Anatomy of a Friendship: Hellcat & She-Hulk

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!

Filled with capes and colorful characters, the Marvel Universe never ceases to fill its readers with jaw-dropping, death defying action and adventure. And this summer’s Civil War II proves no exception to the rule in delivering the high-stakes drama.

But some might argue that the relatable, human-centered relationships help drive the love readers have for these super heroes above all else. One of the All New, All Different titles that exemplifies this emphasis on the friendships these heroes have with one another: Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ vibrant and light-hearted PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT.

We spent a little time talking about the unique friendship between Hellcat and She-Hulk as well as the implications from the fallout of recent events in Civil War II. So, Kate. What’s your take on the old adage “Opposites attract?” Is there any truth to it?

Kate Leth: Of course! Most of my favorite fictional couples are distinctly different. Light and dark, good and evil, boring and wild…whatever! They’re more fun to experience and definitely more fun to write. You have all these levels, and you know they’re not going to react to situations the same way. Now, last time we talked, you and Brittney Williams were gearing up for the debut of PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT. With issue #7 out earlier this month, how has it been getting to know Patsy and her cast of friends?

Kate Leth: It’s honestly been a blast. Brittney and I have since become best friends and spend a huge portion of our time together, writing and building this world. I’m so attached to Patsy and her crew, and to the adventures we’ve taken them on. The book feels so special. Speaking of her friends, it seems hard to disassociate her from Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. the Sensational She-Hulk! One is a successful lawyer who is also a world-renowned, super-powered hero. The other does what she can to pay the bills, and has no powers beyond her own skill. Where She-Hulk seems more “put together” and composed, Hellcat comes off as a more “seize the moment” sort of character.

What is it that brings these two characters together given the fact they’re somewhat opposite at first glance?

Kate Leth: [Laughs] Well, Patsy does have some supernatural abilities, but they’re limited. And, you’re right. They’re very different. Jen has played the role of the “straight man” [Laughs] in their friendship, the anchor to Patsy’s off-the-wall energy and enthusiasm. They’re two sides of a coin, but they work so well together. Patsy reminds Jen to loosen up, and Jen keeps Patsy from getting into trouble. I think it’s neat that [SHE-HULK by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido]—the style, the story, everything—was so suited to Jen’s personality, whereas our book is Patsy’s, all fun and bright colors. It’s almost like how each of them would see the world, especially in a visual sense. That’s a great way of putting it! Now, I’m curious: What informs the way you see their relationship? Are there other past comics that helped or is there something else?

Kate Leth: Oh, like I said, the previous run on SHE-HULK is, in my opinion, one of the best comics ever made. Her friendship with Patsy made me want to write HELLCAT. When I started digging back into old Defenders comics, I loved [Patsy’s] friendship with Valkyrie. It’s very similar! Valkyrie would be stoic and steadfast, where Hellcat would be in and out of romances, spouting off catch phrases and livening up the page. Of course, there’s obviously precedent for “odd couples” in pop culture. What are some of your favorites?

Kate Leth: Off the top of my head? Spike and Drusilla, Mulder and Scully, Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. For friendships, I think Abbi and Ilana from “Broad City” take the cake. Of all Patsy’s friendships, which would you say is the one she holds dearest? Where do you see her and her friends 10, 20, 30 years from now?

Kate Leth: We started this book with the absolute idea that Patsy and Jen are best friends, and that that relationship was integral to the book. Aside from her, Patsy’s roommate Ian and old friend Tom will likely be around for as long as she’s having adventures with us. I love them too much! Our approach to the book has always been that Patsy is a social creature and needs people around her. It gives us the opportunity to see how she plays off different heroes, something we’ll be exploring more in our second and third arcs. Guest stars aplenty! With the events of Civil War II and Jen being significantly injured, what is this going to mean for Patsy going forward? Do you see this affecting their friendship in any way? 

Kate Leth: I’m crushed by it, honestly, and I know Patsy would be, too. We made the decision to have Patsy stay out of Civil War II—her life is in such chaos to begin with—but then Civil War II showed up at our doorstep. Because of what’s happened, She-Hulk can’t be a part of our book for a while, and although our book is still a light-hearted adventure comic, there’s no getting around the consequences of that. Our tie-in [in issue #8] basically tackles what it means to be on the sidelines, to witness the aftermath of a war between heroes. Jen was the glue keeping Patsy’s life together, and without her, she’s going to have to step up to the plate. With She-Hulk and Hellcat being as close as they are, where do you think the events of CIVIL WAR II #1 will push Patsy? Is she going to see things from Tony’s perspective, or does she agree with Jen’s charge to Captain Marvel to be proactive in their fight to stop future attack from happening?

Kate Leth: With what’s happened to Jen, Patsy’s not taking either of their sides. Whether it comes across on the page or not—we are, after all, an all-ages book and won’t get too dark—Patsy would believe that any fight that results in injury to her best friend—as well as other serious events that occur—is not a fight she wants any part of. I’m honestly interested to see the response to issue #8; it’s going to be a doozy.

PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT weighs in on Civil War II with issue #8, coming July 20!