The Tomb Raider franchise is nearly two decades old now with millions of games sold, making Lara Croft a certified video game icon. A few years ago, Dark Horse relaunched the Tomb Raider comic series that’s more in tune with recent video game series reboot that emphasized more of Lara’s origin. Now, Lara Croft returns with Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen, a Tomb Raider mini-series written by Corinna Bechko and illustrated by Randy Green.
Newsarama spoke with Bechko about this new Tomb Raider series, what’s it like to add to the franchise's legacy, and if it’s important for women to write comics with women lead characters.
“When I played Tomb Raider way back in the late 90’s I remember being thrilled the adventure centered upon a smart archeologist, and a woman at that,” Bechko told Newsarama. “I took quite a few anthropology and archeology classes once upon a time myself, before switching to zoology, so that was really exciting for me.”
Given the multiple video games and comic book series already out for Tomb Raider, the question of how this new Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen series fits into the continuity is one that Bechko is quick to answer.
“It’s own thing, since it takes place in a little bit of a different timeline from the relaunch," the writer explained. " Here we have a Lara that’s more experienced after having seen some crazy things recently.”
Joining Croft on this is Carter Bell, not long after the events of The Temple of Osiris game.
As for just what the "Frozen Omen" in the series' title is, Bechko was reticent on revealing too much but says that Croft will begin looking for answers in Belize.
“She will spend some time in a jungle in Belize, as well as a desert in Arizona," Bechko answered. "To get to the frozen part, you’ll just have to come along on the adventure.”
Video game enthusiasts have been able to play Tomb Raider across numerous platforms, with the franchise itself stretching across more than ten sequels. In Bechko's opinion, Lara Croft's popularity is due in no small part to her being a problem-solver.
“It’s just so much fun to spend time in her company. She’s resourceful, confident, and not afraid to fight for what she knows is right. If she sees a problem, she wants to solve it. And who doesn’t love a good archeological mystery?”
Bechko's previously written both creator-owned works and licensed works such as Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, and says that Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen has been a "joy" to work on.
“It’s not as freewheeling as working on my creator-owned project Invisible Republic --which I co-write with Gabriel Hardman-- since there we’re creating the whole world from scratch”, explained Bechko. “With a licensed book it’s important to keep the established tone and characters consistent across a variety of media, so it’s good when there are people you can rely on to keep an eye on those things. Overall, I’ve been given a lot of latitude to create a totally new story and mystery, and everyone involved has been a joy to work with.”
Bechko's not the first woman to write for the Tomb Raider franchise, and says that having a female writer on Lara Croft can help it feel "more real."
“It can be good, but I don’t think it’s essential,” Bechko said. “There are certainly a lot of guys who write wonderful woman. I often co-write with a man, and we certainly don’t split it up like that. It seems to me that you have to be almost willfully avoiding writing women as humans if you end up with one gender being well written, but not the other. That said, it is true that there is still a lot of disparity in all strata of society, and guys sometimes don’t notice since it’s in their favor. I think that’s why women written by women can sometimes feel more ‘real’.”
Joining Bechko for Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen is artist Randy Green, a former Disney artist who illustrated Top Cow's Tomb Raider series in the late 1990s.
“Randy Green is handling the art, which is a terrific fit. I’m excited for everyone to see how beautiful it looks!”
When asked how it felt to add to Tomb Raider legacy with this new series, Bechko said it's a pleasure to add to Croft's "exciting life."
“I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s always a pleasure to add a little corner to such a beloved world. Lara’s already led an exciting life and done amazing things. I’m glad I can help add to her story.”