Interview with Andréa Bell of Passion Project

What happens when a child is born to the worlds most notorious super villain?  A variety of things, to say the least.  For one, the child grows up without that parent in their life.  For another, the whole world starts to look at that child as if she’s a villain herself.

Passion shows her dark side early on.
Passion shows her dark side early on.

This is the plight of the main character in Andréa Bell’s “Passion Project.”  However, Passion, out anti-hero protagonist and the daughter of the super villain Empress, has given up fighting against what society expects her to be, and in turn has embraced her heritage.  Now she plots her own evil plans in between classes at high school.  “Passion project is like ‘Mean girls’ with superheroes – ‘Mean girls’ meets X-men and manga,” Bell said.

Passion, who has the power to control, direct, and feel peoples’ emotions, goes out of her way to do dastardly deeds, but for her own reasons.  “The whole point of most of the story is – I mean it’s in the tag line – Passion wants to see her mom again,” Bell said.  “She’s doing anything she can to get to her mom, which is why she does the bad things she does.”

Bell – who grew up in Prince Georges County, MD – said that the bulk of her inspiration for this comic came from people she knew and saw in her childhood.  “‘Passion Project is just about writing characters that are either me, or I’ve seen in real life,” Bell said.

She described her formative years in high school – how she participated in a performing arts program and the international baccalaureate – and her access to a wide variety of people and cultures.  “I got to learn not only things about our nation, but a world.  It was just an amazing thing,” explained Bell.  “‘Passion Project’ probably is if I could go back and do it again.”

Passion explains her powers for the readers.
Passion explains her powers for the readers.

Bell works part-time as a librarian, but in her spare time she does both the story and the art for “Passion Project” and her other ongoing series, “Dream Caught.”  “My mom would disagree with that – she would say that I give work maybe 40% and comics get 60%,” Bell said with a laugh. However, she also said her heart and her future lie in comics.   “This part-time is not the end for me.  I want to get into the field as close to making comics full-time as possible.”

As for the future of “Passion Project,” Bell predicts dark and stormy skies as well as raw emotion.  “I want it to be breathtaking, but it’s going to take a while to build up to that.  I’m telling you, you’re going to be seeing some serious core wrenching stuff,” Bell explained, hinting at relationship drama and new characters, including a sadistic new antagonist.    “She [Passion] learns from unlikely sources – you learn from your greatest enemies.”

Bell goes on to say how characters will grow and be developed as the story progresses.  “I hope this is a series that gets people talking,” Bell said.  “I hope it hits home for a lot of people.  I kind of want my comic to be there for you.”

Passion Project is available to read on the comics’ Tumblr, Bell’s website, and Tapastic.  Bell herself is available on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr where she posts progress shots and updates.

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