James Bond's longtime confidante Miss Moneypenny has got out from behind the desk and gone into the field with this week's Moneypenny one-shot.
Writer Jody Houser and artists Jacob Edgar and Dearbhla Kelly put Jane out in the field on the case of an assassination plot that bears an eerie resemblance to something from her own childhood. Nine years after the character's last solo outing in the Moneypenny Diaries prose novels, one of the most memorable 'Bond Girls' is back in the spotlight.
Newsarama spoke with Houser about this week's one-shot, her approach to both Moneypenny and Bond, and why now is the opportune time for the character to defend Queen and country.
Newsarama: So, Jody, do you have any connection to James Bond in book or movie form just as a fan?
Jody Houser: I came to the movies in recent years, actually. They were one of the franchises I just never had exposure to as a kid. Daniel Craig was my first Bond, but I've now gone back and seen all of the other actors if not all of the movies. I haven't had a chance to dive into the novels yet.
Nrama: You’ve talked about how this plot centers around a routine protection job that gets upended by a terrorist attack that connects to Moneypenny’s childhood, can you give us a bit more on that? Within reason, of course!
Houser: It's less that the events are connected and more that the current mission has elements that remind her of why she became an agent in the first place. We also get flashes of her earlier career before she became M's bodyguard, when she was more active in the field.
Nrama: You’ve written some tremendous women in your career so far, Faith, Vixen, Melinda May, and Jyn Erso just to name a few. What drew you to tell Moneypenny’s story? What makes her the next woman to stand next to all the rest you’ve written?
Houser: I think one of the fascinating things about Moneypenny in the current comic incarnation is just how different she can be from Bond. I wanted to explore what about her strengths made her the right person to be M's last line of defense.
Nrama: How closely will this one-shot coincide, either stylistically or narratively, with the previous Dynamite Bond output?
Houser: This will definitely be an action-heavy story like the previous Bond comics from Dynamite, and not overly compressed in pacing.
Nrama: How much has the current political climate contributed to your Moneypenny?
Houser: I think the main thing I touch on is how the events one witnesses as a child, both personal and world-changing, can inspire them to take a path like Moneypenny has.
Nrama: What would you say to someone who has no idea who Miss Moneypenny is in order to get them to give your one-shot a look?
Houser: Well, first I'd be shocked that someone has come to Bond even later than I did. Other than that, I'd say if you like action, intrigue, or some of my other work, this is an issue you should check out.
Nrama: How has it been working with newcomer Jacob Edgar? Did you both talk about what you wanted to accomplish visually in development or did you just leave it all in the script?
Houser: Like a lot of work-for-hire projects, the script was well in progress before I knew who the artist would be. But I love Jacob's style (both in general and for this specific story) and I look forward to seeing his and Dearbhla Kelly's work in the issue.
Nrama: Building off that, how does your scripting shift from artist to artist or does it even? You’ve worked with some pretty solid visualists like Tommy Lee Edwards and Joe Eisma, but do they all get the same kind of script from you or do you try to write for their specific style and tone?
Houser: My scripting style remains pretty similar across projects. One of my main goals when writing comic scripts is to give artists plenty of room to utilize their storytelling abilities without placing an undue amount of the storytelling work on their shoulders. It's an ongoing effort. When working with an artist for a longer stretch of time, I try to include elements I know they like drawing, but that doesn't really affect actual writing style.
Nrama: And, finally, just because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t ask, but what is your favorite Bond movie?
Houser: Casino Royale, which was also my first Bond movie. Not a bad place to start.