Scarlett Team Reveals How John Wick, Kim Possible, and More Inspired G.I. Joe Solo Series (Exclusive)

Scarlett writer Kelly Thompson and artist Marco Ferrari reveal how Kim Possible, Danger Girl, and John Wick influenced the new series

The Energon Universe kicked off a new chapter with the launch of Scarlett #1, which brings the G.I. Joe favorite into the solo spotlight. At the helm of that solo adventure are writer Kelly Thompson, artist Marco Ferrari, colorist Lee Loughridge, and letterer Rus Wooton, and while Scarlett is clearly the main lead, you'll still see some other G.I. Joe favorites in the mix like Jinx, Storm Shadow, and more. ComicBook had the chance to speak to Thompson and Ferrari all about the debut issue, including what they loved about the character and how characters and franchises like John Wick, Danger Girl, and Kim Possible inspired it.

"Well, I think G.I. Joe was one of the very early shows that I got into that were geek and boy coded, more boy coded that showed me the kind of stuff I was interested in that a lot of other girls I knew maybe weren't so interested in. But when you're dealing in boy coded stuff, especially back in the '80s and '90s, sometimes it can be hard to find really great female characters, and G.I. Joe really didn't have that problem," Thompson said.

(Photo: Skybound)

"Scarlett was great. She was there from the very beginning. She was great from the beginning. She was cool, she was smart, she was capable. When she had a boyfriend, he was the coolest other Joe there was. She had a cool weapon. It was like there was nothing not to like. So it was really cool."

"But it is cool to see her get the real attention and shine right now, especially because even though I feel like she is the female Joe that gets highlighted the most when things are happening, like she'll show up as a small role in a movie or something, it's still never about her and focused on her in this way, almost never," Thompson said. "She's had a couple of one-shots, I think, over the years that are more focused on her, but never a full miniseries that's all her POV and her mission and not only that, her before she became a Joe. So it's a really cool opportunity to get to carve this path for her."

While Thompson is a longtime fan of the character and the franchise, this series is actually Ferrari's first real trip into the world of G.I. Joe. That's why some of the inspiration for Scarlett came from other spy-styled characters, including unexpectedly Kim Possible. "I have to crush your hope," Ferrari said. "My first approach with the franchise is with the latest movies because unfortunately, I'm too young to grow up with G.I. Joe, so I knew them with the movies and my real first trip into the universe and the GI Joe characters is working on the series. So as probably some of the people going to the comic shop in the next days, picking up the book, I learned as I was working on the series, their stories and their relationships. So it's actually like that. So if you actually want an answer on my favorite character, I would say Scarlet, but not because it's the title character, but as a kid, I was a huge fan of Kim Possible. She's a redhead. It's a spy too and it's cool, so I gravitate towards those kind of characters."

"Kim Possible meets John Wick maybe? That's really funny. Marco is bragging in all of our meetings we're having today about how young and vibrant he is, so he doesn't have the same nostalgia for it," Thompson said with a laugh. "But I said in one of our last meetings that I think it's cool that we ended up with someone who is a pretty base fan, who really has it from her nostalgic youth, and then someone who's coming to it really new because we want the books to be for exactly those people, people who love it and people who can newly rediscover it."

"So I don't think Skybound cast it that way on purpose, but I do think it creates an interesting dynamic that probably makes it a little easier for us to make a new reader-friendly book that still talks to all this nostalgia and history. I hope maybe that's helped us and been a great advantage for us that we didn't expect," Thompson said.

The book makes a strong impression right from the start with an introduction that echoes classic spy thrillers. That only continues as Scarlett goes undercover at a party that is far more than it appears to most of those in attendance. It's hard to not look at possible inspirations such as James Bond and Mission Impossible, but the inspiration for those elements was actually a mix of film and comics, as the two inspirations for Scarlett turned out to be Danger Girl and John Wick.

(Photo: Skybound)

"It comes from a more comic-related thing that is Danger Girl, because when I was in high school, I remember I was one of those kids that went to the cons to look at old comics. For me, Cliffhanger comics were all the... I'm sorry to keep saying this. So I was very into those books and I really got back in my mind all the imagery of Danger Girl," Ferrari said. "I was working on the first issue and I was looking at the new John Wick movie and I said, "Oh, this is some very cool stuff I should keep in mind and memorize it for the book."

"But if I have to say my approach on the opening of the book is how I stepped into the book as I was working on it, with a very slow pace and on a side spot on the background because I was getting into an unknown place," Ferrari said. "For me, the G.I. Joe fandom is very big, and I felt I didn't have all the nuance and the stuff I needed to know for it to really make it work for the fans. So as Scarlett is doing in the opening of the book, I tried to sneak in this new mission that is working on the book, and as time passed by, I felt more comfortable and I jumped in the action like her."

(Photo: Skybound)

"You nailed it though and I think that ironically, I mean, we didn't plan this, but sometimes these things just work out, because of this action of the opening sequence where she's observing and she's not supposed to be engaged, but then she ends up becoming engaged anyway, and she's just ignoring the directives, that played to Marco feeling a little intimidated and then cutting loose more by the end," Thompson said. "I feel like you can see it in the work and you can see it going forward. They're both great. They're just slightly different takes, a little bit I do think it's Marco started getting more comfortable, which is what happened for the story too. So it worked out really nicely for us. It's always good when things can come together that way."

You can pick up Scarlett #1 in comic stores and digital platforms right now, and Scarlett #2 hits stores on July 3rd. You can also read our full review and check out the full conversation with Thompson and Ferrari in the podcast above.

What did you think of Scarlett #1? You can talk all things comics and G.I. Joe with me on Threads and Twitter @mattaguilarcb!