by Jarrod Jones. One was once the herald of Spring, the other a harbinger of Samhain. One is symbolized by the sun and the other by a murder of crows. In Vault Comics’ latest, both are the architects of a far-flung conflict.
It’s She Said Destroy, a new creator-owned collaboration between writer Joe Corallo and artist Liana Kangas, a raucous comic book fracas that blends Celtic myth with space opera. In the future, on distant planets with lives far beyond our meager collective reckoning, two gods vie for power while thriving on the worship of their respective followers. Societies clash, spells are cast, and the two sisters at the center of this conflict—goddess of death Morrigan and the sun god Brigid—are preparing to, yes, destroy each other.
The story that drives She Said Destroy is the very definition of awesome. And while they are incredibly careful not to spoil details about their upcoming project, Corallo and Kangas are especially giving when it comes to talking about the concept of myth and how it relates to us—even when their saga is set eons from today.
“We have a skewed definition of what that means these days, but Brigid is parallel to a modern day woman,” Kangas tells me. “Women are often targeted as being bossy or aggressive when they go after what they want, when they have goals that they relentlessly work toward. Her love for her disciples and followers shows that quality, one of that some people may often identify with, because Brigid is fighting for what she believes in.”
With plenty of time remaining for potential readers to pre-order its debut issue (Diamond Code: MAR192091), DoomRocket spoke with the creators of She Said Destroy about upending myth, the design of magic, and what one listens to when creating such ferocious fantasy.
DoomRocket: Congratulations on your new project! Liana, Joe, let’s start with how the origins of ‘She Said Destroy’. How did you know you wanted to work together, and when did you realize this was going to be a Vault comic?
Joe Corallo: So I got the chance to work with Liana through Mine!, an anthology to benefit Planned Parenthood that I had co-edited and Liana had illustrated a story in by Pat Shand. At the time she was in the NYC area, so we organized a big signing at Forbidden Planet the last weekend of 2017 and we got to meet in person there. After that we had kept in touch and just clicked really well. We actually worked together on a four page short in the anthology Everything Is Going Wrong prior to She Said Destroy.
I had wanted to work with Vault as soon as I heard about them, to be honest. I e-mailed them early on with a series I had self published a few years ago, and while that didn’t work out we kept in touch. About a year ago I got to talk with them about She Said Destroy after I had gotten Liana interested in the idea, and now here we are!
Liana Kangas: When I first met Joe at Forbidden Planet for the Mine! signing, I could automatically tell Joe had a bit of a spark in him… whether that be an extreme passion for creating ideas, or getting up to mischief—I’m only mostly kidding—I could tell I wanted to be on another project with him in some sort of capacity. We had discussed a lot of things, whether it be comics or personal stuff since I started to get to know a lot of the same groups of friends, so we had, I guess, decided along the way that we’d be pitching the idea to Adrian [Wassel, editor-in-chief of Vault]!
Joe is an incredible collaborator, in that he knew I had a ton on my plate working on my first series and doing a ton of anthologies at once, so he spearheaded the project and made things ultimately easy for me to say yes to everything. He’s ask me, “What do you think of magic and spaceships?” Yes. “Gorgeous powerful gods?” Yes. I had already been a fan of Vault, so when they greenlit it, I guess I didn’t even realize until maybe our second conference call that we’d be getting to do a major co-created project with such a cool team.
2. I want to talk about the book’s inverted take on Celtic myth. To start, The Morrigan. “Morrigan” has been known to also mean “Terrible Queen”, “Phantom Queen”, “Queen of Death”, and myth tells us she would goad armies into a blood-thirsty froth before battle, ensuring their victory. Joe, you’ve said that the inspiration behind ‘She Said Destroy’ came from a friendly conversation about the Morrigan’s depiction in other media. How are you going about writing a version of the Morrigan that deviates from these other depictions (in other deity-minded comics as ‘The Wicked + The Divine’), while staying true to the mythology that has sustained her for centuries?
JC: For me, The Morrigan has been interpreted in so many different ways over the years that I thought it would be interesting to take it far into the future where I could have a little more freedom to have had things change between then and the time the comic takes place while keeping some of the core elements. While The Morrigan is looked at in a more favorable light here, her and her witches are still capable of being very brutal. I don’t want to get into too many spoilers, but we do see the witches of Fey harnessing destruction magic. However, The Morrigan here is loving and protective of her people, and is seen as unwavering in her convictions. By focusing on her loyalty to her followers, we got to highlight her more virtuous qualities.
3. And now, Brigid. The press materials state that Brigid, a Sun God, will be presented as “a tyrant”. A far cry from a once-worshiped patron of poetry, music, and fertility. What mythological examples might you use to paint a more nefarious picture of Brigid?
JC: I thought if I was going to tackle a story where we see The Morrigan in a more positive light, that I’d like to show a more loving God in a negative light and Brigid seemed like the perfect choice. What really sold that for me was Saint Brigid. I was thinking how it would be interesting to take the approach of “what if Brigid was so obsessed with survival that she compromised her own beliefs in order to live on through Christianity to one day come back to power again?” And that The Morrigan being uncompromising while Brigid is would be an interesting take. Also the idea of power corrupts, and that even a god like Brigid could become corrupted in part by existing so long was also intriguing to me.
LK: I think despite that title, [and we] have a skewed definition of what that means these days, but Brigid is parallel to a modern day woman. Women are often targeted as being bossy or aggressive when they go after what they want, when they have goals that they relentlessly work toward. Her love for her disciples and followers shows that quality, one of that some people may often identify with, because Brigid is fighting for what she believes in, whether or not she may be taking that from someone else—sort of like a mama bear personality if you will—so I would probably line her in with Electryone and Bia, the Greek goddesses of the sun and energy. She emits power to her believers and shines to inspire her followers.
