“Respect My Craft” – Kelly Sue DeConnick

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

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Name: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Profession: Writer

Notable WorkCaptain Marvel (2012-present), Ghost (ongoing), Pretty Deadly (ongoing), Osborn: Evil Incarcerated (2011), A buttload of Manga

“I believe the feminist movement of the 1970s died of neglect somewhere along the way and armies were dismantled before battles were won.” – Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick is a firecracker. Feminist, whatever-ist, DeConnick represents everything that’s right in the comic book industry. In the multiple interviews that she has done, she often sounds off about feminism, females in the industry, and how her beliefs permeate through her writing. Anybody that has read her work before (see our review of Captain Marvel: Volume One – In Pursuit of Flight here) knows that she likes to let her writing do the talking.

DeConnick grew up on a military base in Germany while her father was stationed there in the Air Force. It was there that he love for comic books blossomed. GIs would regularly read and trade issues amongst themselves. Partly because there was no American television and partly because she fell in love with them, comic books were everywhere in her childhood. Later on, DeConnick obtained her BA in Theater from the University of Texas – an education she feels deeply helps her creative process today. She sees a situation playing out and, with an appropriate script, moves forward.

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Her start in the industry was unconventional, for sure. After meeting Neil Gaiman (Anansi BoysSandman) at a book signing, she wrote him a heart-felt note that somehow turned into him putting her to work and crediting her in American Gods (terrific read, by the way). With these credentials, she was able to get a gig translating Japanese manga. Doing deeper into the rabbit-hole of the industry, she also began writing for multiple online review sites; Deconnick even met her future husband and Marvel Comics BFD, Matt Fraction (writes Sex Criminals and Hawkeye currently).  After years of the blogging and writing manga – she’s translated for over one hundred volumes of it – DeConnick started rolling in the comic book writing business.

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Being featured in collections such as 24seven and Comic Book Tattoo was a great start, but when DeConnick got the opportunity to write her own mini-series with 30 Days of Night creator Steve Miles. The four issue book was titled Eben and Stella and focused on a vampire trying to keep her newly resurrected husband at bay. It was the first of many, as DeConnick was given multiple one-shots and mini-series, notably Osborn and Sif. Her unique portrayal of Thor’s warrior friend was unlike the typical Damsel in Distress. No, she was fierce, and she could whoop anybody’s butt. This was less than five years ago; since then, and the train has showed no signs of slowing down.

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The big issue that DeConnick fights is the ignorance of the lack of diversity in the industry. Her logic is that heroism comes in all shapes and sizes. “…There’s nothing innately masculine about heroism. Nothing innately masculine about science fiction. Nor about power fantasies or revenge fantasies or the pulp aesthetic.” It’s no secret that women are under-represented in th
e industry. DeConnick feels that if young girls can learn to identify with male protagonist, there should be absolutely no reason that men can’t do the same for women protagonists. I personally love anything with Deconnick’s name on it. She isn’t perfect though; DeConnick still worries about deadlines and work-life balance like the rest of us.

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DeConnick also admits to not being the complete fan – whatever the hell that is. She admits to having gapings in her knowledge. The lesson to take away from her work is that not everybody who reads comics has to know absolutely everything about what they read to be considered an active participant in the industry. There just needs to be a desire to keep narrowing that gap, keep learning. Kelly Sue DeConnick is writing out of her mind right now, with Captain Marvel just restarting, and the continuation of her creator-owned  Pretty Deadly. Witty, intelligent and motivated, DeConnick is headed for stardom; you must Respect Her Craft!

I wanted to point out that none of this art is mine; it is all credited to the original publishers (Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse and Image Comics) . Thanks for all the love and support for You Nerd Like A Girl. Look to us next week for more “Respect My Craft!,” featuring the industries most talented contributors.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib

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