SLEEPY HOLLOW Comic Writer Marguerite Bennett 'Fell in Love' Instantly with Characters

Cover Art from Sleepy Hollow #2
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Halloween has come and gone! A day to celebrate some of the ghouls and monsters of pop culture, all the while attempting to scare your friends and family in the name of good fun. But while the holiday is over, horror is hre to stay, and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow has hit all the right chords to be one of TV’s fan-favorite programs. Created by Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, along with writer and producer Phillip Iscove and Underworld director Len Wiseman, Sleepy Hollow tells the story of a magically time-displaced Ichabod Crane teaming up with Detective Abbie Mills who try to take down the Headless Horseman and other supernatural nasties.

The first issue of the series hit last week, and to follow up, Newsarama spoke to the Sleepy Hollow creative team of writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Jorge Coelho about the miniseries and how it fits in with the show, Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship, and the team’s collaboration process. BOOM! Also supplied a sneak peek into the second issue.

Cover Art from Sleepy Hollow #2
Cover Art from Sleepy Hollow #2
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Newsarama: So, Marguerite, Joel, Fox's Sleepy Hollow just started its second season. Were you a fan of the show before taking this on or did you have to do a lot of research on who these characters are?

Marguerite Bennett: It’s actually Grant Morrison’s fault that I’m a fan of the show. Last summer, I was at San Diego Comic Con for the very first time without a published comic to my name, flouncing and floundering out of my depth. There was a Grant Morrison panel I was crazy to see, with a panel about this peculiar TV show I’d never heard of in the same room beforehand. I sat in on the pilot for this wild new show called Sleepy Hollow, and my fangirl heart just went and fell in love—with Abbie, with Ichabod, with the whole crazy dark charming world. It was still ringing in my head by the time Grant Morrison’s panel started, and those few hours were among my favorites at the entire con. I got my friends hooked as soon as it aired and we’ve been Sleepyheads ever since.

Jorge Coelho: Actually, I didn't have a clue the show existed! In Portugal, we have FOX on cable, but Sleepy Hollow isn't included. I did know the concept and loved the Tim Burton movie so I just binge watched the whole first season with (unfounded) suspicious eyes, and I was pleasantly surprised by the show's quality. I'm lucky to have a chance to work with this awesome universe.

Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Nrama: What's the timeline of your comic? Is it directly tied to the events of the show or are you branching off to do your own thing and run wild with the mythology here?

Bennett: All the issues of our miniseries take place in the first season. Issue #1 takes place a few weeks after the episode “Blood Moon,” Issue #2 takes place around episodes 6/7, and our two-part finale takes place right after “The Golem.”

Nrama: When you came up with the concept art for this, did you try to capture an exact likeness of the actors or is this more of a translation in your style?

Coelho: I do try to capture the cast's likenesses, but yes, in my own style. I consider it important to the overall look but it would be impossible for me to render them realistically because that's not my style.

Nrama: Jorge, this isn't your first project over at BOOM!, what is it about their environment that keeps you coming back?

Coelho: You know when you enter into a room and you feel like, this is cool, I could live here. Good light, good vibe? It's a bit like that, plus with good professional people. Again, I think I got lucky.

Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Nrama: Marguerite, how would you describe Abbie and Ichabod's relationship?

Bennett: Abbie and Ichabod are people of such determination that I honestly feel certain that no matter the time or place, they would’ve found each other. They could’ve been freedom fighters in some ancient kingdom, they could’ve been soldiers in some distant futuristic war, but their personalities would’ve balanced each other. Their friendship is very fierce and based on intense trust. One thing I greatly admire about the show is the absence of “This is something I have to do on my own, look how cool I am, baby I’m a lone wolf”—the characters screw up. They fall. They lean on each other. They ask for help, protect each other, fight for each other, save each other and are saved in turn. Abbie and Ichabod embody that trust and that ferocity, two people who have gone through hell and betrayal but know that they can trust the other beyond all reason.

Nrama: You're backed by a stellar art team of Jorge Coelho and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, what's the collaboration process been like thus far?

Bennett: They’re making me look way better than I am, for starters! Jorge is a delight. I know I have very dense and often challenging scripts, but he is so intuitive and clever in his arrangements, and the sense of personality and motion and energy in his work is fantastic. Tamra is brilliant; the vivacity she can put into something as basic as an evening sky or the sinister quality in the strike of a match is just a dream. I couldn’t be happier, and Noelle Stevenson, who is doing our backups and our NYCC cover, absolutely kills everything she puts her pen to. She’s got such charm and gravity in turns, and her sense of composition and color is just phenomenal. Phil Noto, Kevin Wada, and our entire cover team is a dream. Art team is about 100x what I deserve. Bless Dafna Pleban for bringing us all together.

Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Art from Sleepy Hollow #2 by Jorge Coelho
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Nrama: Likewise, what about you, Jorge? What's it like working with Marguerite?

Coelho: Marguerite is awesome! But, in truth, we don't talk much because we're both so occupied, and for my part the scripts are so rich that I have a lot to work with to keep me satisfied. On small particular objects, like on something we worked on in the second issue, we wanted to be on the exact same page, but otherwise we have a pretty open channel when needed. Marguerite's scripts give me a lot of inspiration; I find them so juicy and filled with vivid imagery and great descriptions that drawing the pages is a real pleasure.

Nrama: Does Fox send you notes on where to take things? Are they pretty hands-on or are they more trusting?

Bennett: The Sleepy writers were massively supportive and gave us a ton of freedom. I sent them nine pitches, and they chose the three they liked best. From there, I jumped straight to script, with them reviewing and offering notes on the finished product before it went to the artists (the true heroes behind this book). There were times where we accidentally stepped on beats from the TV series (I’m a fangirl, I can’t help it--I watch for clues), but the writers were lovely and gracious and we always found a way to work everything through for the benefit of the story.

Nrama: Halloween is coming up! Do you have a favorite version of Sleepy Hollow that you love to watch to celebrate?

Bennett: The TV show has stolen my heart (as well as my head), I’m afraid.

Coelho: Might have to go with the Tim Burton one, there.

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