The Glory of Sophie Campbell

Glory (Image Comics 2012) Art by Sophie Campbell

Glory (Image Comics 2012) Art by Sophie CampbellHeads you lop, tails you lose

The half “Amazonian,” half demon Gloriana Demeter has gone through a few transformations since her first appeared in Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood Strikefile #1 in 1993. She garnered a solo series written by Mary Jo Duffy and drawn largely by Mike Deodato and J. Morrigan, which ran from 1996 to 1997. Glory was a fierce warrior and fought alongside other Liefeld characters against  the forces of evil — including her father. Her look, however, often belied her strong principles, and despite being an alien, she looked like an extremely leggy human woman in a tight swimsuit, with a full head of white hair.

The character was revamped by Alan Moore for his overhaul of Liefeld’s superhero analogues for Awesome Comics (though the issues were subsequently published by Avatar Press). He was only able to create a four-part mini-series due to Awesome Comics’ bankruptcy, but his Glory was less of a brash babe as her original form — Glory spent some of her time living as Gloria, a blonde human waitress.

That brings us to her latest, and most current, iteration is the result of the team of artist Sophie Campbell and writer Joe Keating for Image Comics, a tall and incredibly ripped albino alien princess. Keating pulled in bits and pieces of lore from Glory’s several histories, but the visual departure from her bombshell days really made Glory stand out.

As part of our celebration of the women of Image here at Women Write About Comics, we reached out to Sophie Campbell to chat about her take on Glory.

How familiar with Glory were you when this project came up, and how much research did you do into the character’s previous iterations?

I knew who the character was and I remembered seeing her in Youngblood Strikefile way back when, but besides that I didn’t know much. I’d never read any of the comics and I didn’t know what her powers were or her backstory or anything. I did some research into the basics but not much beyond that, Joe knew what he was doing and knew the character so he did most of the heavy-lifting.

I noticed that there are some references to Alan Moore series with Awesome Comics, like Gloria West, and even a shout out to the Danger Damsels! How did you and Joe Keating decide on what to bring in from which iterations?

That was all Joe! I’d never read any of the Moore Glory and I’d never heard of Gloria West or the Danger Damsels before Joe wrote them into our comic. Sometimes Joe would run something by me first and I’d look it up online and research it to get a sense of it or he’d send me pictures, but I’d say I was mostly along for the ride when it came to the references and backstory stuff.

Glory’s new design is a significant change from her original appearance. What shaped those changes? How much influence did you have on the design decisions?

The original design wasn’t really my thing, there was no way I was going to draw like that, and Image hired me to do what I do, so I did it! One of the first things that happened when I came on board the project was Joe and I said basically at the same time that Glory should be a muscular warrior type, we were totally on the same page right off the bat. A lot of my ideas for her were what I always wished female superheroes looked like, with actual muscles and everything, while taking into account that Glory is an alien so anything goes, really. Then the rest of it was me having fun, whenever I redesign existing characters one of the top priorities is that they be fun to draw, since I have to draw them over and over, I need to have a good time drawing them or the work suffers. That’s also why Glory’s hairstyle and outfits changed so much, I get bored drawing the same look for too long, and I love trying to top what I did in each issue. I was in charge of all the visuals and design decisions, and Joe would weigh in, too, of course, and Rob Liefeld was always super supportive to whatever I wanted to do, so it wasn’t like I was in a vacuum but at the end of the day it was me just having a blast.

Glory (Image Comics 2012) Art by Sophie Campbell

Were there any design nods to the Michael Deodato art?

No, not really, I did look at some of his stuff to get a feel for it and get an idea of the tone of the old Glory, I wanted something to springboard off of and riff on, but I can’t say there was much influence there. Our styles and design senses are soooo different, what he did didn’t really mesh with what I wanted to do.

Is there anything you were hoping to include in the design and/or story but weren’t able to?

Glory (Image Comics 2012) Art by Sophie CampbellNothing too specific but I wished I’d gone more otherworldly with Glory’s design, like given her weirder eyes (Purple would have been cool! Or slitted pupils!) or been more consistent with the paper-white skin tone she eventually had. Other alien attributes like that would’ve been cool to do. After I designed Glory’s sister Nanaja with a tail, Joe came up with the really cool idea that Glory once had a tail, too, but it was clipped off at birth, and looking back I wish I’d drawn her tail regenerating toward the end of the series, that would’ve been neat to see. Story-wise, I had lots of ideas that we didn’t do or that were just too silly or stupid or plain old unworkable. I had a bunch of ideas for Glory’s culture and the biology of her people and what gender was like in their society, but there was never a good place for it, I wish we could’ve done a sourcebook like those old Marvel compendiums with character bios and world information. I bet Joe would’ve been into that, too, we could’ve filled up like 300 pages with all the stuff we came up with that didn’t get used. I also had an idea I really wanted to do where Glory had to go into hiding after the war and she disguised herself as a dairy farmer and transformed her army of warriors into cows in order to hide them from Silverfall, and the story would be about Glory and her friends running a magical dairy farm and selling magical alien milk to the locals. Obviously there wasn’t a place for that in the story, haha. Probably for the best.

The women of Image Comics have gone through quite an evolution since their initial “badgirl” phase. Are there other characters you’d like to see redesigned?

My favorite Image characters were WildCATs which they already redesigned, but my second fave was Cybernary, I’d love to see her get revamped in a new series. They’re doing that new Warren Ellis Wildstorm thing now so maybe I’ll get lucky! I also really liked Velocity from Cyber Force. I did get to redesign a ton of Extreme characters though, in the last few issues of Glory when she called all her friends to help, my faves were Fourplay and Riptide (who I think was dead but Joe brought her back to life so I could draw her).

Glory #23-34, the complete run by Sophie Campbell and Joe Keating, has been published in two trade paperbacks and is also available in an omnibus hardcover. You can also find Sophie Campbell’s work in her solo series, Wet Moon, and as an artist on Jem & the Holograms.

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Kat Overland

Kat Overland

Small press editor Kat Overland is a displaced Texan now living in Washington, DC, where she is perpetually behind on reading her pull list. She's a millennial, Latina, exhausted, and can often be spotted casually cosplaying America Chavez and complaining.