Jamie Lee Curtis Takes On Climate Change In New Graphic Novel She Thought Of At 19

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Hollywood celebrities dipping their toes into the realm of making comic books is hardly a new approach. It’s been a staple since the Jerry Lewis comics over at DC in the 1950s, but the trend has definitely been on the upswing with star Keanu Reeves on Brzkr at BOOM! Studios and Mother of Madness by Emelia Clarke, who lend their creativity and name brand to a comic.

Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis is the latest name to dabble into comics with her project, along with co-writer Russell Goldman and artist Karl Stevens. Curtis is a known anime and manga enthusiast and even officiated her daughter’s cosplay-themed wedding. The idea of doing a comic has been something rattling in her mind for 40 years, but now with Goldman and Stevens, she’s finally been able to make this idea a reality with the release of Mother Nature.

Speaking to GameSpot at San Diego Comic-Con, Curtis revealed just how long the idea for Mother Nature has been in her head. “I was 19 years old and I knew that we were messing up the world. I just knew it. I don’t know. I wasn’t particularly an environmental kid, I could barely crawl my way out of high school. It wasn’t like I was smart. I just was aware,” the horror movie legend said. “Then I made the Halloween movie in 2018 with David Gordon Green… and it just reinvigorated my mojo and I started to write the story.”

She explained that she met Goldman through a mutual friend and soon started collaborating on the story. Curtis explained that Goldman took her “Father Knows Best”-sort of childhood part of the story turned that focused on mothers and daughters, but also made the characters come from an indigenous family.

“[Their] land is being leased by Cobalt Energy, this big conglomerate energy company whose engineer Nancy Denton has come up with a way to purify fracking water. Cobalt is really pushing her to get this project out quickly. And then an indigenous woman named Nova Terrel, who’s a rebel, [calls] BS on the whole thing and wreaks havoc on the project.”

During Nova’s sabotage of the so-called Mother Nature project, she is struck by lightning and becomes this demonic force of nature itself as she bonds with a long-dormant horror.

Goldman talked about collaborating with Curtis at the beginning of the story and how they wanted the same thing, even if it took some time for the pieces to fit together. “It was just going back and forth but the story for a little while I think that it was initially in I think it was almost a numbers thing at first because it was in the milieu of a disaster movie, like a Roland Emmerich movie. It was hard to track all the different characters, but we knew that we wanted a big ensemble. It was this emotional idea, which I think is really hard for climate change stories to have because it’s such an existential thing that everyone has their own relationship to that.”

Goldman continued with the challenge of capturing and channeling that emotion and focalizing it into something that people can read. He said something that helped with that process was that Jamie and he both really responded to the world that their parents left behind for their generation and the generation after.

“So that’s how we focalize into two mothers, two daughters. The mothers have different backgrounds, and uneasy alliances, that we see at the beginning. Both of them working or involved in this Mother Nature project in different ways. And both of them love their daughter so much–almost blindingly so that they cannot necessarily see what they want, or what’s actually best for them. And for many reasons, that’s why many of the things start happening the way that they do.”

The co-writers paired up with Karl Stevens, an award-winning artist most known for his book Guilty as well as a contributor to the Boston Phoenix and his graphic novel, Penny: A Graphic Memoir which was a collection of strips about his cat. Stevens talked about how he pulled from a lot of Western painters like Thoman Moran and tried to capture this southwestern vibe accurately.

“I thought like having that, you know, sublime beauty, mixed with all the gory violence would, you know, really key into like the larger themes of the story itself,” Stevens explained.

“The research that we started on this, we had so many different people in New Mexico [that we talked to], oil people, environmental lawyers say that water conservation, water recycling is the next really scary frontier,” Goldman added. “You’re gonna start seeing the Exons of the world start selling recycled water to places where water is really hard to come by. And that kind of unlocked a lot of the story.”

Mother Nature by Jamie Lee Curtis, Russell Goldman, and Karl Stevens hits books shelves on August 8 from Titan Comics.

Additional reporting by Chris E. Hayner. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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