Sometimes you create a character, and sometimes they create themselves. By the time I came around to Mother Mandrake I already had enough material/characters/villains for The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay - Volume 1: Gallery of Rogues, and I was certain that if she were to debut, it would be later on, though I did drop a teaser of her existence during “Monstrosity Returns.” A teaser that is now outdated In regards to the current character, but I’ve left in just for posterity.
Mother Mandrake was originally supposed to be a career bank robber, just like the real life Ma Barker, always on the run hitting London’s various banks with her son Rudolpho. There were a lot of issues with that premise, one being that every crime they’d commit would revolve around banks, and that’d get stale pretty quick. Another was it became difficult to continue to draw from Ma Barker, as she is a distinctly American criminal, and the stories are set in London. I was also running the risk of her becoming my third comedic villain, after Silas and The Three-Headed Mob, and I wanted a female villain antagonist to be just as capable a villain as Midnight Jay was a hero.
The want to make the character dangerous seemed to just build over time, and that’s what ultimately fleshed out the final version of Mother Mandrake: Here is an individual who is pure poison; a sociopath whose only want is to create panic and paranoia in the hearts of anyone she meets. She doesn’t even think of her own safety as she tirelessly works towards the total destruction of all London. There always seems to be a theory as to why she wants London to crumble, but as her feature story has revealed, they always turn out to be lies. Lies wrapped in lies, and she remains a force of malevolence not to be taken lightly.
She is primarily rivals with Midnight Jay, but unlike the friendly, somewhat professional rivalry that The Derby has with Silas, Mother Mandrake is a serious threat, and the longer the battle runs between her and The Jay, the more The Jay is effected by the depth of Mother Mandrake’s deception. The Jay walks away from every confrontation a little more emotionally drained and shaken.