4. When Christianity took hold in Ireland, Brigid was one of the few worshiped idols to survive as a patron Saint. It’s argued that the legend of Brigid was converted, or otherwise applied to, St. Brigid of Kildare, who was born into slavery and later, as legend tells it, performed miracles to sustain people in health and love. Is it safe to assume Brigid, as presented in ‘She Said Destroy’, accumulated her power and sway over an entire galaxy by bestowing miracles upon her people? Will she otherwise have a backstory that includes some sort of fall from grace, or will this part of her legend simply not be a part of your take?
JC: Yes! Brigid’s followers live good lives, and that’s definitely part of what keeps her following so strong. We do get to see glimpses of her backstory. I don’t want to give too much away, but we’ll definitely see and understand over the course of the story how things got to where they are since she was not always so willing to go so far to achieve her ultimate goals.
LK: Maybe it’s repeating what I’ve said before, but Brigid may definitely be also a fierce protector.
5. From where, exactly, did the decision to pit the Morrigan and Brigid in a galactic setting originate? Liana, how have you prepared to render a comic series on this scale?
LK: I am a huge sci-fi enthusiast, and I think Joe knew that before he approached me about this project. I love the concept of mythical beings in space because it allows me literally to have zero rules and play based off of what I think would look conceptually flowing. Even [as I draw] the series I am finding new, fun things to play around with to tell the story in different ways. We pulled a lot of reference from different cultures, and played around with the different peoples in that they are dressed in certain fashions that I’m very excited about.
6. Walking away from myth, tell me more about the Morrigan as she’s presented in ‘She Said Destroy’: What’s her personality like, and what kind of power does she hold? How are the two of you enjoying this main character?
JC: The Morrigan is fairly stoic, yet loving. This is contrasted with one of the elder witches, Iris, who is also stoic, but also distant and calculating. The Morrigan is always there for her followers, whether they win or lose, and is welcoming when they pass on to her realm of death. She’s got kindness with a warrior’s heart. Rurouni Kenshin from the anime of the same name comes to mind—I know it’s also a manga, but I’m mostly familiar with the anime.
LK: I imagined The Morrigan as a being that one can believe in, but physically feel at the same time. Her followers are resilient, and living, which is the best that we can do and the exact trajectory of being. The Morrigan embodies us all, because isn’t what they say is that we’re all just slowly dying? [Laughs]
7. Liana, you were tasked with the character design of ‘She Said Destroy’. From the early character model sheets we see long half-capes, knee-high boots, clasps, facial tattoos and war paint. What was on your inspiration board when you put these costumes together?
LK: The best part about the designs is that a lot of it is actually magic. There will be a ton of symbolism, and fantasy elements that we feature throughout the series. Joe and I have mentioned before that we’re huge Final Fantasy fans so I used a lot of that [as well as] Turkish and Celtic inspiration to create a lot of the first preview looks that you can see online. I wanted an easily accessible fantasy feel with [the] sci-fi, so a reader could cross over into a new genre without being too in-your-face about it!
8. Who is the character Vrixton, and how does she play into the larger narrative of ‘She Said Destroy’?
JC: Vrixton is Brigid’s right hand. Basically the character of the young witch Winona is The Morrigan’s strongest anchor to our reality, and Vrixton plays that role for Brigid. They’re both the strongest believers in their gods and they both play a major role in the larger narrative.
LK: Vrixton is one of my favorite characters so far to draw; their design has been very fun to play around with, which was my biggest take at designing something very neutral yet eye-capturing [for the reader.]
9. In myth, the Morrigan and Brigid belonged to Tuath Dé, or “Tribe of the Gods”, which has its own staggering myths to tell. Will other hallowed kings and legend from Tuath Dé factor into ‘She Said Destroy’?
JC: In the mythology of She Said Destroy, The Tribe of Gods had existed, but they’re all gone now. The Morrigan and Brigid are the last of them. That does get touched upon, and if we get the chance to explore this universe for a while it could certainly play a factor, but for the story as it stands now they won’t be major players.
10. What are you listening to when you’re creating ‘She Said Destroy’? What gets you amped up to conjure mighty space battles?
JC: It’s fairly eclectic, but some of what I listen to while writing the scripts include New Order, The Cure, Janelle Monae, Björk, Kate Bush, Echo & The Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Death in June, Kid Cudi, SOPHIE, Garbage, IO Echo, Placebo, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Belinda Carlisle, The Magnetic Fields, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, The Chameleons, Sinead O’Connor, CHVRCHES, and Robots With Rayguns. I also created a Spotify playlist for myself in the beginning, but I need to update it.
LK: Joe and I passed back so much music from the beginning of creating this. We’re really inspired by a lot of creators that use music heavily in their work *cough, Kieron and Jamie, cough* so I’ve made a lot of playlists so far for this. For space battles [specifically], in my top I’d have to list a lot of 80s industrial—a lot of what was on Joe’s playlists—and some trippy bands with good bass drops that I can get into the space mindset, like Tame Impala, Kavinsky, Broken Bells, and obviously my boys, Mini Mansions… always.
‘She Said Destroy’ #1 decimates comic shops May 29. You can pre-order it now. (Diamond Code: MAR192091)
Check out this concept & cover gallery for ‘She Said Destroy’, courtesy of Vault Comics!
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