Guest Show: The Wraith (1 of 3)
Upon discovering her father's fortune is comprised of mafia blood money, Amanda Monroe sets out on a dark path to fiscally emancipate him from his illegal activities, any way possible.
Narrator - Emmanuel Mendes-Chumaceiro Amanda Monroe - Shannon McDermott Arthur - Joseph Callari The Protector - Tom Proprofsky Robert O'Reilly - Heath Harper Benedict - Joe Finfera Carmen - Kelli Kickham Sully - Chris .R. Notarile
A WORD FROM CHRIS
The Wraith, like many of my BCU heroes started at out as a male character that I created in grade school. I was obsessed with the Batman Animated Series and loved the noir style of that show. Naturally, I created a character to embody that. Originally named the Darkness, the character was more of a legacy hero. A masked vigilante who looked like a cross between the Shadow and the Gray Ghost, that gets killed in the 50's, only to have his grandson discover his legacy decades later. That story element was eventually repurposed for the Avenger.
When it came time to actually building the BCU, I knew I wanted to reintroduce the Darkness, but with a fresh take. Since the time I had created him, Top Cow comics had published their own Darkness title. The character was nothing like mine, but the name was now taken and I really didn't want to bother competing with a more established character. Also, I had come to realize the Darkness was kind of a weird thing to call yourself, and would sound odd when characters were addressing each other. I decided I wanted something, short, sweet and effective. I ultimately settled on the Wraith. It was an easy choice.
As for who the Wraith was going to be- I knew I wanted the character to now be a woman, since I already had the Protector and Avenger running around Republic City. I felt having a female anti-hero rounding out the trio was the way to go, but I didn't want the character to present herself as female. I gave it some thought, and tried to get into the head of a woman in the 40's taking on the criminal underworld, and while female heroes in the 21st century can fair pretty well in striking fear into the hearts of modern men, back then, times were definitely different. Also, having an alter ego of a different gender really helps throw suspicion off oneself, and I thought that was a cool angle to include.
I had grown up with Marilyn Monroe playing a big part in my life, as my father famously illustrated her collector's plate series from the Bradford Exchange. (Your parents or grandparents probably have a few.) As a kid, I once met the owner of her estate and got to see a few of her personal items. I will admit, I have no idea who Marilyn Monroe was as a person, so I'm not about to brag about some unspoken connection or anything. She was just a significant part of my childhood as she technically helped provide a living for my family. That being said, it was a pretty easy decision to base the look and style of Amanda after her.
Having an extremely privileged young woman coming to terms that her family has profited from illegal dealings, and wanting to do something about it, is not an angle often explored in comics, let alone in such a dark manner. And when compared to my other, more straight forward heroes, I felt this helped set The Wraith apart from the rest.
The Wraith was originally supposed to make her debut in issue #3 of my unreleased Protector comic. But as I've mentioned before, we never made it past issue #1. Long story short, it was just too expensive to print. It wasn't until this past year, that I even considered reworking the comic story into a radio play. But when inspiration strikes, you gotta run with it.
I knew going into this play, I wanted someone with natural flare. Amanda is a very "extra" woman, and whoever embodied her should be the same. Spoiler alert- it was Shannon. Ever since I first met her, Shannon McDermott has exuded "extra". So casting her was an effortless task. We talked a lot about the character, and it was very validating to know someone else was so in sync with Amanda, as I was.
For this project, Shannon had actually flown in to visit, so rather than just making up some art for the thumbnail like I have with my other radio plays, we decided it would be cooler to do a full on photoshoot with her in costume. And yeah, it was damn cool seeing her as both Amanda and the Wraith.