I discovered the character of “Scarlett Couture” while looking through countless pictures of illustrator Des Taylor’s work and marveled over how stylish, how adventurous, and of how beautiful she was. Scarlett was that next great hero, she was the thing yet to be discovered. It was also quite impressive that through several pictures, there seemed to be a strong narrative dressed in a “wrecked $10,000 dress” and “an $800 pair of Louboutins.”
In one of the candid and entertaining conversations I had with Des Taylor, he took the time to tell me about the process of bringing “Scarlett Couture” to life. “Originally, the character was called Suzy Fortune back in 2005. I wrote her as a wealthy New York detective, but couldn’t get a good overall plot for the story so I put her on the shelf and worked on The Trouble With Katie Rogers. As I explored the world of fashion with Katie Rogers, I gradually started to get a feel for Scarlett’s world, and around then the show ALIAS was running. I was at a party [where] the character and all other elements fell into place. When I saw a group of girls walking past security and into the VIP area to get to a celebrity, I thought to myself “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 needed a better name for the character that combined fashion and action. When the movie The Devil Wears Prada hit the screens there was a scene where Emily Blunt mentions “the Couture collection in Paris” and the word resonated with me. I always said if I had a daughter I’d call her Scarlett…. bingo! Thus, Scarlett Couture was born. The secret behind the artwork is vision, patience and time. I don’t work like a traditional comic book illustrator that sketches 4-6 panels on a page. My process is more like animation as I draw every single character on separate sheets of paper as well as any objects. Then I place them in layers in photoshop, should the scene need effects, or the illusion of speed or depth of field. Being a keen photographer, I always think cinematically so I always want to convey this is in my ‘Retro-Animation’ style. I get a lot of people commenting on social media “What cartoon is this scene from?” or “Why isn’t this an animated movie?” which always makes me chuckle. A few years ago at Thoughtbubble Comic Art festival in Leeds I was approached by editor Steve White, who spoke about a bold new British comic venture from Titan Books- Titan Comics. I went for a meeting with him at Titan Tower in London and the more he spoke about the direction the company wanted to go in and their vision, the more I knew this was the right place for my IP to live. I put down 3 of my properties for them to view and the one that excited them most was Scarlett. Since that day I have never looked back; the team at Titan is so awesome and supportive and you can see there is a real passion for getting the best out of your story. Chris Teather made the deal happen (and always gets the beers in whenever we meet), my new editor Lizzie Kaye treats the character as if she were her own, and pitches in with fashion advice, Marketing and Press managers Ricky Claydon & Owen Johnson have got the character so much exposure over the year and work miracles, and Chief editor Steve White is the man that holds it all together. Since then the company has expanded its comic book line and are publishing some great stuff so I’m very proud that Scarlett Couture is in the Titan Catalogue. We are already talking about SC Series 2 so it’s back to the drawing board after this finally hits the shelves.”
Upon first glance at Titan Comics’ “Scarlett Couture” issue one, you’ll notice that it is unlike any other comic book on store shelves. There’s an undeniable panache and appeal to Des Taylor’s art that brings to mind industry greats such as Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm. However, after sitting down with his art, you’ll begin to recognize that Taylor’s art is truly unique to his own style. His art is best described by how it’s called – Des Pop (Des Taylor Pop Art). The colors, setting, characters and overall world he’s created is very much his own and helps elevate “Scarlett Couture” into a story that will certainly make every must read list!
“Scarlett Couture” embodies the very sentiment of wanting “every girl who puts on her little black dress with matching high heels and clutch bag to step out of her door and feel like Scarlett Couture.” She’s a modern day hero in the vein of Lara Croft, Charlie’s Angels, and ALIAS. The first issue opens up a glossy, shiny, and colorful world of spies and intrigue that we haven’t seen in comic books lately. It’s a well written and fun alternative to some of the darker offerings of other comics and a welcome breathe of fresh air for those tired of universe changing and canon shaking events such as “Secret Wars” and “Convergence.” Des Taylor not only reveals what makes Scarlett a character worth rooting for as she contends with kidnappers in the first issue but also gives her a full background profile at the end of issue one. The first issue of the four part series is well plotted and each panel comes to life in every way – be it Scarlett fighting in close quarters or meeting the Bondian villains near the end. “Scarlett Couture”, with it’s stunning covers, will easily stop onlookers in their tracks as they peruse the new release shelf at their local comic book store and is the kind of title that you don’t want to pass on.
I’m no stranger to Des Taylor’s work and as a fan of his “The Trouble With Katie Rogers”, his latest spy-actioner feels like a natural progression for the writer/illustrator. While Katie Rogers centers on the fashion world and plays like a perfect fit for the hip audiences of HBO’s “Girls” and Comedy Central’s “Broad City”, “Scarlett Couture” has the makings of the equally smart series on USA. It’s the next big, summer sensation that has yet to be optioned and greenlit. The characters are smart, the action keeps an intense pace, and the settings add to the dynamic quality that Des Taylor and Titan Comics have brought to their latest comic book series.
“Scarlett Couture” issue one gets five out of five stars!
SCARLETT COUTURE #1
Writer: Des Taylor
Artist: Des Taylor
Issues in series: 1 (of 4)
Format: 32pp – FC
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: April 29, 2015
“Beautiful! I love this style!” – Mark Millar (Kick-Ass)
“Super-Stylish And Super-Sexy!” – Dave Gibbons (Watchmen)
From Doctor Who comics cover artist Des Taylor!
Beautiful. Intelligent. Deadly.
Scarlett Couture is all of these things, and more. She’s a spy.
Using her cover as Head of Security for her mother’s internationally renowned fashion house, she gathers intelligence for the CIA. In this explosive first issue, Scarlett follows her instincts right into the middle of the action and finds she needs to use all her wits to get herself out of hot water!
Check out the trailer to the series:
Comes with two covers to collect including a special photo cover featuring model Viktoria Dobos as Scarlett Couture!
Scarlett Couture #1 is available in print and digitally from April 29.