You Read These With Your Eyes | October 10th, 2012

Every week, Comics! The Blog goes through the list of new releases and we tell you which comics to plug into your mind hole. Your mileage may vary.

AvX CONSEQUENCES #1 (Marvel Comics)

With the fighting concluded and the universe saved for another year, Marvel’s grand stable of characters regroup before their next big phase of adventures.

On the surface, this series could be dismissed as something ancillary. Many people will skip the “aftermath” series and instead dive right into the next thing. Here, I think skipping the aftermath would be a mistake. For one, there’s a rich vein of emotion still left to explore after the dust has settled on the big battle. For instance, Scott Summers just straight up murdered his mentor. How do people feel about that? How does Scott feel about that? And where do the X-Men go from here? Kieron Gillen will be handling all of those answers – and having just read the second issue of this up on Marvel’s swank retailer app, I have to say, we’re all in for a big treat. The entire issue was basically a conversation had between Wolverine and Cyclops after… well, everything and it was a stunning piece of work. Marvel have kept the events of this first issue under pretty tight lock and key (although that might have been to keep AvX #12 spoilers under wraps) so it’ll be interesting to see what exactly gets covered.

BATMAN #13 (DC Comics)

With this issue, Scott Snyder kicks off his second year of writing the Batman title by bringing back the Joker – who was last seen cutting his face off in the pages of Detective Comics #1 just over a year ago. This issue should be interesting to read. Up until this point, Snyder has been handling himself quite well on the title (and on his previous run on Detective) using new villains. Bringing in an old villain (and one as well known and dangerous as the Joker) should prove to be a treat. Can he nail the big story? And furthermore, what will that story feel like? After all this time, I have extreme faith in Snyder’s abilities, which are matched by artist Greg Capullo, who will be providing the visuals once again, for this issue. And if I remember things properly, this issue sees the return of Jock (one of Snyder’s Black Mirror collaborators) doing some art in the back-up pages. So all around, good reasons to check out this book.


Fall is here once again, and we all know what that means: new Castle! For the past few years, not only have we been given new episodes of Castle, but the show has been doing amazing tie-ins like the Nikki Heat prose novels (which are fantastic reads) and these Derrick Storm graphic novels from Marvel. Once again, Brian Michael Bendis and Kelly Sue DeConnick are on writing duty, and they are joined by Emanuela Lupacchino, who is a super-star in her own right. Hopefully this will be the project that people really, really take notice of her fantastic artistic skills.

SAGA VOL. 1 (Image Comics)

It was one of the biggest bits of comic book news from last year: the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comics! And what’s more, he was bringing Alberta’s own Fiona Staples along for the ride. What resulted was Saga – a fantastic new sci-fi series from Image that’s been exploding off the shelves. It’s funny, smart, action packed, and gorgeous as hell, with some of those amazing, fantastic twists that Vaughan was once known for in the industry. (And yes, he’s still that good.)

This first collection covers the first 6 issues of Saga, including that nice double sized opening salvo. That means you’ll be getting seven issues worth of content for a thin $9.99 or cheaper, depending on where you buy your comics. Pretty awesome, yeah?

UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 (Marvel Comics)

And finally, the start of Uncanny Avengers! This is probably the book that I’m most excited to read this week, as it mixes the over-the-top craziness of Rick Remender with the fantastic art of John Cassaday, who hasn’t done monthly comic work since his run of Astonishing X-Men wrapped with Joss Whedon. If I had to guess at what this book will feel like, I’d probably point to Planetary. Remender definitely brings the big moments like Ellis, and still finds room for bouts of great humour. Although in this, there will probably be a touch less cussing and smoking. Ellis sure does love a cussing smoker. Regardless, this book will be a whole lot of fun, and again, I can not wait to read it.

These are five of the many great books being released this week! You can find the full list of comics being released here. If you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments below.


Podcast! The Comics, Episode 17 – REAL TALK with Kelly Sue DeConnick

We're trouble.

It’s Wednesday once again, which means it’s time to share another conversation we bafflingly put to tape in a new episode of Podcast! The Comics!

This episode is brought to you by Wizard’s Comics, home of the best deal on comics in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Check out their website for a list of the week’s new releases and information on upcoming Magic, The Gathering tournaments, and watch their Twitter account for news and announcements about the shop and its wares.

Episode 17 – REAL TALK with Kelly Sue DeConnick

This week, the boys sit down for a long conversation with one of their very favourite people in the world, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.  What, for reasons unimaginable, starts off as a discussion of Tumblr and James’ field of work eventually turns to Kelly Sue’s upcoming projects: the new Captain Marvel series, Ghost and the latest Castle graphic novel, Richard Castle’s Storm Season, as well as KISS, the nature of art, self-doubt and how making the world a better place requires owning up to your fears and having hard discussions about difficult topics.  It’s a freewheeling, varied conversation that goes from giggling fits to remarkably serious topics, and is all the better for it.

