Frequent Millarworld artist Rafael Albuquerque returns in the current arc of Hit-Girl, but not just as artist - he's co-writing with long-time collaborator Rafael Scavone. The duo are taking young Mindy McCready out of America and to Rome for a murder mystery that takes her into the legendary town's seedy underworld.
In this "Rome" story-arc, Hit-Girl is using the skull of a long-dead Catholic saint in a chase to find the other bones - while a crazed religious zealot named Giustina is after the same reliquaries, with help from an army of homicidal nuns and monks.
Newsarama caught up with Scavone and Albuquerque to talk bringing Mindy to a city they both love, working together yet again, and should fans expect any cameos on this solo Hit-Girl adventure with continues November 14 with #10.
Newsarama: So Rafael...and Rafael, Mindy here is headed to Rome. What brought Hit-Girl to the Eternal City?
Rafael Scavone: One of the premises we wanted for this story was that it started with some random event. We like the idea of leaving Hit-Girl absent of one of her main skills: her strong planning. So Mindy will reach Rome, almost by chance, chasing a stolen object from an airport.
We both love Rome, its alleys, monuments, people and the food, of course. So we didn’t have a hard time choosing where to set up our Hit-Girl story.
Nrama: You guys have formed Stout Club, and Scavone, you're still somewhat new to comics but does working with Rafael make things slightly easier?
Scavone: We’re friends since the 90’s and we met because of comics. At that time, in our teens, we used to make fanzines together. But since I moved through different places we only got in touch again a few years ago, when I moved back to our hometown. Then we started Stout Club, a small imprint we ran in Brazil until last year. It was an amazing experience and we had the chance to publish great comics made by talented South American creators. Working as an editor in Stout Club was my first professional experience with comics and was natural for me to dive into something I love.
Albuquerque is a kind of mentor for me in this craft, and since we share the same studio, to create as a team was a bit natural. It’s always great to work with people you admire and you get along well. We’ve been teaming up for almost two years and having a lot of fun.
Nrama: How did you come together for Hit-Girl?
Rafael Albuquerque: Mark really liked the first volume of Ei8ht, a mini-series I co-wrote at Dark Horse and felt that I could be a good fit for the new Hit-Girl series. At the time Rafa and I we were doing A Study In Emerald, and, inevitably, we started talking ideas, so after a couple of beers we had a really nice plot for Hit-Girl. Mark and Rachael liked what we cooked up and greenlighted us both for the story arc.
Nrama: You're following Jeff Lemire and Eduardo Risso's arc with Mindy, what are you wanting to do here that completely sets it apart?
Scavone: We wanted to tell an unusual Hit-Girl story in here.
As we said previously, since our first issue we’ve been trying to push Mindy out of her comfort zone, with no planning and with no real goals at first. But as soon the story develops she’ll find a big bad villain and the blood will come.
We also tried to explore Mindy’s age. Even with all that training, she is still a kid, so we pretty much tried to think: If I'm a 13-year-old girl, how would I face the whole situation? Personally, I think that’s one of the coolest things about this story.
Nrama: Albuquerque, you're handling double duty here as co-writer and artist, is this the first time you've done something like this?
Albuquerque: Not really. I’ve done writing before, and Rafa and I have a few collaborations already, such as All-Star Batman and A Study in Emerald, to mention a few. It’s something really exciting and challenging, and something I really want to do more and more.
Nrama: Also, Albuquerque, you've worked in the Millarworld before with Huck, Prodigy, and cover artist for Kingsmen sequel, what is it about this universe that keeps you coming back?
Albuquerque: So many things. I love the characters, they treat the artist with a lot of respect, but I think the most important thing is the people. Mark, Lucy, and Rachael are really good people, and a lot of fun to collaborate with.
Nrama: What's the collaboration process for something like Hit-Girl?
Albuquerque: Pretty much like all the collaborations we have. We sit down for a couple of weeks and brainstorm the craziest ideas that pop in our mind. Once we have a handful of it, we get together and try to define the spine of the story, a rough idea of what it should be. After that, Rafa takes over and do the full script, while I handle the art duties.
It's very collaborative on every step of the process, what makes it really fun.
Nrama: Will there be any Millarworld cameos you might be excited for fans to see or are you sticking to strictly Hit-Girl and her microverse?
Scavone: No. We’re sticking to the Hit-Girl universe but we placed some cool easter eggs in there that we hope readers dig it!