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Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin Discuss Normandy Gold

When her younger sister is found at the center of a brutal murder investigation, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold is forced to dive headfirst into the seedy world of 1970s prostitution and soon discovers a twisted conspiracy leading right to the White House.

Sex, violence and corruption collide in Normandy Gold, a gritty vigilante thriller from best-selling crime authors Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin, with artwork by Steve Scott.

I got a chance to ask Megan and Alison about the series which is a must for fans of gritty 70s revenge films and crime fiction.

Graphic Policy: Where did the concept of Normandy Gold come from?

Megan Abbott: Alison and I were on a train back from a crime fiction convention in Baltimore and we talked about wanting to write something based on our mutual love of 70s movies. And, most of all, we’ve always loved those cool, stoic, damaged male characters played by Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, etc. We were both frustrated with how few of those characters are women. And so came Normandy.

Alison Gaylin:  It was really one of those situations where we were both on the exact same page. Talking about those movies so quickly led to the idea, and then the execution of that idea. It was exhilarating.

GP: You’ve both written numerous books, how has that differed from writing comics? Was there something particular about this story that you wanted it to be a comic instead of a prose novel?

MA: Writing novels and writing comics are pretty different, but in some sense we approach them the same way, with a commitment to character and story. That said, the excitement and freedom here was to draw on our love of movies, and to take advantage of the visual storytelling. We kept thinking about how we would tell Normandy’s story visually, as if a lost 70s movie was unspooling before our eyes.

AG: Exactly! The limitations of a graphic novel script were actually very freeing in this case. Whereas in a novel, you describe scenes using all five senses, a graphic novel script requires you to convey everything through visuals. It was the perfect medium, we thought, for such a cinematic idea.

GP: The story takes place in Washington, DC in the 1970s. Why that era and why that city?

MA: We both really love 1970s movies set in and around DC—All the President’s Men, The Exorcist—and in a specific paranoid vibe that you see in other 70s movies like The Parallax View, Klute. We wanted to enter that world.

AG: Yes, the story is both cynical and paranoid, with a real sense of corruption lurking in every corner. What better place to set that mood than Watergate-era DC?

GP: When working on a project such as this with a complicated conspiracy and crime, how do you plan it out? Are there specific tools you use to keep things straight?

MA: Mostly we relied on each other! We had a general plan, but things definitely changed. We helped each other keep track as we went—and then sometimes we’d get lost in our own conspiracy!

AG: It was amazing how well we were able to communicate via email. But when we got tripped up on an idea, we’d call each other and hash things out over the phone. The final series of scenes, we wrote together at Megan’s apartment over a few glasses of wine.

GP: The comic has a lot of personality in its location and look. How closely did you work with the artist to make sure the comic looked like DC and the fashion seemed appropriate for the time?

MA: We’d always inserted a lot of visual references—screenshots, etc.—in the script as we went, be it actors or specific scenes. They were a way of cataloging our inspiration. That said, Steve Scott just got it from the very beginning. And Charles Ardai at Hard Case understood it from the start.

AG: We were so pleased with the way the artwork turned out. From the beginning of the project, we envisioned it as having the same gritty look as a 70s movie. It was very important to us that it didn’t look jokey or cartoonish. And Steve’s panels were more than we even hoped for.

GP: What type of research did you do when putting together this series?

MA: Well, I do remember doing a lot of weaponry research!

AG: Yes! I think it was you, Megan, who found Normandy’s knife. Also, looking up photos from the era really helped in terms of setting the mood. We found a very memorable one of Plato’s Retreat that was pretty much recreated in one of the panels.

GP: Was there any influences on the series? It feels like there’s really good timing as it involves prostitution in DC and politicians, something that’s in the news today.

MA: Other than the movies we’ve already mentioned, we definitely thought a lot about the big scandals and crimes from the 70s (foremost, Watergate), though when we began this, several years ago now, we couldn’t have anticipated how prescient those elements would become…

AG: It’s shocking – and a little frightening — how relevant the story is now.

GP: One thing that really stood out is the flaws in everything from the lead to the smallest character. There’s the sexism, the trauma on display, even a random character displays anti-Semitism. When creating all of these characters, do you write out those flaws or does it come during the writing process?

MA: It comes naturally from the way we approach character, I think—don’t you, Alison? We wanted to be true to the era, so you do see its mores laid bare. But we also both came at character from a place that acknowledges none of us is all good or all bad. We all have our demons.

