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Comic Writer Cecil Castellucci Talks About DC’s Female Furies

March 12, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Female Furies

Cecil Castellucci knows how to write memorable characters. Anyone who has read her run at DC’s Shade, the Changing Girl can testify to her elevating abilities. Shade was a modern classic revamp of DC/Vertigo’s Shade, the Changing Man, and it worked on a number of levels, updating an interesting concept to modern time and issues.

Now Cecil has set her sights on the Female Furies, giving it a never-before-seen spin for today’s audience.

Cecil, along with artist Adriana Melo, deliver a fun, twisting take on the ladies of Apokolips and finally gives the Female Furies direction and weight.

She was kind enough to take time to answer some questions about the book and its future.

Steve Gustafson: Cecil, thank you again for taking time to answer some questions for I understand that it was after a conversation with Dan DiDio that it came to be. What was your first impression of how the Female Furies were presented in the classic Jack Kirby ‘Fourth World’ Omnibus?

Cecil Castellucci: It was really great to see Kirby’s Fourth World unfold in the Omnibus. How he lays out the whole world and the characters. I knew of Barda and Granny before I went in and when I read more about them I just loved them even more for their complexity. Granny is really a complicated character who is so complicit in Darkseid’s evil. It was great to deep-dive with the other Furies as well and get to know them. Of course, it is also frustrating to see that no matter how strong they are, even in Kirby’s books, they are kind of kept in a corner. That’s why Barda is so great. She’s front and center and her love story with Scott Free/Mister Miracle is one for the ages.

Steve Gustafson: Following up on Kirby’s ‘Fourth World’, how familiar were you with that corner of DC universe before ‘Female Furies’ came to be?

Cecil Castellucci: As I said before, I knew very little. I had heard of some of the key players but I didn’t have a grasp of how complex and interwoven all the stories are. Reading them all at once and seeing what Kirby was fascinated with, story wise, was amazing. It’s epic Greek tragedy-level stuff. And it digs in really deep to the nature of good and evil and what’s bred in the bone. He really was trying to pull in some interesting science stuff into the book, too. When you look at his interest in DNA in a lot of the stories, it really is a time when Science Fiction was golden. All these science breakthroughs on the cusp of happening and he pulled those threads to tell tales.

Steve Gustafson: People are rightfully pointing out that this series presents the Furies as strong, smart women in extraordinary circumstances and reflects the evolving world we live in today. On the same note, at it’s heart, it’s a really, really good story. Did you go into planning the series with the story first or did it grow from the message about how these women were taking back their lives, which is extremely relevant today?

Cecil Castellucci: I went in straight away with the idea of what would a “me too” movement look like on Apokolips. At the get go, in my first sketches of the idea I was looking at The Handmaid’s Tale. Because, to me, that world is a hell parallel Earth…and Apokolips is definitely hell. But that was way too depressing and not empowering, so as I did my research and through conversations with Dan Didio and Jamie S. Rich, the focus changed a bit to make the Furies more empowered. Or, more precisely, a story about how they get empowered. I pulled the story directly from Kirby’s original Fourth World stories, but firmly put the point of view on what it would be like to be a woman on Apokolips and to try to bring change and make some kind of play for equality. And I definitely took a tip from the headlines in the current cultural moment we’re in. These are hard things to write about, and I don’t take any of it lightly. And thank you for liking the story, as brutal as it is. I know Adriana and I are getting emails from people saying thank you for giving this a voice.

Steve Gustafson: Big Barda is the most well known of the Female Furies but do you have a particular favorite to write?

Cecil Castellucci: She is pretty great to write. And I really see the story as her awakening, which very closely mirrors her own journey in Kirby’s version, where she has an awakening there too. But I got to say that writing Granny Goodness is actually a highlight. She’s so multilayered and nuanced, as bombastic as she is. She’s also, in my opinion, the most tragic character on Apokolips. I really, really feel for her. She’s the toughest cookie of them all and has it incredibly hard.

Steve Gustafson: How has it been working with Adriana Melo on the book? Her style is a great fit for the story, balancing the action scenes with the quieter ones.

Cecil Castellucci: Adriana has a real gift for taking these brutal scenes and hard moments and imbuing them with a sense of grace and poise. I’m in awe of what she does. She is also so great at doing a fight scene. She brings the action to show the fierceness of The Female Furies, and I think that you need that balance, of showing how three dimensional these ladies are. They are an elite fighting force, but they are also beings who have their own feelings, wants, needs and desires. I think she finds that balance in the art beautifully.

Steve Gustafson: Once the six-issue mini-series is done, do you have plans for more Female Furies stories?

Cecil Castellucci: Any writer will tell you that they always seed in a few threads to pull on for future stories. Either for themselves or for someone else to pull on down the line. So the answer is of course I have ideas. But for me, I am also very glad to keep it a six issue mini-series. I come from a punk rock background, so I say, sometimes a song is under two-minutes. And when it’s done it’s done. I am very happy with where we land in this and, to me, it feels complete.

Steve Gustafson: Last question, and this comes from a 7-year old. My kids are huge fans of the animated DC Super Hero Girls and my daughter is especially big of Big Barda and the Female Furies. When I told her I was interviewing you she wanted me to ask if you have you seen any of the episodes and, if yes, what did you think?

Cecil Castellucci: Oh! I have! Well, not seen it exactly. But I did get to meet Lauren Faust, the creator and I got to have a sneak peek while they were breaking the first season and got to see the process while they broke down one of the episodes (Episode 3, I think. It’s called Hate Triangle) and I was all squee squee squee. It’s going to be such a great charming show and I can’t wait to watch it.

Steve Gustafson: Cecil, thanks again for your time and can’t wait for the next issue!

article topics :

Female Furies, Steve Gustafson