the reasons I've never really loved super heroes who constantly have epic battles or incredible storylines-it makes those elements be the status quo, and the status quo is dreadfully boring.

"In the case of MODELS, INC., the models are comfortable with being loved and respected, so to have Millie accused of murder is like a bomb going off in their characterization: it shakes them up, rattles their cages, and makes for an interesting story with a higher degree of tension."

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Zalanth member

Sounds like fun.Something nice and different.