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Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell Have the Uncanny Ability to Create Great Comics

Uncanny #1 at TFAW.comWhat would you do if you had the uncanny ability to access and use the skill sets, memories, and abilities of different people around you? Andy Diggle’s new series, Uncanny, shows us just what a man can do when he puts his mind to it.

The exciting new crime series follows a character named Weaver, as he plays a dangerous game of international intrigue where the rules keep changing, the players are hidden, and the first thing he stands to lose is his life.

We had the chance to talk with Diggle and series artist Aaron Campbell about Uncanny, which hits the shelves on June 26 from Dynamite Entertainment. Check it out below, as well as our four-page preview!

TFAW.com: Without tipping your cards too much, can you tell us a little bit about your newest series, Uncanny?

Andy Diggle: It’s a crime thriller with just a hint of the paranormal. Weaver is a professional con man, gambler and thief-for-hire who possesses a special ability. He can steal a victim’s knowledge, skills, and abilities for a short time — their ability to crack a safe, hack a computer, practice taekwondo, or whatever else he needs to complete his mission. But the clock is always ticking. He has to finish the job before his time runs out and he loses his stolen skill-set. Then he’s in trouble.

TFAW.com: Weaver sounds like a really unique and interesting character. How long has this idea been percolating? What was the final piece to fall in line so that you could tell this story?

Uncanny Preview Page 1Diggle: Nick Barrucci approached me last year with a view to being part of Dynamite’s fledgling Crime Line, and I jumped at the chance. It’s exactly the kind of project I’d been looking for. When I first started developing the story, Weaver had a different name, and was more of a small-time loser. Making him more of a self-confident con-man type, and opening up the scale of the story, was when it really started to come to life for me. I realized he’d been conning himself. He’s spent his whole life running away, and we join him at the point in his life where he finally finds something to run towards. Even if it is trying to kill him.

TFAW.com: You’re no stranger to the crime genre, having written books like Snapshot, Six Guns, Rat Catcher, and The Losers. How has this series challenged you creatively compared to previous projects?

Diggle: I guess the biggest challenge when working in a specific genre is not to fall into cliché. There are certain tropes and conventions that crime fans might expect, so you have to steer around those traps, or invert them. That’s one of the benefits of having this subtle supernatural angle to the book–you can use it to hook out the clichés and spin them off into new and unexpected directions.

TFAW.com: How many issues do you have planned at this point? Does this series have a distinct end?

Diggle: I have the first six issues all mapped out, and we’re all hoping so see it continue long term. The first story introduces us to Weaver and his abilities, and opens up a whole new world for him. We can spend as long as we want exploring that world.

TFAW.com: You’re working on several books at once. Can you tell us a bit about how you move between projects?

Diggle: It’s a bit of a juggling act. In addition to Uncanny, I’m currently writing Doctor Who for IDW and Thief of Thieves with Robert Kirkman at Skybound, plus developing some new projects which I can’t really talk about just yet — including a second crime title at Dynamite. The key to keeping it all running smoothly is to lock down the story outline well in advance. Once the publisher approves it, they can just let you get on with it, and you can hit a steady rhythm of writing an issue a week. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for rewrites, though, so you pretty much have to get it right first time.

TFAW.com: How did Aaron Campbell come to work on the series? How has he been as a collaborator?

Uncanny Preview Page 2Diggle: Aaron’s been doing great work on Dynamite’s The Shadow, so it made a lot of sense for him to jump onto Uncanny, which has a similarly noirish feel, albeit contemporary. He’s been a pleasure to work with. I always try to strike up a correspondence with the artists I’m working with — usually we’re on different continents — and Aaron’s been a gent. He sends me his thumbnail layouts before he goes to pencils, which helps me iron out any kinks in my scripting before they make it onto the page.

TFAW.com: Hi Aaron! How involved were you with the character design process for Uncanny?

Campbell: Save for one small caveat, the Weaver you’ll see in the book was all my design based on Andy’s written description of him. The covers had already been completed, which I had not seen yet. So when I designed the character I drew him with very dark hair, while on the covers he is depicted with lighter hair. So I lightened his hair. Not a particularly interesting story, is it?

TFAW.com: Ha! No it’s always interesting knowing those little details. Can you take us through your process? After you get the script, how do you get your head in the game?

