Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
If you’re a regular Cerebro listener (and at this point, isn’t every X-Fan?), you know that writer Tini Howard’s been doing spots with host Connor Goldsmith to get the word out about Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1 (on sale February 22). How could I not hop aboard this hype train and invite the always delightful Tini back for a chat?
What can readers expect from Betsy as she enters the next phase of her journey as Captain Britain? Read on to find out.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Tini!
Tini: Thanks for having me! I love how long we’ve been doing these.
AIPT: It’s been a minute since the conclusion of Knights of X — in which a lot happened. Where would you say Betsy’s head is at going into Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1?
Tini: For Betsy, her head is with her body, in the U.K. If you’ve been reading along, you know that’s a bit of a difference from where we’ve been in Excalibur and Knights of X. Captain Britain’s been dodging Britain ever since anti-mutant sentiment in the U.K. government caused them to back out of the Krakoan agreement.
But how long can you run from the source of your power? How long can you turn away from people who might need you and believe in you? And certainly, I don’t think you can turn away like that in your first solo title as the Captain herself. She’s coming back with something to prove to a country that isn’t sure about her getting the job.
AIPT: A two-part question about writing Betsy. First, Excalibur #1 was released October 30, 2019. That means you’ve had the privilege of writing the same character for roughly 4 years — a rarity in modern comics. What is it about writing Ms. Braddock that doesn’t get old for you?
Tini: It really is something. I think everyone wants to have a run on a character like that, especially one they love and have gotten to make a mark on the way I have with Betsy. Beyond grateful for that.
I think what doesn’t get old for me is that we’ve seen so little of her like this. Her in her own body, inside her own mind, in charge of her own life. I think we’ve gotten to give her a cause and a drive and a job, and it just all feels like fresh territory all of the time for Betsy.
AIPT: Second, you clearly had a sense of who Betsy Braddock was going into Excalibur. Having written her across three series, has your appreciation for the character changed in any ways?
Tini: Oh yeah, absolutely. For example, Betsy (and I, as the person who had to write it) had some cautious nerves about the relationship with Kwannon, about which she had no small amount of guilt. So when I went to write that story, for example, it was after X of Swords and after her first few arcs as Captain Britain — and it was a real low moment for her, after being shattered by Saturnyne and the Corps returning without her.
It felt really good to wait to tell that story, to define Betsy as a whole real woman outside of her guilt so that the story wasn’t just something to ‘get out of the way’ and ‘move on’ about. It had to mean something to Betsy and Kwannon, and Betsy had to have a chance to stumble at it. It had to feel complicated and messy so that it could be real.
Also, it was great to have writers like Bryan Hill and Zeb Wells writing Kwannon as well, so that when I wrote a story about them coming together, it felt like fully realized women having a conversation, and not just… narrative fix-it-ing.
That’s part of your question about time, too, I guess — that’s a gift of having got to write her for so long. I mean, we’ve just given her a public girlfriend for the first time too, that’s a whole new level of appreciation for writing her that’s new to me.
AIPT: And Betsy’s relationship with Rachel Summers is set to play a key role in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain. Going back several years, what was it about Betsy and Rachel that made you think they’d be even better together?
Tini: Segue! So, there are definitely a lot of great examples in the text of them being there for each other and looking hot together, like any of the Great Ships, but most of it came about just naturally during the Krakoan era. I’d considered using Rachel in Excalibur from the beginning but she was first a big player in Jon Hickman’s X-Men book and then Leah Williams’ X-Factor.
I have to credit Leah with part of this, because as two queer women writing these characters, so much of the relationship came about from story planning, from being queer women and writing these characters who — for a lot of reasons (Rachel’s stories with Kitty, Betsy’s affair with Cluster) were adopted by fans as being into women.
I’m sure there are Discord conversations far enough back where Leah and I found the core of that relationship together, where I feel like we brought it up at the same time that they would be great together, and there was definitely a time where we were writing toward it together, what with Amazing Baby and all, and I want to give her credit there.
