09.16.13 // GeekGirlCon ’13: An Interview with Kelly Sue, Part 2
Interview by GeekGirlCon Staff Copy Writer AJ Dent
Comic book writer extraordinaire Kelly Sue DeConnick recently spoke with GeekGirlCon about her past experiences, current works, and upcoming appearance at GeekGirlCon ‘13! In the second half of our interview, we dove into even more of her exciting projects and views on identifying as a Geek.
You’ve worked with artist Emma Rios before on Osborn: Evil Incarcerated and are now collaborating again on the upcoming Pretty Deadly series. Watching two female artists create a multifaceted Western story together is incredibly inspiring. What has working with Emma on this particular project been like so far?
It’s been utterly terrifying because this book has thwarted us at every turn. It’s kind of not the book we thought we were doing? It’s a lot weirder book than we set out to write. It’s very strange and we’ve both recently just sort of accepted the fact that it is the F word: it is fantasy! Which is sort of not what we meant for it to be, but it kind of insisted, so there you go.
How else have we described it? It is a macabre western. Greg Rucka called it a dark fairy tale. Mythic western. Yeah, it is certainly supernatural. The story is told by a dead bunny and a butterfly. Death incarnate is in it, and Death’s daughter. It’s a trippy book, which is not what we thought we were doing. There was a point at which I sort of accepted that this book is going to be what it is, and no amount of wrestling on my part is going to make it not. And we had talked in the beginning about how much we both love Sergio Leone. We wanted to do a Leone western, so there was a point at which I was sort of bummed we’d gotten away from that. But then Charlie Huston got this quote for me that was a Sergio Leone where he talks about the myth is the thing—historical truth doesn’t matter; it’s all about the world and the myth. Reading that after he sent that to me, it was another one of those goosebump moments that I have had a million of with this book, where I felt like, oh, this whole time it was a Leone western, it just wasn’t what I originally saw happening.
Along the lines of being influenced by outside sources as you write, there’s been a lot of online activity surrounding the release of Pretty Deadly. Do you find that fan interaction affects your writing process or drive at all?
I don’t think that Captain Marvel would have made it more than six issues without the Carol Corps. I don’t think it would have survived without that really vocal, supportive fanbase. And I think that they were able to find each other through social media. So I think it’s been very important to my work life to have been lucky enough to be a part of that. I can’t write a story with the idea, ‘Let me give them what they want!’ I think reverse-engineering what you think the people want never results in good stories, but that said, I am also a part of that culture, so sometimes references make it in. I’m clearly influenced by the Carol Corps. I’m doing a Carol Corps issue.
Do you have a bucket list of women characters you’d like to write about someday, whether already existing or currently just a spark in the back of your mind?
I have a list of story ideas that I maintain—some of them are projects of their own, some of them will find their way into books I’m currently writing. When I did start Captain Marvel, I knew I wanted to write Monica and I knew I wanted to write Anya. I wasn’t able to bring Anya into Captain Marvel because the timing wasn’t right. In fact though, because I wasn’t able to have Anya is how I was able to have Wendy Kawasaki, and I love Wendy, so I have no regrets about how that worked out. I didn’t get to bring Anya in, so it has come around that she is available again, so I’m going to be using her in Avengers Assemble.
I grew up reading DC, not Marvel, so Wonder Woman and Lois Lane were important characters to me. I’ve gotten to write Lois Lane, so that’s checked off my list, and I’m not sure if I want to write Wonder Woman, because that’s just terrifying to me! I don’t know if I’d be a good fit for it; I’m afraid that what I would want it to do is basically Lynda Carter-esque TV show fan fiction! That is best left to my nostalgic memory or watching episodes with my daughter.
What are you most excited to do or speak about at GeekGirlCon ‘13? Do you identify as a geek, and if so, what makes you proud to be one?
I am looking forward to GeekGirlCon because I have heard really good things about it. I have been to one other women-centric convention, and it was WisCon. It’s a science fiction convention, so it’s a slightly different animal. It’s sci-fi, highly academic, super cool. My conception of GeekGirlCon is that it’s almost like a younger, hipper version of that. [Laughs] I’m not entirely sure what to expect there, but I think it’s going to be cool, we’ll have a lot of fun. I love Seattle, so I’m into it!
I guess I don’t, oddly enough, know what a “geek” is! I have read comic books on and off forever. I grew up on military bases—my father was in the service, and very often, we were in places where we did not get American TV stations. My mom encouraged it; my mom loved Wonder Woman so she would buy me the comics and then dole them out to me as rewards. We would go to swap meets on the weekends and buy comics by the handful, and the house that I would go to after school—the Edmondson family—I would go hang out over there, and their whole family collected comics, so I would read. Read, read, read, read, read! Now I’ve put them down and come back to them various times in my life, but I’ve never been away for very long. They have always been a part of my life.
I’m not a gamer—my husband gave me the controller and tried to have me play Grand Theft Auto once, and yeah. He had a friend over and they were sitting over and I had the thing. He looked over at me and I was just sitting there and he goes, “What’re you doing?” and I go, “Well, the light is red.” [Laughs] So clearly, I don’t get the spirit of the game. So I’m not a gamer, I have just started my first role-playing game, which is the Call of Cthulhu, at 43 years old! But hey, I’m doing it right: Greg Rucka is my dungeon master so, you know, I started late, but I got started awesome.
So yeah, I don’t know, I don’t have anything particularly negative attached to the term. I like comic books. If other people want to hang out with me and talk about comic books, I am down with that! If people want to tell me that because I am a girl I have no place in comic books, we will have words. And I will laugh and laugh at them!
Thanks so much for the laughs and words of wisdom, Kelly Sue!
Come hear this real-life superheroine speak at GeekGirlCon ‘13! She’ll be sharing more comics industry insight with us just three short days before the October 23 release of Pretty Deadly. Pick up your passes today!