Campbell: Well, assuming that my head ever has the opportunity to come out of the game, I would imagine that my process isn’t too different from anyone else whose style is based more on realism. I start with layouts, though typically I don’t do them all at once. I break the book in chunks based on the different locations in the script and focus on them one at a time. Once I get approval on that set of layouts, I’ll design the space and shoot my photo reference. I then do my pencils digitally, print them out blueline, and ink over the digital print. Something new I’m doing for this book, though, is working at a Golden Age scale. My original pages measure 14.25″ x 22″. I’m really liking it, too. I can get in there with big tools and really work the page over with much more of a fluid line.

TFAW.com: You’ve worked on a bunch of Dynamite books, from Dark Shadows and Sherlock Holmes to pulp books like Green Hornet and The Shadow. Has Uncanny posed any unique challenges compared to your other work?

Uncanny Preview Page 3Campbell: For the first time ever I’m working in the here and now. I get to hang up my trenchcoats and fedoras and put away my classic car models. And I no longer have to pore through research trying to reconstruct what some place might have looked like back in the 1930s. Not that I wouldn’t want to do more period work in the future, but it’s quite a relief actually to take a break from it.

TFAW.com: How’s it been working with the folks at Dynamite, Andy?

Diggle: Blissfully stress-free, I’m happy to say. They pay me well and on time, and they don’t mess around with the story. What more could a writer wish for?

TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part about working in the comic book industry, Aaron?

Campbell: There are so many great things about working in the comics industry that it’s hard to pick a favorite. For one thing, I get to do what I love to do. I get to work from home. I get to go to awesome cons and meet great fans and become friends with amazing creators. It’s really a dream career.

Uncanny Preview Page 4TFAW.com: When you picture the person reading Uncanny, what other books would you say they’re reading right now?

Diggle: Comics-wise, they’d probably be into Garth Ennis, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron, and Greg Rucka. That’s good company to be in.

TFAW.com: What are the favorite comics that you’re reading right now?

Diggle: I’m not reading a lot of monthly titles these days — I have a stack of trades still waiting to be read, and I haven’t even cracked open my Marvel Unlimited account yet. It’s mostly indy genre books that draw my interest – Fatale, Manhattan Projects, Saga. I was a big fan of Thief of Thieves even before I was invited to join the team, so that was a real thrill. I don’t read a lot of spandex these days, but Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye is fantastic — and pretty much spandex-free, now that I think of it. It reads more like a smart, postmodern crime book than a superhero comic. Highly recommended.

Campbell: Right now I’m reading Fatale, Andy’s other book Snapshot, Hellboy, Hawkeye, and that’s about all I have time for. And I can go on for a very long time about all the artists that inspire me. But if I’m just talking about people who were working today, Sean Phillips, Jock, Tommy Lee Edwards, David Aja, and JH Williams are a definitely on the short list of artists I’ve been paying a lot of attention to lately.

TFAW.com: What else are you excited about/what other projects do you have coming up?

Diggle: The final issue of our creator-owned thriller Snapshot is out in May, which is incredibly exciting for me and Jock. The first three issues have done better than we ever hoped, and I can’t wait to see the trade. I’m also developing another Crime Line book at Dynamite over the next few weeks. It’s about sex, power, and crime, so that should be good, not-so-clean fun. I’m also developing an action thriller for another publisher, which I can’t talk about just yet. Plus I’m writing a new creator-owned miniseries this summer. So I’m crazy busy — and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Campbell: I really don’t have much time to devote to any other projects right now, but there’s a possibility that you might be seeing more of me on Dynamite covers this year. I’m also very excited for the con season and will be attending HeroesCon this year for the first time. So if you’re in Charlotte in June, come by!

We want to thank Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell for taking time out their busy schedules for this interview! Make sure to pre-order your copy of Uncanny #1 by April 30 to save 35% off the first issue as part of this month’s featured discounts!

ORDER YOUR COPY OF UNCANNY TODAY!

What do you think about Uncanny? Going to add it to your pull list? We’re definitely on board. Please post your comments below.


New 100 Bullets Miniseries Follows Brother Lono to Mexico

100 Bullets continues this summer with the new Brother Lono miniseries.It’s been over four years since 100 Bullets ended with a bang. That’s why we’re psyched that Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are teaming up for another chapter of the award-winning series this summer. 100 Bullets Brother Lono is a brand-new eight-issue miniseries that follows one of our favorite characters to Mexico.

