EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Brea Grant Brings ‘The Suicide Girls’ To Comics With IDW Publishing!

As a journalist, when you are going into an interview you usually have the same sort of concerns, worries, and jitters that anyone would (Yes, even your fearless Graphic Content Editor In Chief). Normally, they are never of any true relevancy, and in the end the paranoia of a journalist is his greatest foe. However, rarely do you get to sit down and do an interview when you know that it will go smoothly, and be a great read. Luckily, that is the case with the fantastic Brea Grant (“HEROES”, “HALLOWEEN II”, Writer – “WE WILL BURY YOU”) who is once again stepping into the comic book industry with her newest series based off of the ubber hit, cult phenomena, Suicide Girls.com. The series once again pairs the scribe with publisher IDW, and is a great departure from her last foray into the illustrated realm when she brought us the four part zombie epic, “WE WILL BURY YOU”. Full of beautiful women, violence, explosions, and enough raw sex appeal to solve the national fuel crisis, “SUICIDE GIRLS” has the innate to do what most books of its ilk can’t — succeed. Brea was kind enough to sit down and talk with me once again about the series, working with fellow writers Steve Niles (“30 DAYS OF NIGHT”, “CRIMINAL MACABRE”) and Missy Suicide (President of Suicide Girls), as well as the continuing clash of alternative lifestyles and the general public. Read on for the skinny…

THEoDEAD: “As always thank you for donating the time to do this with us. Obviously “SUICIDE GIRLS” has a very strong fan base and following on many platforms. Most notably their website of course, but also having segwayed into both film and comics in the past. However, this is the first time they have really had their own standalone comic. How did you get attached to the “SUICIDE GIRLS” series with IDW?”

Brea Grant: “IDW called me and asked me if I’d like to pitch it. I know they wanted some women involved and I think I’m the only one they know. (Kidding.) So, I came up with a few ideas and sent them over. And we went from there. 
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THEoDEAD: “SUICIDE GIRLS” is a much different undertaking than your previous work in comics, IE – “WE WILL BURY YOU”. What attracted you to the project?”

Brea Grant: “When I tell people I’m doing the SG comic, the first thing they ask is how you make a story out of a website and I think that was part of what attracted me to the project. It’s a challenge to make a narrative out of non-linear pictures. I generally look a story from a character-perspective first and then think about what might happen to that person. So it was a challenge for me to start with the story and move into character.

The Suicide Girls website got really popular when I was in college and I’ve always been fascinated by it. I feel like people have a love/hate relationship with the Suicide Girls and anything that elicits such extreme emotions is interesting to me. I personally think SG steps out of the box and when they started, they were one of the few, popular outlets challenging normative beauty ideals. I know now lots of sites have girls with tattoos and piercings now but SG was one of the very first places to treat that as attractive and desirable. So I think it’s cool to be involved in that legacy. “



THEoDEAD: “It would be very easy for most to write-off “SUICIDE GIRLS” as a cheesy branch-off for the site, but that is anything but the case after reading the first issue, which has a very engaging and interesting storyline given its subject matter. How did the story behind the comic come to life? Was their a general idea from Missy for the series before you started, or did you two sort of piece this all together after you signed up?
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Brea Grant: “Missy and Steve definitely wanted there to be an elite fighting team made up of Suicide Girls who used the website for covert communication. They had the character ideas, as well as mock ups of the characters themselves. After that, I pretty much had the run of whatever I wanted to do. I had this idea that SG represents a humanizing of naked women on the Internet (because of the blogs and the profiles, etc) so I wanted to concentrate on individualizing the girls while making the story kickass. I thought the opposite of a normal, human girl is a sort of robot/corporation combination so that became the bad guy.

Missy and her partner, Sean, brought up the role that religious groups have historically played a role in the suppression of women’s sexuality. So our big bad turned out to be a bit of a combo – what Zane likes to call a religious technocult.

I’ve always wanted to set a comic in a private prison because I think private prisons are somewhat representative of where we’re going as a culture. The selling off of our prison system of state “rehabilitation” to the highest bidder is dangerous and, in my opinion, not beneficial for anyone. So, I wanted SG to open in that atmosphere – a world in which no one cares about each individual person, only the dollar sign attached to them. And then you can have this group of completely individual women to break them out of this corporate system.

We wanted it to feel like a representative world for the real world. Obviously we don’t think every religious group hates sexuality. And not every corporation hates individuality. But as opposing ideas, I thought those worked. And if we could come up with women who represented themselves, we might have a comic book that worked on a bigger scale.”


