Sunday, May 24, 2015

Why Elektra? - Ryan K. Lindsay

Because she’s a character I would love to write one day. She’s mean, and broken, and quiet, and so goddamn deep. There are so many ways to still take Elektra and I’d love to have a run at it.

Plus, she’s got a killer visual that despite being one of those costumes that isn’t enough, it still looks amazing. Maybe because she carries it so well. Or probably no one would ever mess with Elektra, or even waste her time discussing fashion choices.

If you’ve ever read Elektra’s first appearance, you’ll see she was kinda a damsel at heart. Frank Miller writes an insane romance comic, with romancey internal thoughtballoons, and she’s not exactly the strongest or most independent character. She’s very much Matt Murdock’s first love. And yet now, when I think about Elektra, which happens often, I find I don’t think of Elektra like that at all anymore. She’s had amazing growth since her inception.

Through to the conclusion of Miller’s Elektra Saga, our lady in red just went from strength to strength. Icing that informant in the cinema from behind Ben Urich is still one of my favourite scenes of all time. After that we had ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN and ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN and suddenly independent mythos was born. She is no one’s girl, she’s this insane killer bad ass who can carry her own, and her own book. Or story. At least for a little while.

She was supposed to be put away once Miller let her be, an agreement with Jim Shooter that lasted right up until it didn’t. Resurrected, she’s been used ever since and to varying degrees. For me, it all started to really pull up out of a nose dive when Zeb Wells wrote her Dark Reign mini. That story, terse, violent, perfect, really helped solidify who Elektra was now. Quiet, deadly, brutal: a force of nature. That mini is maybe the best Dark Reign thing to exist.

Recently, we just wrapped an 11 issue run of ELEKTRA by Mike del Mundo and W. Haden Blackman and it’s one of the best comics of the past few years. It started strong but really charted upwards right until the end. A shame it came to an end but I’d rather 11 tight issues than a bloated 24 which peter out. Get in, get out, seems to be the Elektra way.

So because when she’s done well she’s usually done perfectly, and because we can all always practise writing our fantastic female leads, here she is, my favourite lady, Elektra Natchios.

- Ryan K. Lindsay


  1. I know very little of Elektra outside of Frank Miller's original run, so the wiki article offering up the little nugget that is Orestez was great inspiration. For a character so important in really cementing that vengeful bond between a father and daughter that informs Elektra's entire drive, her brother seems to be mostly forgotten. Also pretty neat that low-level stooge Alarich Wallenquist would emerge years later as Basin City's premiere crime boss. I hope nobody minds my blending of the mythologies a tad.

    Elektra: Prodigal

    1/ The pier is old, creaky, and currently on fire. At one end, the dinghy her brother is being held on and two generic toughs sent by Wallenquist to delay her. At the other, Elektra, twin sai drawn.

    Elektra (Caption): My only hope is that The Kraut, Alarich Wallenquist, has left enough of Orestez to save.

    2/ Using the butt of her sai, she hits one of them under the jaw.

    Elektra (Caption): Orestez. My brother, the fool.

    3/ As the other closes in on her, she tosses his friend through the fire, off the pier, and into the water with a large splash.

    Elektra (Caption): The fool with a mean streak.

    4/ The panel borders fade on a sailing vessel in the Aegean. This is a memory, but a vague one, reconstructed mostly through her father's retellings. Hugo Natchios cradles his bloody, pregnant wife, Christina, on the prow of the ship, with the white sail behind them, framing their anguish. A black, unmarked helicopter flies off towards the horizon.

    Elektra (Caption): Insurrectionists convinced him of our mother's extra-marital affairs, and he took the bait. Only by the grace of God did I survive...

    5/ Elektra looks up. From just out of her line of sight comes a voice.

    Elektra (Caption): More than I can say for--

    Daredevil (OP): Hit'em low, Olive Oyl!

    1. Nice script! You really drew from Elektra's whole history. The only suggestion I'd make is to have Daredevil in Panel 5. Unless the reader knows the significance of the quote, they may not know that it's Daredevil saying it. Plus - if he's in that panel long-time fans will get an added bonus!

    2. I haven't even read the original Miller run, so your knowledge of Elektra is already over and above mine.

      While I don't know the details you're alluding to, I like the scene that you build here - a particularly nice match of captions and panel imagery in the first three panels. I think a better knowledge of the characters would lend me to appreciate that fourth panel more, but as Derek mentioned, that fifth panel has me at a loss. I don't know the allusion so the moment falls a little flat to my read.

      Overall, I dig what you're doing, I just can't follow all the different elements.

    3. Thanks, guys. I thought of actually having DD in that last panel, but it seemed like it would rob readers of that big reveal when they turn the page.

    4. I laughed right out loud at that last line. Really well done piece that, in spite of how much you pack in this page, does not feel in any way overcrowded. Nice page, PA.

  2. For those of you playing along at home . . .



    Derek Adnams

    Page 1 – (5 Panels)

    1.1: The cover of Daredevil #181, the iconic issue where Bullseye kills Elektra. Parts of the cover copy “Bullseye vs. Elektra One Wins. One Dies.” are visible in the panel.

    Caption: You died on the day we met.

    1.2: A set of ten year old hands taking the copy of Daredevil #181 out of a mylar bag.

    Caption: Already sealed in a plastic sarcophagus.

    Caption: I was a grave robber.

    1.3: A ten year old boy going through a long box, one of many lining the tables of an old-school 1985 comic book shop. Dark Knight and Watchmen posters line the walls, along with Cerebus, American Flagg, Nexus - any title that today would be considered ground-breaking.

    Caption: I walked through history, performing a full inquiry into your death.

    Caption: Your life.

    1.4: The last page from Daredevil #190 - Elektra in a white outfit standing on top of a mountain.

    Caption: And though others may say that you live again, I know the truth . . .

    1.5: The scene from the cover of Elektra’s first appearance, Daredevil #168, but unlike Panel 1.1 this isn’t a reproduction of the cover (no copy), but the actual events from “real life”.

    Caption: You never left.

    1. This is a wonderful weaving of truth and fiction. I really dig the way you mix in (presumable) autobio elements with a commentary on the character and her meaning to you. A very different take on the character, and a really interesting one.

    2. Personal, meta, and all the better for it. Tight and terse, as an Elektra story is meant to be. Well done, Derek.


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