Big Sis Resists Despite Her Social Sorrow
May 18, 2017
by Vince Brusio
What does “resist” look like? Well, it might look like a grave full of bodies. “Resist,” to some ladies, best looks like carcasses that’ll help the flowers grow. At least, that seems to be the attitude of those ladies you’ll meet in the upcoming series Sisters of Sorrow by Kurt Sutter. Series co-writer Courtney Alameda gives us a PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview to tell us about the body count that’s high in this new story coming out from BOOM! Studios. Plus, the sisters may or may not be conflicted about their brand of vigilante justice which, in Ms. Alameda’s words, “takes metaphorical aim at an oppressive system that empowers abusers.”
Vince Brusio: Give us an introduction to the main players in Sisters of Sorrow #1 (MAY171224). Who are these people? What makes them special? Why should others be on guard?
Courtney Alameda: Our heroines are Dominique, Misha, Greta, and Sarah—all four of whom are survivors of domestic abuse, and who have each lost a child at the hands of their respective abusers. Like many domestic abuse survivors, our heroines never received justice for the crimes committed against them . . . and more importantly, none for their murdered children, either.
Dominique is the first of the Sisters to embrace vigilantism, knowing that if the justice system won’t give her the retribution she craves, she’ll take it with her own two hands. Dominique is the group’s natural leader: ruthless, brave, and absolutely committed to pursuing justice. She’s a chaotic good at her best, a lawful evil at her worst.
As the story unfolds, Misha becomes a natural foil for Dominique. The eldest of the four women, Misha is big-hearted, empathetic, and dedicated to morality over justice. Misha is the most uncomfortable with the Sisters’ mission, and isn’t certain whether she deserves to decide when a man lives or dies. This, of course, leads to tension with Dominique.
Sarah, the youngest of the group, is always on the lookout for the next thrill. At first, she uses her sharp wits and feigned disinterest to keep the other women at bay; but in reality, the thing she wants most is the security and support of a family … and maybe to kill the guy who raped her at 15, which is where the Sisters come in.
Finally, Greta is a well-educated woman who values logic and ethics over a moral code tied to a God she’s never believed in. To Greta, the American justice system is faulty, and if she can help Lady Justice recalibrate her scales, she will.
Vince Brusio: What was the ticking time bomb that exploded which accounted for the birth of Sisters of Sorrow? Will we be allowed to see the tragedy or resolution that set the wheels in motion for why we have women now involved in a life of crime?
Courtney Alameda: Yes. But spoilers, sweetie!
Vince Brusio: What makes writing this story challenging? What makes it rewarding?
Courtney Alameda: First of all, this is the first comic script I’ve had the pleasure of writing. I’m originally a novelist, but spent several years studying the craft of writing for comics. So, the real reward was jumping into the process and finding that I enjoyed it immensely; and to find that telling a story in panels, not paragraphs, came naturally. Also, I’ve found that it’s a thrill to be a part of a creative team, rather than a one-woman show.
The real challenge of writing Sisters of Sorrow has come at a personal cost, as the book’s themes have forced me to face the abuses in my own past. Hell, the week I turned the script in, I was in San Antonio for a book conference and got catcalled on the street at night. I was alone, and I was angry, and I told the guy to get lost (but in an infinitely more profane way). He started shouting obscenities at me as I walked away, then followed me three or four blocks up the street, making nasty threats. I had to duck into a well-lit, busy, 24-hour diner and call my hotel's security to get that guy off my tail.
So, whenever I think we’ve crossed the line with Sisters of Sorrow, I remember that most women have stories like this, in which their physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental safety and security has been compromised by a man. And so the other challenge with Sisters of Sorrow is to do these women’s stories emotional justice, while taking literal and metaphorical aim at an oppressive system that empowers abusers.
Vince Brusio: If you had to pick a favorite character in this story, who would it be, and why?
Courtney Alameda: It’s difficult to pick a favorite character in Sisters of Sorrow, because I empathize and identify with each of the women for different reasons. I adore Dominique’s conviction and all-around badassery — in her mind, vigilantism is the only moral choice left in a world that so often lacks justice for women. And while Misha may be opposed to Dominique’s plans, I admire Misha for her deep empathy, warmth, and strength of character. Sarah, of course, has the devil-may-care, playful attitude I’ve always wished I had; but I’m much more of a Greta — intellectual, driven, with no problems operating as a lone wolf.
I admit, however, that Dominique’s powerful, decisive presence on the page is a true joy to write.
Vince Brusio: If you had to put together a short trailer for this series, what imagery would you project? What visuals would represent the tone, grit, guts, and style for Sisters of Sorrow?
Courtney Alameda: That’s an excellent question! I’d love to see a shot of an upside-down Catholic cross on the wall, one that swings down like a pendulum and symbolizes the four women’s moral conundrum. I’d want to open with at least one of our heroines' abusers looming large, shadowy, and cruel over her; and then flip that power structure in the end as the four women stand in a pool of blood around a dead man, preferably the one we saw in the trailer’s opening. And everything in-between would be guns, physical action, fast cars, and our girls decked out in full habits and creepy masks.
I mostly listen to Beyoncé’s Lemonade and anything by Esperanza Spalding while working on this series — and it would be awesome to have one of Spalding’s moody, jazzy love songs juxtaposed with the violence and horror happening on-screen.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.