Exclusive: Andy Burns Talks To Magdalene Visaggio About ‘Dazzler #1’

This coming Wednesday sees the release of Dazzler #1 from Marvel Comics, written by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Laura Draga. As described by Marvel,

It’s all glitter and glamour in the underground punk scene…until Dazzler stumbles upon a part of her world that’s dangerous and violent. Now, it’s up to Dazzler to protect her dedicated Inhuman fans, even if doing so means that she has to turn to her own past for clues and answers.

We had the chance to ask writer Visaggio about working on Dazzler, and what we can expect to see from the new story.

Andy Burns: Magdalene, what was your first experience/encounter with Dazzler? Did she immediately stick with you?

Magdalene Visaggio: I got into X-Men in the early 1990s, when the animated series debuted. By that time, she wasn’t really in the X-books anymore, and wasn’t anywhere in the cartoon. But you know where she was? The arcade game. That game was such a profound influence on how I see the X-Men, you know, what the core lineup is for me. And no, honestly, she didn’t stick with me right away; I always played Nightcrawler, because he’s been my favorite comic book character since 1992. Ali was always there, though, this kind of background presence in the X-verse in my mind.

Now, I can turn this right back around, and say that my first real encounter with Dazzler was in the Age of Apocalypse books. I thought it was so cool that this girl I’d only ever seen in the arcade game and a few comics here or there was suddenly this big presence on the team. That stuck with me; her personality, her unique powerset — but more her mere presence as a force to be reckoned with in that universe’s X-team. That’s where I first really fell in love with her. The rest — learning about her bizarre genesis, following her myriad metamorphoses over the years — that came later.

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Andy Burns: How do you see Ali currently fitting into the X-Men universe, and the greater Marvel Universe?

Magdalene Visaggio: Ali has always been a character in search of a concept. The original idea — the disco starlet — is supremely dated, and became so almost immediately. So she’s been drifting from place to place to place over the decades: X-Men, Mojoworld, Shield. So for me the trick was finding that place for her, and that rested on two things: music and mutants. Here’s a lady who’s been through hell, and watched her own alternate self die. She’s had a rough go of it! So I figured maybe she goes back to the one thing she always wanted, back to the music, you know? And that she decides to start trying to play as a sort of Professor X figure to a generation of mutant and inhuman scene kids.

Andy Burns: How has it been working with Laura Braga on this book?

Magdalene Visaggio: Laura has been an absolutely marvel (ha ha!) to work with. I’ve been a fan of her work for years, and it’s been amazing watching her come up. So when I was told I’d be working with her, of all people, I was ecstatic. She’s a delight, and the enthusiasm and fun she brings to every page is infectious.

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Andy Burns: We live in a real world where artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are empowering figures for young women – will today’s powerful females of pop play into the Dazzler we see in 2018?

Magdalene Visaggio: This is a Dazzler who is eschewing the spotlight; right now, she’s looking after herself by refocusing on the things she wanted after a failed pop career and then a decade or more trying to fit into other people’s plans. So she’s not looking at herself as an empowering figure. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the people she’s starting to surround herself with are looking to her the same way a generation of queer kids looked to Lady Gaga. But that’s not something she’s after.

Andy Burns: What’s the most exciting thing about writing Dazzler for you?

Magdalene Visaggio: I get to write X-Men! I got to write Colossus! I get to play in what is one of the most important toy boxes in my life. There’s a She-Hulk reference! I wrote She-Hulk canon! I barely even know what to say to this; this entire project has been so massively exciting I can barely contain myself. I spent my youth inhaling X-Men comics and now I get to be a small part of it. What isn’t exciting about it?

Thanks to Magdalene Visaggio for taking the time to talk to Biff Bam Pop! and to Andrea Towers at Marvel for making it happen. Dazzler #1 is available this Wednesday, June 6th

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