When last we saw Lono, Dizzy Cordova had shot him through the chest. . . but Lono always was too tough to die. Now, after the final events of 100 Bullets, Lono finds himself in Mexico working on the side of the angels. But there’s always more to a 100 Bullets story, so pick up this extra-size first issue to see what’s really going on with Brother Lono, the cold-blooded killer you hate to love!

Good news for those who already have series subscriptions set up for 100 Bullets–your issues of the Brother Lono miniseries will automatically be ordered and sent to you when they get here!

You’re going to love this series. June 19 can’t come quick enough!

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Are you excited to see what happens to Lono? What other 100 Bullets characters would you like to see star in their own miniseries? Post your comments below.


New Batman Superman Series Joins the New 52 This Summer

New Superman/Batman Series hits the New 52 this summer!A new epic begins with the debut of the new ongoing Batman Superman comic book series! Don’t miss the first fateful meeting of Batman and Superman in The New 52.

Helmed by Greg Pak (Incredible Hulk, X-Treme X-Men) and featuring the stunning art of Jae Lee (Dark Tower, Before Watchmen: Ozymandias), this is one series you won’t want to miss.

“We’ve been given the incredible opportunity to show these two icons meeting for the first time at this very early and raw stage in their careers,” Pak told USA Today. “Neither one of them has ever heard of the other guy.”

Pak went on to say that this is “a really exciting place to discover who these guys are, and the things we’re going to discover particularly in this first story arc will have ramifications later on down the line. We’re going to start in the past but it’ll reverberate through. It’ll be big and crazy and tons of fun.”

Jae Lee's Superman from the new Batman Superman comic book seriesJae Lee's Batman from the new Batman Superman comic book seriesYou’ll save 20% off Batman Superman #1 when you pre-order your copy at TFAW. You can also lock in this great price when you set up your Batman Superman Series Subscription by 4/23.

The series is also available as a Combo Pack edition that comes packaged with a digital download code for the issue.

This is a great option for people who want to store the physical copy of the book for collectible purposes and use the digital code to read the issue. Or, you could get the book for yourself and pass along the digital version to a friend! Sharing is caring, after all.

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Are you excited to see the first meeting of Batman and Superman in the new Batman Superman series? How do you think that’ll play out? Post your comments below!


X-Files Season 10 Begins in June

X-Files Season 10 at TFAW.comAgents Mulder and Scully reunite for the new, ongoing X-Files Season 10 comic book series this June! For years they investigated the paranormal, pursued the “monsters of the week,” and sought the truth behind extraterrestrial activity, along with the grand conspiracy surrounding it rooted deep within their own government.

Series creator Chris Carter ushers The X-Files into a new era of technological paranoia, multinational concerns and otherworldly threats, but this time, it’ll take more than a desire to believe to make it out alive.

You’ll save 35% off X-Files Season 10 #1 when you pre-order your copy by 4/30 as part of this month’s Featured Discounts. You can also lock in this great price when you set up your X-Files Series Subscription by 4/23.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF X-FILES SEASON 10 #1
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Are you excited for X-Files Season 10? What was your first experience with the X-Files TV show? Post your comments below!


Throne of Atlantis–The Justice League Battles Aquaman’s Brother & the Atlanteans!

Throne of Atlantis comics at TFAW.comThis December, Geoff Johns pits the Justice League against Aquaman’s brother and the whole of Atlantis! The new Throne of Atlantis story begins in Justice League #15 and continues in the pages of Aquaman.

As the team grows to trust each other, they’re going to deal with some of the things they don’t know about each other. This is the debut of Atlantis to the New 52 universe, and you can bet that the surface world will never be the same after this story. Throne of Atlantis marches us toward DC’s tentpole event of 2013, Trinity War, so don’t miss out on any of the action!

Like we’ve done for all of DC’s special crossovers–Death of the Family, Rotworld, H’EL on Earth, Throne of Atlantis, Hawkman Wanted, Rise of the Third Army, and Before Watchmen–we’ve created a special page that will serve as your one-stop shop for all the Throne of Atlantis comics.

THRONE OF ATLANTIS

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Are you excited for this story? Are you digging Aquaman? Post your comments below!


Buy Spider-Man Comics While You Still Can: ASM #700 Ends the Series

Buy Spider-Man comics at TFAW.com: ASM #700 ends the series!Amazing Spider-Man relaunched in 2008 with a three-times-a-month publishing schedule. With epic storylines like The Gauntlet and Grim Hunt, it’s remained a consistently good book over the years, offering new spins on classic heroes and villains.

