Janet Hetherington's heartthrobs and hell-raisers

I am so glad Ronn and Janet stopped by the OH booth last weekend! I scored two great signed comics, had some very cool conversation and met two very cool artists. More on Ronn later, but first I wanted to write about Janet ~

Ever read Claypool Comics Elvira series? That was what caught my eye. With such an Elvira buzz about Fan Expo this year, I headed to Janet Hetherington and Ronn Sutton's booth once the crowd thinned on Sunday and spent some time talking about Elvira, and what they are working on now.

Janet with Eternally Yours - From Wikimedia
Romance, and horror monsters were blended by Janet Hetherington 14 years ago when she unleashed Eternally Yours, an anthology reminiscent of Betty and Veronica with vampires, ghouls, mummies and assorted creepies.

"I love romance comics but you don’t find them on the stands like you used to. Old DC 1950s style romance. Now we have manga. Manga has romance, but it's not the same. I really like the heartthrob, the tears running down the cheeks, but women have changed a lot since then."

Seeing that women's goals have changed so much, she updated the settings and styles of relationships in her work. During this evolution, her main character began to grow as well.

"I wanted to bring that wonderful romantic nostalgia to it, but at the same time make it more modern. Even now, my stuff goes back to the 1990s so it is getting a bit long in the tooth – literally long in the tooth – my heroine Destine is a vampire. I introduced her as sort of the hostess, the vault keeper, and she became the star of the show. She took over, and that happened in the writing of it."

Her latest comic in the horror romance blend is Monster Love, and they are actually cooking up more swooning girls and heartthrob men in an upcoming Honey West and Kolchak: the Night Stalker crossover.

"Ronn wanted to do another Honey West project and I knew Moonstone had the license for both so we just suggested it." So far, they are into the second draft of the script that they describe as a lot of fun. "The premise is Honey West is undercover in a bunny-style club, but it is all a front. Kolchack is at a point in his career before he believes in the paranormal and is just looking for a story. He runs into Honey West and they have to collaborate. I wanted a real Hammer-Horror-esque feel to it. It is not overly supernatural, but all very suggestive, with more mystery instead." 

Kolchak will be portrayed as a young newsroom copy boy trying to ferret out his first story, long before there were so many vampires, werewolves, and zombies in his life.

As a young girl growing up in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Hetherington became a huge fan of comic books. When she came to Ottawa  to take journalism at Carleton University was when comics became more than just a hobby or rough sketches in a pad. 

"I always wanted to write. When I was growing up I read a lot of comics but it never really dawned on me that a woman could draw or write as a profession. All the names I saw were men. Maybe it was subliminal, but I never clued in that this could be a career choice for me. But, Lois Lane was a reporter! So I could be a reporter." Her love of comics continued and she wrote about comic book creators and worked for Maple Con and Amazing Heroes magazine through school and afterward. After meeting her partner Ronn through interviews of artists in the business, they collaborated. This turned into 6 years of writing scripts for everyone's favorite Mistress.

"It was the first time Elvira was the protagonist. In previous incarnations she was the horror hostess and the strips had nothing to do with her. In the Claypool Comics series there were a lot of things I could not do with her as the main character. She is an animal lover, so kindness to animals always. She is a vegetarian, so she could not eat meat. She also had an affinity for junk food so we had her eating a lot of pizza - but always vegetarian pizza. She was very vain, but also very caring. So whenever she would come into a story with a 'me first' attitude, in the end she would help everybody and kind of save the day. It was fun to do that, or take old horror movies and give them a new twist. Ronn drew quite a few and sometimes suggested story lines. If he wanted to draw dinosaurs, now it was up to me to come up with dinosaurs in an Elvira story."

In recent news, Janet Heatherington wrote the original story The House on Arch Lane now a short film by Stonehope Entertainment of Hamburg, Germany. It is premiering in Hamburg this September, and we certainly hope it crosses the ocean shortly after. 

She has been fleshing out a zombie script for a screenplay entitled Sleep Depraved, but did not mention when or where we could look for it.

"Collaborating with the filmmaker, it can be a long process, but I would like to see this out there someday. The script goes back to what original zombie ideas were. People that are still alive they are drugged or not undead. Mine are infected, but still alive so its not like Zombieland where you are shooting everybody, because these people are still alive! So you have to find a way to contain it without killing them. Meanwhile, they are still going around biting everybody so you still have to control them!"

If you want an instant taste of Janet's work, there are stories available on iPhone literary library. Just search for Janet Hetherington in the iTunes store to find titles like “Too Much at Stake” which serves as an introduction to the origin of her femme-vamp Destine.

You can follow her twitter, and get her convention schedule, news and all kinds of goodies at best-destiny.com


Sonsey said…
Great interview. Sorry I missed her at the booth. We should get that short down for K63.