Des Taylor talks about SCARLETT COUTURE

des-taylorFirst Comics News: Scarlett’s Mother, Chase Couture, was a spy for the CIA, did Scarlett work with her Mother or is she avenging her Mother?

Des Taylor: Neither! Chase was a Cold War Spy before Scarlett was born and after the Cold War, she inherited her mother’s fashion empire. Her actions for the US Government are above Top Secret so there is a level of intrigue as to what she actually did in her past.

Like mother like daughter, Scarlett is the heir to Chase Couture Fashion Brand but her mother doesn’t play any favorites when it comes to mission time when she treats Scarlett as an asset.

1st: Scarlett is beautiful, wealthy and has a job as head of security. What motivated her to put her life on the line for others?

Des: It is hinted in the first book that the trauma of being a kidnap victim at an early age shortly after learning that her mother was, in fact, a legendary C.I.A spy was the spark that motivated Scarlett to join the C.IA. She never wants to feel helpless again and want’s to learn from the best, and be the best agent she can be. She uses beating up bad guys as part of her therapy.

1st: What division of the CIA does she work for?

Des: I created a fictional division called the C.I.G (Covert Investigations Group). Their prime objective is to gather information/evidence of Illegal dealings on those criminals International and Domestic, that work above the law ( Politicians, Drug Barons, Private Defence Firms, Pharmaceutical companies, Private Banks, etc) so that other Government Agencies can act.
Their main headquarters is known as the SHOWROOM and is located on 5th Avenue NEW YORK. There are other SHOWROOM’s in the major fashion capitals of the world- London, Milan, Rome, and Paris. On the road, Scarlett’s crew work from a custom-made Long Haul truck command center.

1st: What is her assignment in this mini-series?

Des: Scarlett’s assignment is to follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by a fellow agent that went off the grid while investigating the affairs of a Billionaire Casino Mogul who may have Illegal business dealings with a Defence contractor. As the plot thickens Scarlett is motivated to do more than investigate what she discovers, she’s compelled to act on the information… when she learns the clock is ticking!

1st: Is KLASSBANK going to be a recurring antagonist, or will the KLASSBANK saga be tied up in first mini-series?

Des: Klassbank is a MAJOR player in the bigger scheme of things as well as the assassin Black Jack. Every hero needs a good adversary. I have a crazy plot for a future story which will test the whole agency.

1st: One of the cool things about James Bond is all the spy-tech he uses. What type of gadgets does Scarlett have?

Des: I wanted Scarlett to use tech that can be found on the net… plus a few things that are in the prototype stages. Unlike Bond she’s not restricted to one car, she’s a billionaire. 1. She has a fleet of them. However, none are supplied with rockets, lasers, etc
and no Lipstick plastique, Cosmetic purse bomb- which I think is too gimmicky. Just your standard C.I.A security, surveillance and tracking equipment or whatever modifications come with that vehicle.
2. She has an encrypted cell phone with a C4 charge inserted should the wrong code be entered.
3.A tracking chip inserted into her hip that sends out a beacon once every 3 minutes.
4. A false thumbnail- When pulled out uncovers a razor sharp edge.
5. A few other tools concealed in her dresses, heels of her shoes
6. She sometimes wears a Flash-bang Bra ( which conceals her Glock 30 compact pistol)

1st: Who is CW and how does she fit into the team?

Des: CW (Claudia Wang) is one of Scarlett Couture’s Tech girls. Expert in Computer networks, Biometrics and Electronics. She works alongside her counterpart Kelly Garcia, both girls are part of Scarlett’s investigative team.

1st: Who is Colonel Spencer Kelly?

Des: Colonel Spencer Kelly is Head of Tactical and Scarlett’s handler. Spencer trained Scarlett in all she knows and is very protective over his protege, a little too much for Scarlett’s liking who dislikes his cautious approach to an investigation.

1st: What is the relationship between Trent Caldwell and Scarlett?

Des: Trent is a N.O.C ( Non. Official. Cover agent & Scarlett’s partner in the field. Much like Scarlett, he can’t sit idly by when he can take the appropriate action. Unfortunately for their superiors the two work well and always seem to get the job done. In this book, Scarlett has her eye on him though LOL!

1st: Are there any other important supporting characters we should know about?