All good things must come to an end, and that time is now. We’re now taking pre-orders for the final issue: Amazing Spider-Man #700. The issue weighs in at 104 pages and you’ll save 20% off the $7.99 price, making your copy just $6.39.

Don’t cry for too long, though. You’ll still be able to buy Spider-Man comics. Plus, he’ll be back soon in the new Superior Spider-Man series. We’ll update the Marvel NOW! page when the first issue is available for pre-order (likely later this month).

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Now is the Time to Buy Hellboy Comics–A New Era for Hellboy

Hellboy in Hell #1 at TFAW.comIt’s pretty clear that now is the time to buy Hellboy comics. An all-new era for the world’s greatest Paranormal investigator is so close we can taste it. After saving the world in Hellboy: The Storm and Hellboy: The Fury, but sacrificing himself and Great Britain, Hellboy is dead, cast into Hell, where he finds many familiar faces, and a throne that awaits him.

Mike Mignola returns to draw Hellboy’s ongoing story for the first time since The Conqueror Worm. Hellboy in Hell is a story only Mignola could tell, as more of Hellboy’s secrets are at last revealed, in the most bizarre depiction of Hell you’ve ever seen.

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Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army Begins in October

Red Lanterns #14 at TFAW.comBig things are in store for the Lantern family of books this October. BIG THINGS. The epic Rise of the Third Army event will span all of the Lantern books, and we’ll be introduced to the Third Army. Once upon a time, the Guardians formed the Green Lantern Corps with the idea that they would protect the Universe. As the Guardians lose faith in the Corps, they summon the Third Army to wipe out the Corps.

What is the Third Army, and how will our favorite ringslingers weather this coming storm? Who is the new Earth-born Lantern? What is the role of the First Lantern in all of this? Find out this October!

You can order all four crossover issues today–just visit our special Rise of the Third Army page to see all the issues.

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Christy Marx Talks TV, Sword of Sorcery, and Games

Christy Marx

Writer Christy Marx has been working in the comics and television industries for some time–’80s classics Jem, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and G.I. Joe are just a few of her credits–so you can imagine our exhilaration when we had the opportunity to conduct a “truly outrageous” interview with her this month.

Read along to find out what drew her to comics, how she almost almost opted to be an artist, and about her new series, Sword of Sorcery, which will bring Amethyst to The New 52 next month.

TFAW.com: What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

Christy Marx: I was equally obsessed with both comic books and newspaper comic strips. I’d cut the adventure strips out of the paper, paste them onto pages and color them. When I was very young, I found a comic at my grandmother’s house that had a story about an invincible, homicidal robot. I’ve never been able to find anyone who can identify that comic, but it made a powerful impact on me.

Marx's imagination was sparked by Challengers of the Unkown when she was a child. But the one that finally pushed me over the edge was a comic I found in my desk at school in third or fourth grade. It was a Challengers of the Unknown and, if I remember correctly, involved dinosaurs on a spaceship. I spent the class secretly reading the comic rather than paying attention. From that moment on, I bought every comic book I could afford.

TFAW.com: What inspired you to become a writer, and when did you first begin to explore that creative outlet?

Marx: It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I went down a false path thinking I was going to be a comic book artist, and I was in my 20s before I realized that I didn’t have that talent. The truth is that I was driven to be a visual storyteller and had always been weaving stories and creating characters, so I simply shifted my focus entirely onto the writing.

TFAW.com: You’re a prolific writer. With TV series like Jem, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Captain Power in your credits, I can tell you that you’ve brought joy to a lot of kids out there. What are some of the favorite moments of your career so far?

Writing for Jem and the Holograms led to one of Marx's fondest memories.Marx: One high point was when writing the animation series, Jem and the Holograms. I wrote a two-part episode that involved runaway kids. At the end of each episode, we ran a help-line number and they were absolutely flooded with calls from kids who needed help. It brought home to me what can be accomplished with popular media.

And pretty much any time I get to see my name as a screen or print credit is a favorite moment.

TFAW.com: How did you break into the comics industry?

Marx: It was a combination of luck and preparation, as these things usually are. I lived in L.A. at the time and Roy Thomas had just moved to L.A. while still working for Marvel. I found out that he’d be speaking to a group of fans in a small setting (not a convention), so I showed up with a Conan story I’d written, listened carefully to the questions being asked, and then at the end asked him the question nobody else had the bothered to ask. While I still had his attention, I asked him if he would read the story. He did and he bought it and that was my first sale.