AG: Yes, we both feel that flaws are what make a character both interesting and real – and they seem to come out quite naturally during the writing process. I think if we had written out those flaws in advance, they might feel forced. The anti-Semitic comment you mention, which involves a Martha Mitchell-like character, is a good example. It seemed a natural thing for her to say, given the world she grew up in and lives in and the way she looks at things.

GP: You both seem to be drawn to crime/noir and thrillers. What do you enjoy about those genres?

MA: For me, they’re a way of exploring big issues—gender, power, trauma, desire, resilience—and the crime becomes the engine to power the story through those other realms.

AG: I agree! I’d add that I’ve always loved to write about the things that scare me most, and in crime fiction, particularly noir, those things are often found within oneself.

GP: What else do you have coming out soon? Any more comics in your futures?

MA: As for comics, I for one would love to collaborate with Alison again! My next novel, Give Me Your Hand, comes out in July. It’s about two female scientists who share a very troubling secret from their past and then find themselves caught in a ruthless competition. They share a secret and, well, bad stuff happens. I’m also working on TV projects including adapting my novel Dare Me as a network series.

AG: I’d love to collaborate with Megan too! My newest novel If I Die Tonight, is currently out from William Morrow. It involves a carjacking/hit and run in a small Hudson Valley Town – and the lives it destroys when a teenage outcast becomes the primary suspect. I’m also working on another standalone crime novel, due out from William Morrow next year.

 

Around the Tubes

Tomorrow is new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The ComicChron – March 2018 comics sales estimates online: Metal #6 vaults to 187k copies – For those that enjoy the horse race.

The Beat – Sources: Maybe it *is* Amazon who is setting those 99¢ prices on Marvel collections – Most likely.

The Hollywood Reporter – ‘Batgirl’ Movie Back On, Now With ‘Bumblebee’ Writer – Cool.

 

Reviews

Talking Comics – Curse of Brimstone #1

Talking Comics – Goosebumps: Download and Die #1

Talking Comics – Isola #1

Newsarama – Normandy Gold

Preview: Normandy Gold #5

NORMANDY GOLD #5

Writers: Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin
Artist: Steve Scott
C​over A: Claudia Ianniciello
Cover B: Steve Scott
Publisher: Titan Comics
FC – $3.99 – On sale: ​January 10, 2018

FINAL ISSUE!

When her younger sister is found at the center of a brutal murder case, tough-as-nails sheriff Normandy Gold is forced to dive headfirst into the seedy world of 1970s prostitution in Washington DC.

Titan and Hard Case Crime’s Normandy Gold Gets a Trailer

When her younger sister is found at the center of a brutal murder investigation, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold is forced to dive headfirst into the seedy world of 1970s prostitution and soon discovers a twisted conspiracy leading right to the White House.

Normandy Gold (152pp, On sale April 10, ISBN: 9781785858642) is part of Titan’s new Hard Case Crime comics imprint. It’s written by Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin with art by Steve Scott.

Preview: Normandy Gold

Normandy Gold

Writers: Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin
Artist: Steve Scott
Publisher: Titan Comics
SC, 152pp, On sale April 10
ISBN: 9781785858642

When her younger sister is found at the center of a brutal murder investigation, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold is forced to dive headfirst into the seedy world of 1970s prostitution and soon discovers a twisted conspiracy leading right to the White House.

Sex, violence and corruption collide in this gritty vigilante thriller from best-selling crime authors Megan Abbott (You Will Know Me, HBO’s The Deuce) & Alison Gaylin (What Remains Of Me), with artwork by Steve Scott (Batman, X-Men Forever, JLA).

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Pick: The Mighty Thor #700 (Marvel) – I am optimistic with most things that Jason Aaron touches. He has been killing it on this title, and while some are still arguing if Thor should be a female or not, I have been loving this run. Does Jane die? How does Odinson fit into this? We are into Marvel Legacy territory now, so does that mean he returns as Thor? Or is that too easy? Either way, I can’t wait to find out.

Batman #33 (DC Comics) – Tom King is just getting done with “The Proposal” and “The War of Jokes and Riddles”, and is now joined by Joelle Jones on art to start a new arc. I cannot wait to see what Jones comes up with on art, as I love her style. I also cannot wait to see where King takes us next with the Dark Knight.

Invincible Iron Man #593 (Marvel) – Bendis catches a lot of flack, and sometimes it may be warranted, but I have actually enjoyed what he has been crafting with Riri and Doom. I am pleasantly surprised that this has become one of my most anticipated titles and plots.

Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil #1 (Dark Horse) – It’s more of the Black Hammer universe, and Lemire, oh and Rubin. These are two of my favorite creators in the medium, and I can already imagine how their styles will go together, and it excites me.

