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State of Wonder

Jen Van Meter On Dr. Mirage, Women In Comics, And Hopeless Savages


Artwork from The Death Defying Dr. Mirage (click to expand)

Artwork from The Death Defying Dr. Mirage (click to expand)

Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre

Last week a character that comic book fans might remember from the nineties got a reboot, and the new series is a milestone for its publisher.

Dr. Mirage was a paranormal psychic investigator who happens to be back from the dead. He teamed up with his living wife to solve both supernatural mysteries and the marital issues that arise when your spouse is a ghost.

The original was a hit, selling over 2 million copies, but it kind of disappeared for a couple decades.

Now the publisher — Valiant Comics — rebooted the character, making Dr. Mirage a woman this time round. They introduced her briefly in another title, before seeking out a writer who could turn her into a fully fleshed lead.

Artwork from The Death Defying Dr. Mirage (click to expand)

Artwork from The Death Defying Dr. Mirage (click to expand)

Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre

Portland’s Jen Van Meter was chosen to pen the reboot. She says she was handed a tabula rasa of a character. The only known, essentially, was that Dr. Mirage helped solve crimes by communicating with the dead. So she began to think about what that ability would mean.

She’s also the author of the long-running series Hopeless Savages, which has been a trailblazer in focusing on women and gay characters. It takes the For Better or Worse approach of actually seeing the characters age as the series progresses.

We’ll hear about Van Meter’s work, as well as her perspective on the changing role of women in the comics industry.

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