TFAW.com: How did your experience writing for TV translate to writing comics?

Fantastic Four Animated Series circa 1978.Marx:Technically, the comics came first. It was after I’d made a couple of comic story sales that I had the chance to write for a Fantastic Four animation series. The writing format was completely different, but the general sense of visual storytelling carries over.

TFAW.com: How has your experience been as a female creator in the comics industry?

Marx: Excellent. I’m not sure whether I was amazingly lucky to fall in with the right group of people or whether it was my own attitude, but I didn’t encounter any obvious barriers to writing for comics. I never stopped to think about the fact that I was female or that there would be any reason I couldn’t do it. I simply got out there and did it. After I had been writing both comics and animation for years, I would find that I was considered special because I was a woman writing action-adventure. I wrote it because that’s what I enjoyed writing.

TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part of telling stories in the sequential arts?

Marx: Telling a good story with interesting, compelling characters and a satisfying conclusion. Which, by the way, applies to telling a story in any medium.

TFAW.com: What are three things you think comic book publishers should be doing to attract female readers?

You can pre-order the first few Sword of Sorcery issues right now  at TFAW.com!Marx: 1) Less mindless action and graphic violence; 2) less hypersexualizing of female characters; 3) better and deeper character development.

TFAW.com: What aspect of comics have you struggled with, as a writer?

Marx: Getting work solely as writer without having an artist attached to a project. It’s so much tougher for a writer than it is for an artist.

TFAW.com: What advice can you give aspiring writers or comic book creators?

Marx: I put tons of advice into my book, more than I have time to repeat here, so at the risk of coming across as self-serving, I’m going to point people to my book: Writing for Animation, Comics and Games.

TFAW.com: Whose work has had an influence in your writing?

Marx: Mary Stewart, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock.

TFAW.com: Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

Marx: Wendy Pini! A fantastic talent and one of my favorite people. Elfquest rocks.

TFAW.com: What was the last comic you read?

Marx: I’ve been reading Rachel Rising by Terry Moore (and anything he does), Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai, the Astro City series by Kurt Busiek, the Buffy series, and X-Men.

You can pre-order the first few Sword of Sorcery issues right now  at TFAW.com!TFAW.com: Can you tell us a little bit about Amethyst’s introduction to DC’s New 52 in Sword of Sorcery?

Marx: I tried to honor the previous series, which I read when it first came out, but give it a reboot for today’s audience. It skews slightly older and I’m doing a lot of new world-building. There’s an entirely new set of characters. Amy is 17 and has a difficult relationship with her mother, who happens to be a powerful woman in exile. When they return to their home world the entire balance of power shifts, causing all sorts of intrigue, strife, betrayal, and not to mention more than a few assassination attempts.

TFAW.com: What projects do you have coming up soon?

Marx: I work full-time as a Narrative Designer at Zynga on a Facebook game called Hidden Chronicles. Between that and Amethyst, I don’t have time for anything else.

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Our thanks to Christy for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about her experience in the comic book industry. Be sure to check out her newest comic book adventure when Sword of Sorcery begins on September 19.

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Kelly Sue DeConnick Talks Shop with Us

Kelly Sue DeConnickKelly Sue DeConnick is blowing up. The second issue of her new series, Captain Marvel hits stands today (it’s really, really good, BTW), and she and artist Dexter Soy have received a lot of praise for the book. We had the chance to sit down for an interview with Kelly Sue about her first writing gig, the best part of making comics, and her advice to aspiring creators.

TFAW.com: What are your earliest memories of comics? What was the first comic you read?

Kelly Sue DeConnick: You know, it breaks my heart that I don’t remember that. That’s a question I get a lot and I know many people can remember their first comics; I can’t. They were just always around. I grew up in large part on military bases. My father was in the Air Force and comics are a big part of (or at least were in the ’70s) base culture. Everyone read them, everyone trades them at swap meets. It’s just a thing.

There are a few early ones that I remember particularly well. There was one — a Christian comic of some sort, I think it was Al Green — that my grandmother picked up for me at a gas station on a road trip. I remember that one particularly well because that summer with my grandmother, I didn’t have access to very many, I just had a couple comics. So I read that one over and over again, and I started taking it apart — literally cutting the panels apart, sort of rearranging things . . . I tried to copy panels as well. Although I’m not, how you say, a good artist.

