Pantha, has long been a friend to Vampirella. She started as an alien Drakulonian but then seemed to develop a new origin as an immortal elemental being, a kind of Goddess. She can change her form into that of a panther when she wills, although in the early Warren days it required some kind of emotional trigger. Now Brandon Jerwa is going to be writing Pantha’s first original solo comic.
First Comics News: Pantha has had more then one origin over the years. In this series, Pantha is an avatar for the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, what is her official back story these days?
Brandon Jerwa: I wanted to dispense with the notion of a complete reincarnation of Sekhmet, because I found it difficult to reconcile some of the previous continuity with actual Egyptian mythology. I’m not denying what’s come before, but I am sort of streamlining it a bit. Pantha is an aspect, or avatar, for the original goddess Sekhmet; this means that she retains the memories of the original…and more. In fact, the first story arc finds Pantha dealing with what you might call a “karmic loop”, or a “circle of causality”, that started with Sekhmet, and now needs to be closed.
1st: How does she shape shift into Panther form?
Brandon: Panther Magic, dude. Paaaanther…Maaaaagic…whoooaaa-yyeeaaaaaah.
Sorry, I think I just wrote a 70s rock song! Seriously, though, it’s a supernatural transformation. Sekhmet was a great hunter, and a panther is a feral cat; I won’t pretend to understand how or why Pantha’s creators chose to make these connections, but they’re not completely outlandish if taken at face value. I have a pretty good handle on how to address all of this, and dive deeper into it, especially given the “aspect of Sekhmet” approach. Pantha believes she’s the last living aspect of the Goddess…but what if she’s not?
1st: Is this a one shot or an ongoing series?
Brandon: It’s an ongoing.
1st: Is Pantha the only Warren character in this series?
Brandon: Not hardly. We’ve got Pendragon! Skaar! Blood Red Queen of Hearts! Conjuress! Maybe some others, too. No, no…definitely some others. I like to dig deep into the dark corners of continuity. It’s always been my thing, going back to G.I. JOE. If you’re obscure, and I think you’re cool…prepare for a comeback!
1st: Do readers need to know any of the characters history prior to picking up the first issue?
Brandon: Nope. Not even just a little bit. I’m pretty sure I explain everything they need to know in the first three pages.
1st: How does Pantha fit into the larger Vampirella universe?
Brandon: She’s a casual acquaintance of Vampi’s. They fight for the same things – or at least, for the overall cause of Order – and several members of Vampirella’s long-lost supporting cast will be revealed to have been hanging out with Pantha for the last couple of years. I’m also writing Vampirella as of issue 21, so readers can absolutely expect the universe to have a big sense of connectivity.
1st: Would you consider the series horror, suspense, mysticism, mythology, or is Pantha a superhero?
Brandon: I consider it to be ALL of those things. That’s the fun of Pantha, and of Vampirella – they’re both characters who almost transcend category, at least for me. That sounds like big talk, but I really do see it that way. Pantha is (I hope) a book for people who enjoy the insanity that only comics can provide. I may introduce a talking kitchen sink in issue 6, just to hammer the point home.
1st: Is Pantha going to be part of the Prophecy storyline?
Brandon: Apparently. I’m not really in the direct loop on that project, but I do know that it won’t cause any story problems for me. That’s good enough. It does look like it’s going to be great fun, though.