This week I had the chance to talk to Des Taylor about his new creator owned series launching in April from Titan Comics.
Dustin Cabeal: To start with can you tell us a bit about Scarlett Couture?
Des Taylor: Scarlett Couture is a new action comic that follows the daughter of Billionaire Fashion mogul (and ex- Cold War CIA spy) Chase Couture, who uses her company as a front for C.I.A operations worldwide. Their Branch is called the C.I.G (Covert Investigations Group) whose primary goal is to collect information on criminals that live above the law, for other government agencies to act upon.
Scarlett, living in her mother’s shadow, wants to prove herself as capable an agent as her mother was. She’s tough, assertive, cunning and resilient but has a tendency to bypass protocol, act on the evidence and bring down the bad guys herself… much to the dislike of her handler.
Expect action, intrigue, sexy gals and first and foremost a lot of fun.
Dustin: Where did the idea for the series come from?
Des: The Idea for the series came in 2005 when I was working as a freelance illustrator for a fashion magazine. During one of their annual summer parties in a swish club in London, I noticed over at the VIP area some guys were trying to gain access to see someone ( As I recall it was Joe Cole - England Football Player) and the security weren’t letting them in.
Soon after a group of 5 girls walked up and Security ushered them over to him.
At that point I sat down with my large Jack and Coke and started to vision in my head a scenario. “What if that was some sort of Billionaire Criminal… and the CIA needed to gain access to him to plant a bug? What better way than a group of Supermodels that can placate his ego… and at the same time plant the device on him?”
I left the party shortly after and started sketching as soon as I got home.
Dustin: The idea clearly has the legs for more stories, why only a mini-series? What are the pluses and minuses for going that route?
Des: Good Question! A couple of answers to this one. I guess to start it’s down to Titan Comics new creator-owned initiative which Scarlett Couture is part of. It’s good to test the water and see what the public will enjoy. If the series sells well and gains enough of a following… then the Scarlett’s future is bright. Secondly, since I had 4-issues to get across a lot of story and plot I’ve set it up with enough back story, cliff-hangers and plot for it to continue beyond the first mini-series. I had a nice Xmas lunch with the owner of Titan Nick Landau during which we discussed the possibility of the next Scarlett episodes and maybe even setting up a series linking some of the other characters I’ve created in the DESPOP portfolio. I’m looking forward to working with other writers that can take Scarlett and her crew to the next level.
And I guess the last answer is time! I have my fingers in different projects floating around this year. Doing an ongoing series would be impossible at this time.
Des: I started drawing the minute I came home from watching Star Wars in 77. It became my passion. I studied Art at A-Level went on to do a Foundation Course in Art and Design then I studied Graphic design and Image making at West Herts College Watford. I got my first big break as the Official Illustrator for Michael Jackson’s fan magazine OFF THE WALL before I freelanced my cartoons on fashion magazines like MORE, COSMO, COMPANY and then going further in high fashion working with Chameleon Visual (http://www.chameleonvisual.com/) on projects for PINK, and Theo Fennell.
Dustin: Do you have any artistic influences?
Des: Early artistic influences were Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Roy Lichenstein and Kandinsky, studying graphics and image-making I admired Rian Hughes and photographers Herb Ritts and Dave LaChappelle, then my passion for comic art, Uderzo, Herge, Romita and Bruce Timm.
Dustin: Do you work with a lot of models in your work? And how did you land on Viktoria Dobos being your cover model for the series?
Des: I’m lucky to have met some wonderful people from being a Comic artist. Nina Hearne, Jordan Gwynn Colton were already friends of mine and have helped bring my characters Vesha Valentine & Katie Rogers to life whilst Stephanie Castro, Jessica Gonzalez and Emmy Clapp I met at conventions. I tend to work with models that are not just beautiful looking, but talented people that are creative and have a passion for what they are doing. Plus, these girls usually have me in hysterics. They are beautiful people to be around.
Vik I was introduced too through her boyfriend Alex who commissioned me to draw her as a Valentine’s Day gift. What was funny, most of the pictures he gave me as reference... she was BLONDE!
I met her soon after and her hair was Brunette with a red hint. It was then that my camera-eye started to work and realised that she looked like the character I was drawing. I asked Alex if she would be up for doing a photoshoot for the series and she jumped at the chance.
We’ve done 4 shoots now and it was only during the 3rd shoot that she told me that she was a bloody make-up artist too. LOL!
Dustin: What’s the one thing you’re hoping readers will be most excited about while reading the series?
Des: I’m hoping the readers will be excited to see a comic book that is a bit of fun. Something they can pick up at any time and enjoy watching a tough smart and sexy female protagonist that can mix it up in the action genre.
Dustin: Last question, who wins in a fight: Mrs. Peel or Scarlett?
Des: With swords, Mrs Peel would put quite a few holes in Scarlett’s Paco Rabanne dress. With martial arts? Scarlett would kick Mrs Peel’s ass … even in Manolo Blahnik's heels.