Someone asked me recently if I'm a feminist. I said, "I have to be. I grew up with tough women. Nothing says gender equality like a well manicured fist to the face." My mother was a force to be reckoned with. My sister raised me with discipline and respect. Even the girls in my neighborhood were tough. I learned equality in an honest way - by living it. So I've always had a great deal of respect for women's strength and abilities.
All my life I've been more of a TV and movie fan than a book and comic book reader. I love the art of comic books and appreciate good writing, but reading has always been a challenge for me (odd to say, since I've become a writer). The most important thing to me is story. I'm always asking, "Does a character face a challenge - or a series of challenges - that makes them learn and grow?" Getting exposed to good stories is how I get fed - mind and soul.
In June 2017 I saw Wonder Woman in the theater and fell in love all over again. When I was a kid, Linda Carter played Wonder Woman on TV. I never missed a kick-ass episode. I had my doubts that anyone could replace her as my ideal superhero woman. But Gal Gadot brings Wonder Woman to a whole new level. The film is great - lots of heart along with action and thrills. I laughed, teared up, and punched my fist in the air when Wonder Woman took on the enemy and won. Simply put, Wonder Woman is BADASS - a woman for the 21st Century!
For me, there are 3 kinds of movies - those I don't like; those I like or love; and those that make me want to DO SOMETHING. Wonder Woman is one of those "DO SOMETHING" movies. When I left the theater I was inspired. I wanted to CREATE.
Having written more than 20 books and graphic novels for young readers, I've practiced for years coming up with thrilling story concepts and and making them work for young characters who are going through trying experiences. I left the theater wondering (no pun intended) what a teen girl would do in a situation where nearly all is lost for humanity, and she was THE ONE who could bring strength to a messed up situation. If such a girl were known, yet unknown - people she encounters know about her exploits but nothing about her personally - she'd be a living legend. What kind of position would that put her in? How would she react to admiration and fear? What would she think of anyone who wanted a piece of her?
I thought of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name films and what a girl might do if faced with a lawless world where people need help. This girl would have to be a real BADASS!
The title came to me before the story - it happens like that between my ears sometimes: "Badass Girl Saves the World". Now all I had to do was figure out what it meant.
And what would we want a badass girl to do? Save the world, at least! As an author, I have to be cruel to my characters - even though I love them. So I created a terrible world for Badass Girl - one decimated by an alien invasion that happened when she was a baby. Then I took away all modern comforts, throwing humanity back to medieval conditions. I made Badass Girl an orphan who was nearly murdered before fleeing into the forest and adopted by a stern Chinese woman. Then I populated the world with well meaning but ineffectual people and lots of bad characters who would prey on them. BOOM! - bad news, but a good world for an action/adventure.
Walking the earth alone, with no family, no friends, and no place to call home - but desiring these connections like any human would (especially a teenager) - she would be confused by anything that looked like society. But she does have mad skills instilled by the mysterious and stern Chinese woman who raised her in the forest. In fact she'd have to be an outsider to use these skills to defend herself and others. No polite society - even the ones struggling for their existence - would tolerate the violence she brings to problem solving. Her sense of justice won't let her team up with bullies and despots, but her sense of independence won't allow her to join a civilized group. So, Badass Girl is in a bind. She gets by in the wilderness alone, defends herself and others when threats strike, but she can't really be a part of a community. "Badass Girl Saves the World" is just one story of Badass Girl's legendary exploits. I'm dying to release these four comic book issues to the world and see if you love Badass Girl as much as I do. She's a lost soul who's there when we need her. She's not afraid to be herself. She takes action when needed. Badass Girl is, I hope, another woman for the 21st Century. In addition to comics, we'll release a graphic novel and a novel - and have plans for a motion picture - all to bring Badass Girl's mission to the world. Read and enjoy. And join the movement. Badass Girl won't mind the help.