The Dynamite Report #9: Bettie Page Takes on the Curse of the Banshee

Welcome back to The Dynamite Report! You may have heard of Bettie Page, who was one of the most popular pinup models in the ’50s. But in the comic book realm, Bettie is also more than just a model. She’s a heroine who finds action and intrigue across the globe almost in spite of herself. And this June, Bettie is back in a new miniseries, Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee.

Half Past Danger creator Stephen Mooney is writing the story, while Jethro “Jet” Morales is providing the art. Ahead of the first issue, Mooney told us what we can expect from Bettie’s “most harrowing adventure yet.”

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Bettie Page’s comic book adventures, what’s the best way that you can sum them up?

Stephen Mooney: Glamorous, globe-trotting adventures starring a confident, resourceful and sassy heroine who must repeatedly prove herself in life or death situations and look good while doing it!

Bettie is a totally unique character; outperforming supposed experts in their fields on a daily basis whilst literally saving the world. She also has some lower-key adventures where she just wants to help her friends and have a good time. You know, the usual stuff for an ambitious dame in the fifties.

What was the inspiration behind The Curse of the Banshee?

Equal parts X-Files and Scooby Doo. In some of her recent adventures, Bettie had begun exploring the occult for the U.S. Government, investigating such alleged oddities as aliens and werewolves. I wanted to take that aspect of her fledgling spy career and run with it a little. I also love the ancient Irish mythological creatures such as Banshees and Faeries (hailing from Ireland myself), so I figured there could be a very cool marriage of the two concepts in there.

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Does this story build on Bettie’s previous adventures? The description mentioned a trip to South America that came up short when she was searching for the Key Artifact. Is that related to this story?

It’s mentioned and a few references are made to that trip, but each one can be read totally independently of the other. The Key Artifact story, told brilliantly by David Avallone and Julius Ohta in previous Bettie series, is now put to bed and finished. This series takes Bettie and her partner, Lyssa, somewhere totally new and fresh!

Set the stage for Bettie and Lyssa’s time in Ireland. What brought them there? And who are they going up against?

Bettie is joined on this adventure by her regular partner, Lyssa Druke – a tough as nails ex-cop who compliments Bettie’s more empathic hopefulness nicely. The two women form an extremely formidable partnership. As for what they’re going up against; the establishment, for a start! In 1950s Ireland, women were not allowed to work if married or enter pubs/bars or any of those domains seen as ‘for men’. So their investigation is immediately hampered and hamstrung by local law enforcement and officials. Once the gals circumvent all of that hassle, the real difficulties begin. Murder sprees, missing bodies, drug-addled vision quests and a real, honest-to-goodness BANSHEE.

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Can you elaborate on your collaboration with artist Jethro “Jet” Morales? Did you design the new characters, or did Jet?

Jethro is incredible – we’re so lucky to have him on this book. His draftsmanship, staging and storytelling are impeccable and the acting of his characters is first-rate. I did some basic design work on my covers for the series, but 90% of what’s on the page is all Jethro. As an artist myself, when I write scripts for other artists I like to leave plenty of the design open to the interior artist as I don’t want to dictate the fun stuff to them. I know how stifling an overly written script can be, so I simply trusted Jethro to run with those elements and he knocked it outta the park.

Tease your favorite moment from the story, if you can.

Probably the entirety of issue four, which is titled “Bettie Versus The Catholic Church”.

Which aspects of Irish myth and culture will come into play?

Quite a few! The Banshee, obviously, plus others such as Fear Gorta (akin to zombies) and an element of spiritual possession. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say there are various factions at play. Culture-wise, the aforementioned restrictive elements of Irish society for women in those days, both from church and state. Bettie and Lyssa will have to kick in plenty of bureaucratic doors before they can file this case under ‘solved’.

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How did the story inspire the cover you drew for this special?

Not much inspiration required, really – Bettie and Lyssa being stalked by the terrifying free roaming vapor that is our villain! I wanted to use this first cover to establish the look of the Banshee for Jethro to work from. But other than that it was just a nice, bombastic action shot to set the tone for the series.

Do you have any closing thoughts to tell fans about what they can expect to see in the story?

A potent cocktail of terrifying chills mixed with kick-ass action beats, served up in a seriously glamorous and shapely vessel! Bettie Page will delight and surprise you once again – at least, that’s the plan!

Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee #1 will hit comic book stores in June. You can check out the covers in the gallery below.

Recommended Reading: Bettie Page Unbound

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