Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Interview Time--Kelly Sue Deconnick

In early-ish April I emailed Kelly Sue Deconnick to tell her how much I was enjoying the Osborn mini-series and inquire if she would be willing to answer some questions for my blog. She kindly obliged and I sent out these questions; below is our interview:  

1. Greetings Ms. DeConnick! First off I want to thank you for agreeing to do this interview and thought I would start with one of the potentially easiest or hardest questions possible—how are you today?

I'm tired, but good.  Sitting in a hotel room in Los Angeles the morning after the Thor premiere, waiting for Patrick Meaney and his crew to come over and shoot Matt and I for the Warren Ellis documentary.

The paragraph above makes my life sound far more glamourous than it actually is.  You caught me on my fancy day.  
2. For those unfamiliar with your work, how did you get into the comics business?

Okay, this sort of thing is well-covered elsewhere, most concisely in the first link I think:
3. You’ve done a ton—and that’s not an exaggeration—of translation and writing for English versions of Japanese Manga. What was it you found interesting about doing that work?

It's a challenge to put your ego aside and focus on maintaining the integrity of the source material.  I mean, it's a very subjective process, but I try to understand what I think was the author's intent and craft dialogue that duplicates that for an English language audience. The real discipline is resisting the urge to insert myself into that process as, like, co-writer.  That's not the same thing and that's not the job.  

If I'm doing the work well, my hand is invisible.   
4. Probably the first work by you I read outside of your short pieces in the Image 24-7 anthologies was "30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella", which was a great sequel to "Dark Days"/Prequel to"Return to Barrow"! I was just wondering how it was to add to the "30 Days of Night" canon and if it was hard as this appears to have been among your first original creative work that wasn't a short piece.

Nobody ever asks me about that book!  

That was both a wonderful and a horrible experience.  Working with Steve, Justin and Chris, and getting to play in that universe was wonderful.  Finding my way through the story and having Xen surprise me with her intelligence and her rage was wonderful.  I don't think I enjoyed writing a character that much again until Osborn--there's definitely some through line that connects the two for me (one that I'm recognizing only as I type this) but, anyway, yeah...

I was also pregnant with my son and literally sitting vigil at my grandmother's death bed while writing that book, so it was... emotionally harrowing.  

As artistically fulfilling as it was, as a "career move" I ended up feeling like it was an opportunity--a gift from Steve Niles and Chris Ryall, really--that I ultimately squandered.  I went through kind of an identity crisis after Henry was born that my productivity (work-wise, anyway) plummeted.  I never turned Eben & Stella into any kind of momentum.  

But then, a couple years later, Eben & Stella was the writing sample that got me Sif that got me Osborn, so maybe it was just a slooooow momentum.  
5. On your website you said you have a secret project you can’t talk much about? Are there any hints you can give us?

I'm working with someone I adore and respect on something I was already a big fan of.  How's that? 
6. You were announced for Supergirl as a new writer, which is your first work for DC. How familiar were you with the character and what can you tell us about your plans for her? Also, how is it working with the sublime Chriscross?

Cross is a hoot.  We've been on the phone a couple of times and he cracks me up.  He's also, like, nine billion feet tall, I'm told.  I would love a photo of us standing next to each other.  

Supergirl stuff mostly covered here:
7. You wrote a one-shot starring Pepper Potts during her time as Rescue (titled "Rescue") that spun off of Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man. It was well-received and I was wondering if there was any possibility of us seeing a Pepper Potts-related project from you in the future now that she is back to wearing the suit after a brief time without it?

No plans at present, but you never know.  Andrea Mutti writes me every now and then.
8. Alright, now for the part of the interview I make no secret of being most excited about, my questions about your mini-series with Emma Rios, "Osborn". My fist question is more of a compliment, but there is a query in there. Namely, how did you do such a good job delving into the psyche of a character like Norman Osborn and have the character sound both inspiring and crazy at the same time?

Thank you.  

I guess my favorite villains are the ones that make a kind of sense.  Xen, Osborn, the villain I'm working with in Supergirl right now... they're monsters, but they're not entirely unsympathetic; they're not entirely wrong, you know?   
9. How did you become involved with the "Osborn" mini-series?

Steve Wacker.  This one is well covered in the links above. 
10. How has it been working with Emma Rios? I’ve enjoyed her art a lot, especially the pages where everything gets all trippy and red in issue #2, helping make that possibly one of my favorite single issues of a comic this year.

You and me both, pal.  I could not possibly be a bigger fan.  I love her so much I want to keep her in a box in my basement. 

Did I say that out loud? 

She and I are talking about trying to do a creator-owned thing together and PLEASE OH PLEASE GOD I want to make that happen.  
11. Where did you come up with the ideas for the supporting cast we’ve seen in "Osborn", from his fellow prisoners (the demon, spider, genetic-plug alterer, space alien), to the "priest", and politicians? They all seem well-realized and fleshed-out.

I started with archetypes.  I wanted a God.  I wanted a mad scientist--that sort of thing.  Then I just kind of let my imagination wander.  

The hardest part of writing for me these days is finding the time to root around and build the story and the characters in my head.  The parts of writing that happen when you're on a walk or taking a shower or whatever.  I don't get a lot of quiet time in my house and what time I do have I tend to need to use to pound out pages.  But if you haven't built the world or the people yet, the pages don't come.

It's a puzzle I haven't a solution for.  
12. The Osborn mini-series also involves some supporting characters from the Spider-Man series, such as Norah Winters. I’m not actively reading Spider-Man but have still been able to follow along just fine, how did you manage to include these characters without alienating people like me who aren’t well-versed on Spidey-continuity?

Well thank you.  It wasn't too tough--I'm personally intimidated by continuity-heavy books, so I don't think I really had any choice.  I'm always trying to write the book I'd want to read.  

Does that make sense?  
13. What can you tell us about the upcoming conclusion to the mini-series, issue #5? Will it provide a satisfying conclusion to the story of Osborn’s rise to power and fall that arguably started in Civil War: Frontline, and ran through Thunderbolts to Dark Reign and now here? Will Osborn be more involved in Spider-Man continuity after this series ends, or will we be surprised with the conclusion of this series—i.e. Osborn dies or something shocking I would not expect (although I of course don’t expect you to tell me a bombshell like that)?

The book's out now, so--SPOILERS!--he turns himself in.  

Norman got a taste of legitimacy and found he liked it.  He's not giving up on having that again.  

15. Your husband, the aforementioned Matt Fraction, is also involved in comics. Is there any possibility of you two collaborating on a project sometime in the future besides the sort-of collaboration that was your one-shot on Rescue that spun-out of Iron Man?

A while ago I would have said no, but we've been talking recently about collaborating on something.  We had a TV pilot we wanted to write together.  Now, when exactly we'd find the time to do this remains a mystery.  
16. Thanks again for taking the time out to do this interview, is there anything else you wanted to add about upcoming projects, or such?

Nope; I'm good. 
17. Let’s end with a fun and silly question; if you could have any super-power, what would it be?

To freeze time and take a nap.  

Thanks again to Ms. Deconnick!

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