Valiant’s First Non-Revival Release To Be ‘Punk Mambo’ One-Shot From Peter Milligan [Interview]
It’s a very interesting time to be a Valiant comics fan. While the company’s roster is made up of titles that revive the classic Valiant properties of the 1990s, they’ve proving to be anything but predictable in terms of content and presentation. Over the last six months alone, they’ve launched insane promotional campaigns, kicked off major crossover events, brought back long-time favorite creative teams, announced new projects from major creators, and gained acclaim for a publishing approach that seems more or less like “bring in topnotch talent, let them work their magic, and have fun”.
Later this year, the company will release its first book named for an character that didn’t have a counterpart in the ’90s Valiant line: Punk Mambo #0, a special one-shot issue written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Robert Gill focusing on the mohawked voodoo priestess first introduced in the pages of Shadowman. Described by Valiant as the story of how Punk Mambo migrated from crusty British high society to the dark world of American voodoo, and how she returns to her origins to discover “the punks and the voodoo priests she used to know have cleaned themselves up, and she’s a loud, belching ghost from their past, come to break in the new furniture…and break some faces!”
ComicsAlliance readers are getting the first look at three different covers to issue #0, and an exclusive conversation with writer/creator Peter Milligan about his plans for the character and her
ComicsAlliance: How would you describe Punk Mambo? Is it horror, mystery, adventure, or some combination of the above elements?
Peter Milligan: This is an adventure, the Punk goes on a mission – but it also
certainly has elements of horror. Even the setting is pretty American gothic: the Punk lives deep in the swamps of Louisiana. And she’s not your usual mambo; she sniffs glue – made from boiled down human heads – and she talks to effigies of Sid Vicious.
CA: Punk Mambo first appeared as a secondary character in your Shadowman run – would you recommend readers catch up on those stories before picking up the zero issue, or will it make sense if you don’t know the backstory?
PM: It’ll do no harm to read my Shadowman run where the Punk first appears but it’s not necessary: new readers can certainly read this cold and find out about the Punk. It’s a bit like a twisted punk origins story. (And she’d probably try to head-butt you if she heard you calling her a “secondary character”.)
CA: Did you always have a larger arc in mind for this Ms. Mambo, or was that something that just grew naturally once you introduced her?
PM: She was one of those characters that grew. As you said, she first appeared in Shadowman, but her personality seemed too large to be confined to some walk-on part.
CA: This is the first book from the new Valiant that’s not a revival/reboot of a classic Valiant property, and this seems to be a character grown out of a very different background. How does she fit into the larger scope of the Valiant universe? Does she open up new pathways for this line of comics?
PM: Obviously, she has links to the Valiant Universe through her ties with Shadowman. And yes, there is an unpredictability about the character. That’s what makes her so interesting to write. If by opening new pathways you mean Valiant broadening the kind of books they put out, I don’t know if that’s their intention. But if it is, Punk Mambo is the perfect character to do it with.
CA: Why a punk character specifically?
PM: When I was writing the Shadowman arc where she first appeared, I wanted a mambo for Jack Boniface to meet, but I didn’t want your usual generic mambo. I wanted someone who seemed fresh, and unexpected, and wasn’t burdened by a lot of the second-hand cliché all that mambo stuff can come with. So I tried to make my mambo specific, with a backstory. At the time, I never knew I’d write this origins story, so a lot of that backstory was just for my benefit and to help inform the way I wrote the character. I could see how a punk ethic might marry interestingly with the voodoo – and so she was born, screaming.
CA: Given that we’ve only seen Punk in and around New Orleans up ’til now, will that be the setting for this story, or will you be taking her in some new directions?
PM: The story, and the Punk, travels far and wide in this story. A glue-befuddled vision takes her back to London, where we meet some of the people who were instrumental in making this unusual voodoo priestess what she is.
CA: Are you drawing on any personal recollections for those London-set parts of the story, and utilizing any real-life places, people, and experiences?
PM: To an extent. I’m a Londoner. I know all the places where the Punk goes to. Places where you can almost – if you listen really hard – hear the ghost of the old punk three-chord thrash.
CA: So do you have plans for Ms. Mambo beyond this zero issue? Perhaps in her own title, or as a supporting character in other Valiant books…?
PM: We’ll see. I think she could work well as both. This mambo has a lot of promise. Magic, sex, a little madness, and sniffing glue… Not so long ago, that was my perfect night!
Punk Mambo #0 goes on sale November 19 from Valiant.