Kelly Sue DeConnick’s three-year-old comic-book series, Captain Marvel, featuring a female Marvel Comics character originally introduced in the late 1960s, has grown so popular among women that there’s now a Captain Marvel film in development, and the pilot turned superhero is rumored to have a role in the next Avengers movie. The boundary-pushing DeConnick also created such provocative comics as Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet, and she and husband Matt Fraction recently signed a deal to develop TV shows. “I need to go where I’m not comfortable,” she says. “I think that’s the artist’s job.”
Where or how do you seek out creative inspiration?
I find the most sweater threads in two places: things I feel very passionately about and things I have incredibly mixed feelings about. Complicated feelings are fertile soil for creative ideas. Take Osborn: Evil Incarcerated, for instance. That was born of my reading about a prison off the coast of Seattle that exclusively held predatory sex offenders–many of whom had completed their sentences. The card-carrying ACLU member in me was horrified–that’s un-American! But the mother of two small children who lives in the Pacific Northwest was cool with them losing the key. I couldn’t reconcile my feelings and that was the seed for the Special Containment Center in Osborn. Similarly, Bitch Planet was born of my love of exploitation cinema and my feminism butting heads.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Make coffee. I get up between 3 and 5 a.m. Coffee is a must. The second thing I do is turn on the fireplace. I’m always cold.
What is one thing about your job that you think would surprise people?
How much of my job is not writing. And probably how hard I’m struggling to find balance. Wil Reynolds said something extraordinary at the 99U Conference just today — he said, “Getting things done means giving things up.” And that resonates with me hugely right now.
What’s your favorite Twitter or Instagram account and why?
Right now, @deray, the activist DeRay McKesson. I don’t know the man, but he seems to me someone who puts his body on the line to live his values and make a better world for us all.
What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you’re in a rut?
Take a shower, go for a ride of go for a walk. For hard resets, conventions and conferences can be inspiring.
Who outside of your field inspires you the most and why?
My children, maybe? It’s such a pat answer, but they haven’t started demonstrating a fear of being judged yet. It’ll come–the world will conspire to thwart our efforts and and make them second guess themselves–but for right now, they’re such pure expressions of who they are. My son is such a lover, such a caretaker and so funny. He’s seven and he genuinely cracks me up. And my daughter is a fearless powerhouse. They fill me with wonder and admiration.