TFAW.com: What inspired you to become a writer, and when did you first begin to explore that creative outlet?

DeConnick: Spite, probably? I have a theater degree and was trained as an actor. I have a single ugly breakup in my lifetime, and that was with a writer, and I suspect on some subconscious level I decided, “Oh yeah? I’ll show you.”

TFAW.com: How did you break into the comics industry?

DeConnick's first multi-issue writing gig with Steve Niles in 30 Days of Night: Eben and Stella.DeConnick: Have I broken into the comics industry? This is one of those things . . . I feel like I’ve broken in over and over again. I feel like every gig is a new “breaking in” story.

My first work in comics was writing reviews of comics with Warren Ellis on ARTBOMB.net, and then I moved on to writing the English adaptations of Japanese and Korean comics for TokyoPop and Viz, and I did that for a number of years. And then Steve Niles gave me the opportunity to co-write 30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella with him, so that was my first multi-issue original comic.

I got to work for Marvel as part of the “Women of Marvel” initiative of 2010.

With the exception of anthologies, it has been entirely work-for-hire thus far. I’ll have my first creator-owned book out from Image next year. Everything is a new breaking-into-comics experience.

TFAW.com: Last month, you launched Captain Marvel with Carol Danvers as the eponymous hero. Can you tell us a little about that experience?

Captain Marvel #2 comes out today!DeConnick: The story of that book is really a story of the fan base for Carol Danvers, I think. That has been my good fortune. I got very lucky. I started talking to Steve Wacker at Marvel (my editor on Osborne: Evil Incarcerated) about a Ms. Marvel series back in . . . well, I opened a file for Ms. Marvel in 2010, so we’d been talking for quite some time. The timing wasn’t right for it, but Steve really championed that book — and me. He is a large part of the success of that book. We’re only one issue in, but I’ve been told our launch numbers were better than expected and the outpouring of support from the fan base is absolutely the reason for that. Really, if we had to stop now, I would feel like it was a victory — that someone else would pick up Carol’s torch for her in short order.

TFAW.com: How has your experience been as a female creator in the comics industry?

DeConnick: That is a really hard question for me to answer, because I couldn’t tell you what the experience has been for me as a male in the industry. (laughs) You know what I mean? I often make light of that question. It suggests that somehow I’m typing with my girl parts.

I think that we’re all very lucky to have this job. I think it’s a very hard job to get, and a harder job to keep. I think that as an industry I would like to see us treat our female characters better and I would like to see more women professionals working steadily. I think we’re on our way.

I don’t think it’s easy for anyone. Where I tend to get my dander up is when people suggest that women don’t want to (or shouldn’t want to) read superhero comics — or read comics at all! — or that women who want to work in the industry are statistical anomalies. People who should know better have suggested that the only reason there aren’t more women working on comics is because there aren’t very many women who *want* to work in comics. I call bullshit on that one.

Kelly Sue resurrects Dark Horse's Ghost in a new series starting next month.TFAW.com: What’s your favorite part of telling stories in the sequential arts?

DeConnick: When I’m done! (laughs) Again, this is a great job, and I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but it’s hard work. I go through a rollercoaster of insecurities during the process: “I’m terrible, I’m a hack, I’m never going to get better. I’m so slow, I’m out of time . . . ” All those things pop up. And then you make it through, and then you think, “It’s not so bad.” And you get to the point where you have to turn it in and you say, “I’ll have to do better next time.” And then someone writes you and tells you they liked your book and it made them cry and you think, “Yeah! I can’t wait to do the next one,” and it’s lather, rinse and repeat.

TFAW.com: Your husband is also in the comic book industry. What’s that like?

DeConnick: I’m fond of my husband, as it happens. I think I’ll keep him. As far as our being colleagues — I bounce stuff off of him all the time. They’re usually craft questions rather than story questions, because we’re interested in different stories — we tell different stories. But I could not be a bigger fan of his work. He’s so gifted, and sometimes it makes me horribly, horribly jealous. I know how hard he works, how much stress he’s under, and what level he produces at — and yet he makes it look utterly effortless.

I just recently read a Mark Waid script, it was the first of his I’ve read. I was struck too, with him, at how effortless he makes it seem. And I envy that so much. It’s so amazing. It’s such a testament to their level of their talent and craftsmanship. I look forward to one day (laughs) getting somewhere near that.

