Lady Killer #1
I’ve long admired the work of Joëlle Jones, who’s drawn, among many other things, You Have Killed Me, Token, and 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. Now, she’s drawing AND cowriting a new miniseries with long-time collaborator Jamie S. Rich.
Lady Killer will launch in January from Dark Horse Comics. (The series is going to be five issues.) It’s tag-lined as “Betty Draper meets Hannibal” because it’s a story, set in the 1960s, about a homemaker who’s also an assassin for some secretive organization.
I got an early look at the first issue, and I loved the period touches, from Josie’s smart suit to her cute pillbox hat. I’m curious to find out how she got into her particularly odd profession; I hope there’s space for it in later issues. This one brings us a scene demonstrating Josie’s determination and creativity — when her poisoning plan goes awry, things get more hands-on, with a well-staged sequence of butchery in the kitchen. And the idea of a killer Avon lady, while likely disturbing to the cosmetic company, tickles me.
The theme of nasty doings under the polished facade of mid-last-century domestic bliss isn’t a new one, although Lady Killer takes things further than Mad Men does. This one is more visceral, more pointed in the details, wringing humor out of the small moments. Jones captures all the small moments without the slick surface that would make it too superficial. There’s grit underneath her images, and that’s well-suited to her story.
Josie’s got a handler, an attractive man who pushes her beyond her comfort level, as well as a suspicious, hostile mother-in-law who will be causing trouble in future, I’m sure. Next issue features Josie undercover at the Kitty Cat Club — you can guess what that costume looks like, only the tail is longer than a fluffy bunny’s.
The creators talk about their inspirations in this interview, if you want to learn more.