It all started with a Tumblr post by my friend and colleague Charissa, who extracted a quote from my interview with Astonishing X-Men writer Marjorie Liu last year. The post eventually caught the eye of Kelly Sue Deconnick, currently writing the acclaimed Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble series, who also posted it on Tumblr (You can see the full post here).
So of course, I just had to reach out to the divine Ms Deconnick, and this interview is the result.
As many of us will know, the 42 year year has been working in the industry for about a decade, as a manga translator and on projects such as Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm and Osborn: Evil Incarcerated. She’s also married to fellow high-profile writer Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Fear Itself, Invincible Iron Man), whom I interviewed for The Straits Times when he came to Singapore back in 2010 for the Singapore Toy Game and Comic Convention.
I wanted to start off with your most recent project, the Avengers/Captain Marvel crossover. I know it’s only coming out in May, but how has the build-up to that been going?
God, I feel like I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really promoted it, so I don’t know if it’s going to have its intended effect. But I’m excited about our story. I’m interested in the direction that we’re going with it.
It’s an old Marvell foe, and someone with an axe to grind against Carol, and it’ll have big repercussions on Carol and Jessica’s relationship.
Generally, what are your thoughts on crossovers? Do they help to boost sales on books, or can it turn into a hassle for fans?
I’m still relatively new to the superhero comic market, so I presume that the people who have been doing it for years and years know better than I do. It seems very confusing to me, but that said…I presume that the people who are trusted with the decision-making process in a multi-million dollar company know what they’re doing better than I do. They have been at this a lot longer. I am excited about the story, I like the idea of the two books crossing over, meaning I like the cast of Avengers interacting with the supporting cast of Captain Marvel a lot, I think that’s fun. My dog is driving me crazy. Claude, get out of here, I’m not giving you any chicken. Wow, that worked. He literally just turned around and walked out.
I guess so..
.No, I mean, it starts in a book called Enemy Within #1, and then part two is in Avengers Assemble #16, and then part three is in Captain Marvel #13. That seems confusing to me..
Thank you for doing your research!.
I do think I’ve been effective in it. Yes, it will be affected. Carol’s status quo is going to change. It’s going to be rough on some people (pauses). But I wouldn’t wanna do it if I didn’t think it was an interesting choice and good for her, you know?.
Yeah, I wanted her to, as she was taking the title of Captain Marvel, choosing to bear that mantle, I wanted her to really consider the shoulders on which she stands. (at this point, Claude returns to the room and starts whimpering again).
No, I don’t think so. I think the only person Carol now has anything to prove to is Carol. I think it’s living to her own high standards. I always say that I think she is…I think there is a shadow of her father that hangs over her, and I think that there is some aspect of – Claude, get out of here. Excuse me, I’m gonna get the dog out and close the door. (walks off and returns) I think she’s always still trying to prove something to her dad, or impress her dad, but her dad’s dead now and that’s not possible. But I think that’s a part of her..
No, we’re not going to solicit Pretty Deadly until we have three issues completed, so that we don’t get ourselves into trouble. Because neither Emma Rios nor I are particularly fast, and we’ve never misled anybody about that. And this book is…we’re both very devoted to this book, and we’ve both spent a great deal of time working it out. When you see her art, you’ll see there’s nothing rushed about it. We’ve just completed the first issue, so I expect that we will solicit it in the late spring. Some time toward the end of summer would be my guess for the release..But nothing is set, and that is shift-able. It took us a lot longer, I think, than would be normal to complete the first issue, even for a labour of love like this, just because we had a lot of stuff to work out. Now that we have our characters fleshed out, I expect it will go a bit faster, but I don’t wanna promise anybody anything..
Movies, probably not. Novels, absolutely. It’s something I very much want to do, and definitely more creator-owned works.
You know, I got lucky so fast. That was only my second big project that I worked on that paired Emma and I (Osborn: Evil Incarcerated). I didn’t know her before I worked with her, but she was just so extraordinary, so gifted. And we like so many of the same things, and we have so many of the same priorities. It was dumb luck, but she’s amazing. She can make me tear up just with the art, which is extraordinary..
(laughs and claps hands) Well, she’s working with me now, so I’m perfectly happy! You can ask me again the next time she’s working with somebody else!.
There’s always a learning curve where [it’s like] ‘Oh okay, that’s not quite what I meant’, and then you have to kind of adjust the story a little bit. I love that this is a collaboration, and I think that that, I’m sure this sounds goofy, but I think that that…gap leaves room for some magic to happen. Sometimes, somebody misunderstands something, and they come back with something that’s even better that what you were going for..Yes, I’ve certainly had that thing happen where I just can’t communicate what I mean, where you try getting on the phone to help, and it just doesn’t….But it’s never the end of the world, it’s never anything I take particularly personally, or something I hold particularly personally against the artist. It’s a collaborative art form, and every collaboration is going to get smoother over time, so they’re all going to be a little awkward in the beginning. And some are just better fits than others, whether it’s you and your artist, or you and the material..For the most part, I have been very lucky. I think there have been times I have not been able to crack the code of how to write perfectly for a particular artist. But when I look back at my body of work, the only thing I can think of that really makes me squirm, is one time in one story, I killed a dog because it was sort of easy shorthand for me to prove how evil a character was. That’s the only thing where I’m like, ‘Ahhhh, hated that I did that’. Any time somebody brings me that one to sign, I’m like (grimaces and shakes head).
Sure, but that would be like an embarassing thing to list publicly. I donno, it would be like asking somebody to the dance in front of a bunch of people. Yeah, there are lots of artists I want to work with..