Des: The LA Assets- Sapphire and Stone. Two hot models called in last minute to help with the investigation. Don’t let their looks fool you. They’re lethal. And Scarlett’s father, NYPD LTJack Gillis. He’s an old, Clint Eastwood type who Scarlett looks up to. Divorced from Chase Couture he has a bitter-sweet relationship with his ex-wife, referring to her as the ‘ Botox Queen’. Has huge admiration for his daughter though.

1st: In the preview pages there is a resemblance to the Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow. Is that just in the preview pages because she has red hair or is the resemblance intentional?

Des: HA! It’s weird because I see no resemblance. Scarlett Johansson is 5ft 3ins, Scarlett Couture is 5ft 10ins. Maybe it’s the red hair and the fact they are both spies. If anything, I’d say she looks more like Famke Jansen as Jean Grey. When I created the character back in 2005 (Back then she was called Suzy Fortune) I used Ambrosio Alessandra and Minka Kelly as the template for the character. Scarlett Jo’s Black Widow came 5 years later. Although Black Widow would kick her ass in a fight, Scarlett Couture has a better wardrobe!

1st: Scarlett has been around for a little while, what made Titan the right home for Scarlett Couture?

Des: Good Question. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. I created Scarlett around the same time as Katie Rogers and the Blue Lotus. I threw all three up on the screen first and tried to figure out which book to publish first.
Katie Rogers won. Every time I went to conventions though, I was always asked “ What’s happening with the red-head character?” or “ When are we going to see Scarlett Couture?”
I was at Thoughtbubble Comic Festival one year and was approached by Titan editor Steve White who said he had been following my art on Facebook. When he told me about Titan’s plans for a new comic publishing wing of their company I was in. Titan has been amazing in every step of the way and has some great people working there with a passion for comics and good stories.

1st: How did Viktoria Dobos become the real-life Scarlett Couture cover girl?

Des: Vik,Vik,Vik!!!! Her boyfriend Alex commissioned me to do a Valentine’s Day print of both of them. He sent me over some pics of her (which had blond hair) and I got too it. It was only when I met her at my exhibition did I look at her (she had Brunette/reddish hair)and say to myself “ F***** ‘ell!! She looks like Scarlett Couture!”
I asked her boyfriend if she would be up for doing some modeling for the comic and she jumped at the chance. What I love about her is that she’s a real geek that dresses like a Skateboarder (and eats for the whole of London Lol) but when she gets on set and in a dress and heels …BAM… complete transformation. We’ve done 4 shots in total to get the image we wanted for the cover and we plan to do one more shoot with the help of my film-maker friend Simon Beckett who created the first trailer last year. I have plans to put the other photos in the hardback and on the rest on Scarlett’s Facebook page.

1st: With models, photo shoots, trailers, and convention posters there is a lot put into this mini-series. What plans do you have for Scarlett beyond the first mini-series?

Des: I look at every book I do as a major project that can extend beyond a comic book. I wouldn’t be satisfied with just doing a book and putting it on the shelves hence the photoshoots and teaser art. My past releases have had parties, exhibitions or have been used to brand products. It’s my way of promoting my own brand in a sea of superheroes and dark, gritty comic books.
Scarlett Couture can go in a number of directions such as the way the character has been set up. She has no romantic ties but can get any man if she wants one, she can work with different agents or go solo, she can travel abroad and use a number of top properties as safe-houses… and she’s RICH!!! She can buy whatever she wants or get it for free just by mentioning the company name.
I had a meeting with Nick Landau (-Head of Titan) at Christmas discussing what happens next in the world of Scarlett. Now that we’ve introduced the characters and set up certain scenarios we are looking to create a universe she and some other female characters in my portfolio can live. I have a Reporter, an Assassin, Private eye, a Cop duo and a team of World War 2 Femme Fatales to bring into the mix.
I also had a meeting during New York Comic Con with WB animation writer Heath Corson ( Justice League -War ) about penning a story for the reporter character that would fit in to the fold and have my eye on a couple of other writers who I think would do a great job in expanding Scarlett Couture’s world and introducing new and interesting characters. Nick called it DIVERSE!
Long term I feel Scarlett could easily make the transition into a series of paperback novels, video games or other Digital media.

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