Two Pages Taken From The First Issue Of IDW Publishing’s ‘THE SUICIDE GIRLS’ (Available Now)

THEoDEAD: “The first issue of “SUICIDE GIRLS” introduces us to an underground band of women who have just helped to free a young woman named Frank from her jail cell. Of course, readers can draw their own conclusions as to what is going on within the universe based upon the details they have been presented in the debut issue, but it is clear that the girls are living in a world that shuns individuality. As a person with tattoos and piercings this is a subject matter that hits close to home. Was this aspect of the story something that was important to you personally, or an aspect that Missy really felt passionately about incorporating?
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Brea Grant: “It is important to me to address issue of individuality because it’s something that I think about a lot. I have this idea that I like to remind myself when thinking about others and that’s that “each person is the center of his or her own universe.” So, it’s hard to understand other people’s lives, someone else’s side of an argument, or the difficult choices other’s make. It’s something I think about a lot in my relationships but, more importantly, with people I don’t know and can’t begin to understand. And I think that’s the center of individuality, starting with the way we look. Growing up in a small town in East Texas, I shaved my head with I was 14 (for a whole lot of reasons) and was really judged for it. But those who didn’t judge me or harass me are still my friends today. I think personal appearance is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to individuality but hopefully, the book starts there and allows people to think beyond that.”

THEoDEAD: “In “SUICIDE GIRLS” you are not only working with Missy Suicide (Founder and CEO of “SUICIDE GIRLS”), but also alongside Steve Niles (“30 DAYS OF NIGHT“, “CRIMINAL MACABRE“), who is telling his own side of the story. (Albeit one that predates yours by 100s of years) What has it been like working with Steve and Missy on this project, and in Steve’s case – interweaving these storylines and creating your own alternate history for the girls?”

Brea Grant: “Steve and I are working pretty separately. We knew from the start that Missy wanted a “Suicide Girls Through History” type mini-comic in the back of each issue that Steve would write. It would give the idea that this is an old organization who has been fighting corporate structures for hundreds of years. In Issue One, I made sure you saw some portraits of past SGs and from then on, just tried to remember to only write 18 or 19 pages.

Missy is very hands-on with every detail for every issue. I mean, she’s been with the SG brand from the beginning and she knows what their fans like and don’t like. It’s been a big help having her input.”

THEoDEAD: “One of the things that really stood out to me in the first issue was the use of Frank’s corset piercing as a pseudo holster for her katanas. Who came up with this idea?”

Brea Grant: “I wish I could take credit for that, but it was my friend Rob Edgecomb, who working on a movie with me about a year ago. He’s a great DP, camera operator, and comic book inputter.”

THEoDEAD: “One of the biggest things that you notice after reading the first issue is the underlying messages of promoting individuality, and being the person you want to be, no matter how the world looks at you. It is a message that is not only universal, but one of the most important issues that is facing this generation. How do you view these outlooks and ideals, personally? Do you feel as if the world is moving to a point where it is getting harder and harder for people to express themselves as individuals aesthetically or otherwise, or do you think that the world is beginning to accept alternative lifestyles?
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Brea Grant: “I grew up being involved in the punk scene in high school and college and then I moved to LA. I can’t tell you the number of people who told me I had to quit dying my hair and cut out my dreadlocks if I wanted to be an actress. On the opposite end, there were people who were interested in having diverse ideas on the screen (like Heroes and Friday Night Lights). So, yeah, it definitely hits home with me (in spite of the fact that I have no tattoos and piercings – which I think might make some people shake their heads).

I do think the world is changing, however slowly, and hope I’m not just optimistic. I think we’re still a long way from living in a world in which we don’t recognize difference and ostracize people for it. There are huge battles for our generation surrounding transgendered people and non-hetero-normative sexualities, as well as standards for gender and sexuality. Sexism and racism are still alive and rampant, but I’m hoping our generation is starting to change that.”

THEoDEAD: “Of course, in the book these people are forced to adhere to a certain mindset and appearance, but do you think that in the future the world will be able to accept these ways of life, or do you think that there will always be a wall between the general public and those who choose to have tattoos and piercings?

Brea Grant: “I think 20 years ago, there wouldn’t be shows on television about getting tattoos. So in that respect, yes, I think things are changing. Although I’m okay with there being different standards of beauty. I’m good with that. I personally don’t find mainstream beauty attractive. There’s something admirable in rebellion to me. Fucking with normative standards is sexy.”

THEoDEAD: “Right now “SUICIDE GIRLS” is slated to be a mini-series event. Could we be seeing more adventures within this world down the line?

Brea Grant: “The answer is always if IDW asks me. I love working with them on anything so I’m always game.”

We would like to thank Brea for taking the time to do this with us, and as always for being such a great sport. For those of you who would like to check out the first issue of “THE SUICIDE GIRLS” from IDW Publishing, it is available now at your local comic book retailer. Also, you can keep up with Brea at her official blog, and also follow her on Twitter. Be sure to keep it locked here at Bloody-Disgusting.com’s Graphic Content as we continue to bring you more exclusive interviews with your favorite writers and artists every week.