Anyway, to your original question — I don’t want to say too much because there is some good relationship juice in the story, but I’ve been really into the ethics of privacy when you and your girlfriend are both very powerful psychics, haha.
AIPT: Very juicy. The other major character in Betsy’s life is her brother Brian. What role will the former Captain Britain play in the current Captain Britain’s life moving forward?
Tini: Brian has two roles currently — he’s still Captain Avalon, but the role is a little different right now. The Kingdom of Avalon is ruled by a wounded King Arthur who is healing more than just his body — he’s healing his relationship with his son, Mordred. So Captain Avalon is sort of making sure that he doesn’t get a 911 (sorry, 999) call from the Kingdom.
And he’s also enjoying life with his family, running the house at Braddock Manor, being with his wife and daughter. We’ll see him in the lab again, we’ll see some of old school scientist Brian — I love that nerd.
AIPT: In Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain preview art, we see Betsy and Micromax on television, giving Betsy a chance to flex her PR muscles. Beyond superheroing, what other sides of Captain Britain might we see explored in this series?
Tini: Definitely her as a PR person, her as a girlfriend, a negotiator, a delegator of responsibilities, an auntie and sister, and a friend. She’s got some great scenes I love with some of my favorite Marvel heroes — folks you won’t see a lot of on Krakoa, I’ll say that much.
AIPT: We know that on the superhero side, we can look forward to a Captain Carter team-up in Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #2. Any other future Captain Britain adventures you can tease?
Tini: See above! There are some great cameos in this book, and it all builds to a really satisfying position for Captain Britain in the Marvel Universe at the end of this book.
AIPT: The modern Captain Britain has been illustrated by some very talented artists in the Krakoan era. How has it been collaborating with Vasco Georgiev on this series?
Tini: He’s great — I’d seen his work before and I was a big fan. I wanted someone with a classic superhero-y feel, and there’s something really bright, a real Alan Davis feel to his work. And we’re back again with Erick Arciniega, who’s been our colorist since the beginning, which is SUCH a cool way to visually link the stories, and I’ve been grateful to have him from the jump.
AIPT: Wrapping up, over in the DC Universe, you’ve also written Catwoman and Punchline, with Harley Quinn on the way. Let’s say Captain Britain and Askani hop universes — which of these three do they hit it off with the most?
Tini: Oh god, Selina for sure. Sexy, queer, likes expensive things? Actually, Betsy might like her so much Rachel would get jealous, haha. I think Betsy would block Harley’s number (but nicely! In a nice way. She’d say “hi” to her at parties but maybe not be able to handle them being phone-number close. Betsy’s not super patient.) And Punchline is… well. She’s smart but she’s not powerful-psychic smart. She’d step to our girls getting mouthy and get psychically creamed. Sorry Alexis, I love you but it’s true.
AIPT: Finally, what’s something you’re really into right now that has nothing to do with comics, and what’s awesome about it?
Tini: Mmm love this question. I want to answer something hip and obscure but the truth is, the new Interview With the Vampire show on AMC just reignited my love for my favorite book series of all time, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I’ve been obsessed and rereading them all, I’m halfway through Tale of the Body Thief now. Half of the people who work in comics who speak to me have heard this s--t already. The other half probably blocked me for not shutting up about it.
Anyway, it’s a fantastic, bloody, violent, and sexy show that is, so far, a brilliant adaptation of some very strange books, and it manages to be very faithful while adapting the story in shocking, brilliant ways. Go watch the pilot and get back to me, I’m serious, this show goes hard.
AIPT: You have your homework assignment, X-Fans. But on that note, Tini, thanks so much for taking the time to swing by X-Men Monday!
Oh, and one more homework assignment for you, X-Fans. The final order cutoff for Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #1 is next Monday, January 23. So if you haven’t asked your local comic shop to pre-order a copy and add it to your pull-list, do so this week. (And continue to do so with every upcoming series you’re psyched about — it makes a big difference!)
OK, now for a final treat: This week’s eXclusive preview images, courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!
Aw, don’t be sad, Deadpool, we’ll be back next week.
Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!
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