Kill or Be Killed #13 (Image Comics) – I always look forward to this incredible book. Brubaker is crafting another classic, and I cannot wait to see the ending, but I also never want it to end. That is the dilemma of awesome writing.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Batman: The Drowned #1 (DC Comics) – DC has been knocking it out of the park with Dark Nights: Metal and these one-shots have been introducing us to these nightmarish Batmen. This one is Batman mashed up with Aquaman and the comic itself is one of the best produced yet.

Infernoct #1 (Scout Comics) – A new series from Scout Comics is always worth grabbing and this new one should be on everyone’s buy list. This horror series is one that every fan of H.P. Lovecrraft and horror should check out and it’s perfect for this Halloween season.

Kid Lobotomy #1 (IDW Publishing/Black Crown) – I’m intrigued to see what this new imprint has. I’m expecting Vertigo and we’ll see if this can meet expectations. The series is described as Kafka meets King Lear by way of Young Frankenstein and that alone has me interest.

Normandy Gold #4 (Titan Comics) – I love me some noir and this is a brutal one in a period piece setting. Grim, grimy, gritty, and so good.

The Realm #2 (Image Comics) – This series’ first issue was fantastic, a fantasy Walking Dead and I expect it to find a following like that show. It has the potential to be the next big thing in comics.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Suicide Squad Rebirth Vol. 1 (DC Comics) – All of the awesome in one collected issue. The Squad doesn’t kneel before Zod and it’s amazing!

Top Pick: Black Panther Prelude #1 (Marvel) – The becoming of Black Panther is highlighted in part one of this two part story.

Batwoman #8 (DC Comics) – The “Fear and Loathing” arc continues and the 2nd installment ramps things up to 11.

Harley Quinn #30 (DC Comics) – Who doesn’t want to VOTE HARLEY!

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel) – Bring popcorn, it’s about to get real… bloody!

Preview: Normandy Gold #4

NORMANDY GOLD #4

Writers: Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin
Artist: Steve Scott
Publisher: Titan Comics
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: October 18

Following her bloody encounter with Senator Selwyn Grange…and his subsequent disappearance, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold has begun to realize that the search for her estranged sister may be more complicated than first anticipated. With the trail leading right to the White House, it’s now down to Normandy and Detective Sturges to discover exactly who is pulling the strings…

Preview: Normandy Gold #3

NORMANDY GOLD #3

Writers: Megan Abbot, Alison Gaylin
Artist: Steve Scott
Cover A: Claudia Iannicello
Cover B: Steve Scott
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: August 16

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

After heading to Washington DC to investigate her estranged sister’s disappearance, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold began to dig deep into the city’s underground sex industry. Playing the part of a high-class escort, Normandy soon uncovered a disturbing trail of sex, politics and murder, leading her to focus her investigation on a certain US presidential candidate, Senator Selwyn Grange…

Preview: Normandy Gold #2

NORMANDY GOLD #2

Writers: Megan Abbott and Alison Gaylin
Artist: Steve Scott
COVER A: Claudia Ianniciello
COVER B: Steve Scott
COVER D: Claudia Caranfa
Publisher: Titan Comics
FC • 32pp • $3.99 • On Sale: July 12, 2017

When her younger sister is found at the center of a brutal murder case, tough-as-nails Sheriff Normandy Gold is forced to dive headfirst into the seedy world of 1970s prostitution.

Written by bestselling crime fiction stalwarts Megan Abbott (You Will Know Me, Dare Me) and Alison Gaylin (What Remains Of Me, Into Darkness) with stunning artwork by Steve Scott (Batman, X-Men Forever, JLA).

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get? What’d you enjoy? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below. While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Newsarama – FBI Arrests Alleged Deadpool Pirate For Sharing Movie To 5 Million Views on Facebook – Busted!

Kotaku – The New Spider-Man Game Won’t Let You Kill Anybody – Just Uncle Ben? Too soon?

Newsarama – Jay Baruchel Becomes Chief Creative Officer & Co-Owner of Chapterhouse – Interesting. Very interesting.

The Beat – Is the Comicon circuit hitting a slowdown? A Veteran Vendor speaks – Ruh roh.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Catalyst Prime: Accell #1

Newsarama – Dark Days: The Forge

CBR – Dark Days: The Forge

Newsarama – The Defenders #1

CBR – The Defenders #1

ComicMix – Fun

Comic Attack – Injustice 2 #3

Newsarama – Normandy Gold #1

Newsarama – Secret Empire #4

Talking Comics – Secret Empire #4

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