I’ve mentioned that a major influence on the character of Mrs. Hawking is Batman. Mostly this manifests in her internal workings– the way she runs on anger, taking an eternal vengeance for the way the world crushes women. But it also inspires how I imagine she works.
I’ve always thought that the diegetic reason for why Batman is so good at everything he does is that in the time normal people screw around on the Internet and read books and have human relationships, he is studying and training and honing himself into the ultimate weapon against crime. I decided Mrs. Hawking works much the same way, as her work is the most important thing in her life, and she doesn’t see the value so much in doing things for pleasure or having connections to other people.
I think it would add a lot of texture and interest to the stories to demonstrate how almost all her free time is spent in studying and training. The following scribble is short and very rough, but it shows a little of the sort of thing I’m imagining for this. I also like the idea of keeping it a little playful, as I’m always on the lookout for places to add humor and humanity to lighten up the narrative.
Also it was somewhat inspired by the fabulous Zoe Keating song “Escape Artist,” whose cello sounds like how I would represent Mrs. Hawking musically.
by Phoebe Roberts
MRS. HAWKING, lady’s society avenger
NATHANIEL HAWKING, her gentleman nephew
(MRS. HAWKING is tied to a chair, her legs roped to its legs and hands in cuffs bound to the back. She is dressed only in her underclothes, corset, shift, and drawers, and her hair is in a braid.)
(She jerks her head to flip her braid over her shoulder. With her teeth she takes hold of a pin tucked into the braid and pulls it out. She considers a moment, then drops the pin on the seat of the chair beside her. She maneuvers herself to move her bound hands to grab it, then busily works it in the lock of her manacles. In a moment she has them undone.)
(She slips out of the cuffs and shakes them off. As she bends down to untie the ropes on her legs, enter a figure in shadow, running in towards her. She immediately rolls forward, the chair still attached to her ankles. She slams the chair down between her and the man approaching, stopping him dead in his tracks. As he cries out, we see the man is NATHANIEL.)
NATHANIEL: Good God!
MRS. HAWKING: Here already? I must be getting slow.
NATHANIEL: What are you– wait a tick, where are your clothes!?
(He turns away awkwardly.)
MRS. HAWKING: I’m practicing. Captors don’t always make it easy for you. Must keep in training, you know.
NATHANIEL: But madam–!
MRS. HAWKING: This is rather a children’s game, at any rate. Even though I chose to pretend I’d not been left my corset.
NATHANIEL: Thank Heaven you only chose to pretend!