SDCC '08 - The Return of Cloak & Dagger

SDCC 08: The Return of Cloak & Dagger

Valerie D’Orazio has a storied and public history with comics; she made it public with her “Goodbye to Comics” blog. Alas, they’ve proved harder to say goodbye to than she thought, as she continues to write about them on her current blog, Occasional Superheroine. Now, she’s had such a hard time saying so long, she wound up pitching one of the most often requested of mini-series, a story featuring Cloak and Dagger. She’s writing the return of the duo to their own series at Marvel, and we talked with her about the story, comics, and how just plain excited she is.

Newsarama: Valerie, it seems that at every Marvel panel since they showed up in Runaways the question of “Any plans for Cloak and Dagger?” has been asked. How long have you been trying to come up with an idea that works for this duo?

Valerie D’Orazio: The basic premise of the story and the central theme first occurred to me about a year ago, and over the period of five months or so developed into an idea that I felt really captured their past, present, and future. I thought it was really key to examine the personalities beyond the powers. I think the final version of Cloak and Dagger that hits the stands will be very similar to the one I initially pitched. Marvel has always been supportive of the basic vision I had for the book, so it was just a matter of tweaking it a bit, so that it was reflective of the current Marvel Universe.

NRAMA: You've worked as an editor in comics, but this is your first writing gig. Is it an easy transition for you? Did your time as an editor prepare you more for this?

VDO: Oh, without a doubt I found my editorial background to be invaluable for this experience. It's all about learning how to write comics from the inside-out, and by reading scripts from some of the best writers in the business -- Dan Slott, Brad Meltzer, Darwyn Cooke. Now, has it been an easy transition? Yes and no. There is definitely something about finally being in the driver's seat that is both exhilarating and and slightly intimidating.

NRAMA: Can you give us some hints on the basics of the story?

VDO: I really wouldn't want to give too much away, but basically the story is about taking Cloak & Dagger to -- in my opinion -- the natural next step in their long and often complicated relationship. And the character of Tyrone was one that I especially wanted to develop -- to bring him out of his shell. I think he has earned the right for us to get to know him better, and for him to get to know himself better.

NRAMA: You've been a vocal proponent of women working in comics, now here you are, and your art team is female as well. How did you get set up with these artists? What are each going to be doing art-wise for the book?

VDO: I was having a lunch with a peer one day, and I ran my basic idea for Cloak & Dagger by him for an opinion. He said, I know the perfect artist for this book. And he sent me Irene's samples and I was blown away. It never occurred to me to have manga-styled art for this book. But when I saw the amazing sketches she made of Cloak and Dagger -- it just organically worked. It wasn't about what style was popular. It was just the fact that the art matched exactly what I was trying to say in my story. And then I saw Emily's color samples and pictured that over Irene's art -- and I knew this was going to be a visually stunning book.

NRAMA: The last major appearance of the two characters together was in Runaways, although Cloak has appeared a few times in recent major events. Will this be stemming from those appearances?

VDO: I've certainly taken those appearances -- as well as much of their previous comics (Marvel Knights, New Warriors, etc) -- in consideration. I hunted down a lot of Cloak and Dagger back issues and guest appearances in preparation for this miniseries. That said, I'm sort of taking the duo off in a new direction -- but not so off the path that they wouldn't be able to interact with a team like The Runaways in the future.

NRAMA: Of course, you posted the little tease that you were doing the "Women in Marvel" panel on your blog back on July 11th. How hard has it been for you to contain your excitement and keep a lid on this?

VDO: Excruciating! I've got a big mouth sometimes, you know? So I'm posting on comics 5-6 days a week, and I'm constantly biting my tongue. But the other side of it is, I work in PR now and I've been an editor in the past. So I know how important it is to time these announcements. But -- still was hard!

NRAMA: How has your experience been working with Marvel so far? Are you having enough fun to stick around, maybe pitch something else?

VDO: Working with Marvel has just been such a great experience for me. They have been very supportive of my vision and of what unique elements I have to bring to the table. I never felt steered in a certain direction, or dictated to. I felt like they wanted me to have fun with this book. And even in those moments when I sort of rewrote myself to make Cloak & Dagger more of a book that I thought was "expected" of me -- my editors were perceptive enough to say -- "That's not you. Be yourself." And so it feels liberating. And yeah, if there was another project that would be a good fit for the both of us, I would love to stick around.

NRAMA: Aside from the aforementioned constant fan questions at conventions- why Cloak and Dagger? What appeals to you that made you say "THIS is the story I want to write for Marvel Comics" above and beyond any other?

VDO: Cloak and Dagger -- Tyrone and Tandy -- have had this very long, complex relationship that hasn't really had a satisfying resolution. And it's a very codependent relationship. To me, after reading all the C&D material, I felt that this situation was fairly begging to be addressed -- as if their characters and their romance were caught in stasis. Sometimes relationships get stale, and you need to shake them up a bit in order for everybody to get to the next level. So there are some very basic and raw human emotions caught up in there, and it excited me to get a chance to explore that territory.

NRAMA: Anything else you'd like to put out there? Any other teases?

VDO: "The brighter the light, the darker the shadow." Or, "Two's company, and three's a crowd." Take your pick.

For a video interiew with the writer, click on this link and check out ALL our SDCC '08 floor interviews while you're there...

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