TFAW.com: What are three things you think comic book publishers should be doing to attract female readers?

The manga boom is still alive and kicking. Click here to see the hottest upcoming manga at TFAW.DeConnick: I don’t think the female readership is a monolith. I have some ideas about how, as an industry, we can try to make things friendlier to new readers in general — and I do think we have a huge potential audience of new female readers. (The manga boom ought to have dispelled the myth that women won’t read comic/buy comics. They’ll do it, and they’ll pay $10 a pop!) I think that we have a tendency to dismiss not just the female readers, but new readers in general and market only to people who are already reading comics, and I think that when we do that, it’s not really self-sustaining. We’re leaving money on the table. One thing I think helps is more obvious jumping-on points.

TFAW.com: What aspect of comics have you struggled with, as a creator?

DeConnick: The schedule. I think that is the bane of my existence right now. Because we’re a serial format — the train leaves the station every thirty days. The way things tend to get up and running, the turn-around time is breakneck.

Neil Gaiman said something recently about when he’s writing a book, he starts with the first word and puts one after another until he gets to the end of the story, and that’s the first draft. Then he goes back and reworks it so it looks like he knew what he was doing the whole time. That’s the same idea as one of my favorite E.L. Doctorow quotes (and I’m paraphrasing here):

Writing is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make a whole trip that way.

That’s a much more natural process for me — to just kind of dive in and write and see where I end up. Then go back and say, “Oh, if I’m going to need this gun in the third act, I need to make sure it’s there in the first act.” But because of the way that the comic book industry works, you don’t get that much time, and you need to be able to write from an outline and structure it from the beginning. Ideally, I’d be able to write a whole story out, figure it out as I go, and then go back and rework it before any issues ever came out. But that’s just not possible in serial fiction.

TFAW.com: What advice can you give aspiring comic book creators?

DeConnick: Work hard. Make comics. This absolutely attainable. If this is the thing that you want to do, you can absolutely do this. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. Don’t be a jerk to your editors — that’s always a good idea. Work hard, care about what you’re making.

TFAW.com: Who’s work had an influence in your writing?

Kelly Sue and Brian Michael Bendis collaborate on the critically acclaimed Castle graphic novels.DeConnick: Brian Bendis — for his dialogue, in particular. It’s just some of the best in the industry. He’s also not afraid to write very vulnerable books, if that makes sense to anyone. Warren Ellis is just a master in every sense of the word. He understands this craft better on his worst day than I ever will. He’s also hilarious. I think that’s the great secret about him — that he’s a comedy writer. He makes me think while he’s making me laugh.

TFAW.com: Who’s one woman in comics that you admire?

DeConnick: I couldn’t narrow it down to one. Diana Schutz would be huge for me — the stories that woman can tell . . . Gail Simone. I just admire Gail as a human and as a comic creator. I adore Jen Van Meeter. Jen Van Meter, Kathryn Immonen, and Marjorie Liu are all three women who have a certain grace to them that I will never possess, and I admire greatly. Kathryn is elegant on every level. Jen manages to be both fiery and gentle at the same time. She’s one of the most nurturing people I’ve ever met in my life. My shoulders fall three inches whenever I’m in her presence. Marjorie Liu is just classy, I don’t think she and I are the same species. I feel like the mushroom toad girl next to her. She handles all of this with such grace.

TFAW.com: What was the last comic you read?

DeConnick: Jason Aaron’s Incredible Hulk.

Captain Marvel #6 now available for pre-order at TFAW.com!TFAW.com: What projects do you have coming up soon?

DeConnick: I have Ghost from Dark Horse right now with Phil Noto. His work always solicits gasps — he’s amazing. Obviously Captain Marvel with Dexter Soy. He’s astonishingly talented, very epic work. I have a creator-owned book called Pretty Deadly coming out next year from Image with Emma Rios, who was my collaborator on Osborn. I love her work. Castle: Storm Season just went out to the printer, so that should be out soon too — that one is with Ema Lupacchino, who is killer.

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We want to thank Kelly Sue for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat comics with us, it was a great time. Very cool to hear about her first creator-owned book. You can bet that Pretty Deadly will be on our reading list.

SEE OTHER WORK BY KELLY SUE DeCONNICK AT TFAW

Did you pick up Captain Marvel #1? Did you love how fun the issue was? What did you think of the first Castle graphic novel? Let us know below.