For some people, good fortune seems to mark their every step. But the people who are on Lady Luck’s bad side don’t have to take their unfortunate events lying down. Charlotte “Chuck” Manchester has turned her bad luck curse into cold, hard cash, hiring out her special brand of disaster for a price. But bad luck doesn’t always work out as Chuck plans, and now she’s stuck dealing with some dissatisfied customers, including a crime boss and a cult leader, as well as an insurance fraud investigator.
“[Chuck’s] a snarky loner who has a hard time trusting people. So, yeah, she’s basically me,” says writer and WWAC alum, Lela Gwenn of her creation. “Actually, she’s way sharper than I am. She’s the kind of tough that I fantasize about being, but probably wouldn’t like in real life.”
Gwenn’s concepts for Bad Luck Chuck started brewing in October 2017 as a ten-page back up story to Matthew Dow Smith’s The October Girl. “We both liked it enough to pursue something bigger for it,” explained Gwenn in an interview with WWAC. Joining Gwenn and Dow Smith on the Dark Horse Comics four-part mini series is colourist Kelly Fitpatrick and letterer Frank Cvetkovic. Gwenn’s idea grew from the notion “that everything we do for fun or for release or just because we are bored—if we are even marginally good at it someone will say ‘YOU SHOULD SELL THESE.’” Gwenn flips the script by offering to sell the bad stuff instead, from ugly memories to Chuck’s bad luck.
If she could choose her own unfortunate superpower, it would involve people hearing all the goings on inside her head. “Between coming up with plots for stories and the regular chatter of my mind, it would be B.A.D.” Alternatively, “Talking to cats would be the best unfortunate superpower because cats wouldn’t like…help me in any way? But it would be cool.”
In a comicbook.com interview, Gwenn describes the story as “slapstick noir,” based on the “P.I.-esque” elements about Chuck’s very unique profession. This lends itself well to the noir style of storytelling, “but her curse can be ridiculous and Rube Goldbergian, which leads to some silly physical gags.”
We won’t get to see much of how Chuck came to discover and then work out how to profit off of her unique abilities. Gwenn promises that the story is pretty full tilt throughout, relying on en media res and occasional flashbacks to previous disasters, “but when everything is always on fire there’s not a lot of time to reminisce!”
Though Gwenn’s comics writing debut is only four parts, she hopes that it will be well-received enough to earn her more opportunities.
“The funny thing about being a debut writer is that no one knows how good I am yet, so hopefully I start getting emails from editors as the book gets more attention.”
You can meet Chuck and her special brand of bad luck yourself when it releases in March. The first issue of Bad Luck Chuck is available for pre-order now: JAN190458.