Three years ago, most comic book readers wouldn't have heard of Kelly Sue DeConnick.
Today, she's a big enough name in the industry to be invited to the Brisbane Writers Festival. But like virtually all ‘overnight successes’, there was nothing too rapid about DeConnick’s rise — long before she was writing top titles like 'Avengers Assemble' and 'Captain Marvel' for Marvel Comics, she cut her teeth adapting countless manga volumes for US publishers.
“I edited or adapted more than 11,000 pages of dialogue before I moved to primarily doing my own work,” DeConnick explains. “It made me very dialogue focused and gave me a perspective on the visuals of language — similar, I suspect, to what an apprentice letterer might pick up.”
Since her focus shifted to her own scripts, DeConnick has worked with some of the industry's most talented artists (most notably Emma Rios, with whom DeConnick is developing a creator-owned project, 'Pretty Deadly'). Each collaboration has its own challenges and rewards.
“Pages NEVER come back exactly as I imagined them,” DeConnick says. “For one thing, I don't really imagine pages as a whole (rare for a comic writer, I'm told, but true). I sort of feel and hear my way through a page. Visuals are my partner's job. I do my best to give them what they need from me and then get out of the way. So, yes, pages are always a certain surprise and that's part of the joy of this process.”
At the moment, DeConnick's fans have multiple opportunities to enjoy her work each month — a state of affairs they should probably enjoy while it lasts.
“I'm too slow,” DeConnick laments. “I've gotten faster over the last year, but I don't know that I'm getting faster fast enough. I may end up having to leave monthly comics for that very reason. There are people who can produce four to six scripts a month and keep the quality up. For whatever reason, I am not one of them.
“The only thing that gives me any comfort there is that several other of my favorite comic book writers have had the same issue and gone on to do interesting things.”
Kelly Sue DeConnick appears at the Brisbane Writers Festival from Friday Sep 6 to Sunday Sep 8.