Remember to talk to your comic book shop about pre-ordering Kelly Sue’s new books and also to check out Rappers Doing Normal Shit.  Finally, thanks again to Kelly Sue for being so generous with her time and her kind words.

Find Kelly Sue at, on Tumblr or on Twitter at @KellySue.

Download the episode here or subscribe through iTunes.  If you want to subscribe the old-fashioned way, insert the following text into your audio program of choice (in iTunes, click “Advanced,” then click “Subscribe to Podcast”):

You can also find all the episodes to date on Libsyn’s site here.

As always, check us out on on Twitter at @blogaboutcomics@leask & @soupytoasterson!

C!TB's Best of the Week | October 3rd, 2011


Is there a song about Mondays? I mean other than Manic Monday? For some reason, I want to say that there is, and that I should be quoting it right now to kick off the week. God dammit, this is gonna’ bug me.

Whelp, after a pretty gosh darn stellar weekend (holy shit, that Doctor Who finale!) we’re back to bring you more… things. As always, we’re kicking things off with the BEST for last week. So, uh… let’s get to that.

Just as good as a Latin Grammy!


One of the ways in which The New 52 absolutely succeeded is that it got me checking out some series that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Sure, I’d always heard that Jonah Hex was a great series, and that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray were absolutely killing it on writing duties there and for Power Girl, but for whatever reason I never got around to checking them out.  Probably because I am a deeply broken individual who resists happiness, but that’s for my bottle of bourbon therapist to barely care about, so I wouldn’t trouble yourself too much.


What The New 52 did was get books like this in my hand, where I could discover firsthand that a gothic western buddy cop story about a psychiatrist and a disfigured Confederate soldier-turned-bounty hunter was what was missing from my life.  The first issue of All Star Western sees Hex and Dr. Jeremiah Arkham teaming up to catch a Gotham version of Jack the Ripper (which, to be fair, is probably around half the population of the city) as the age of the Wild West wanes in the 19th century, and it manages to be both funny and also incredibly creepy.  The issue is like a first act of a horror film, and not the kind where a bunch of co-eds get tortured, instead like the kind where there’s suspense and emotion and not just body parts.  As freaked out as the issue made me, I wanted more as soon as I was done reading, and what better recommendation is there?  Just to make sure, I’ll give the issue the Silver Spittoon of Justice. (J)


Can I get real with you for a second? Let’s sit down. Let’s rap. You comfy there, champ? Look, I’m not exactly sure how to start this recommendation without getting into well-intentioned-but-ultimately-alienating-step-dad territory, so I figured I’d just go all in. You’re fine with that, right slugger?

Every now and then Archie Comics will print something that absolutely shouldn’t work, but does. Books that immediately spring to mind are the Archie Meets The Punisher one shot, or the newest Life with Archie series… or even the new Kevin Keller books. As much as I love Archie Comics, they aren’t known for approaching stories with a lighter touch, usually tipping the scales over towards camp than anything else. And… man, this whole paragraph sounds like damning praise, but trust me, that’s not my intent. Archie Comics have been around for decades and they are probably the most successful comic publishing company out there today. Because seriously, do you see Spider-Man digests hanging around every supermarket till? Nope, you sure don’t.

Anyway, getting back on track here – this week in the pages of Archie #625, Alex Simmons and Dan Parent told a story that probably shouldn’t have worked. It starts out with several new members of the Archie-verse teen set noticing a change in Shrill’s character (Shrill being Riverdale’s token goth character). Betty and some of the new kids talk about how she’s been acting a little meaner lately, and set forth to find out exactly what’s wrong. Soon enough they discover the fact that Shrill’s little sister has been diagnosed with cancer. Oh yes, I can hear your eye rolls from here, but please, just go with me on this for a second.

After the gang discovers this information, things click into place fairly swiftly. Shrill (who’s real name is Avalon) is pretty distraught over her sister’s condition, and with the fact that she’ll have to change schools once again. (Granted, she’s much much more concerned with the well being of her younger sister.) In typical Archie fashion, the gang all kicks in to help out this girl and her family, and the results are heartwarming. After all this is an Archie comic book – even when it touches on some of the harder stuff, the ending is usually a happy one. But in this case, it’s tempered with a few fairly brilliant flares of character.

I think the absolute best chracterization in this came from Kaylee, the little girl with cancer. Through out the book, she was probably the person who was taking her dire news the best – and not because she didn’t understand the consequences, but because she knew that if she did this, it would help out her family. It’s a subtle bit of characterization, but one that is absolutely pitch perfect. Having dealt with a bit of cancer within my family, I know that even though the kid might be sick, the thing that sometimes hurts them the most is seeing their family worry about them so much – and so they will go out of their way and do anything they can to try and make their family more at ease, and that shines through beautifully here. And later, there’s even a bit when everyone gets to the Ronald McDonald House in NYC, they don’t portray the place as a solution to all things. It’s treated much like it is: a place that does everything it can to try and make the cancer patients, and their families as comfortable as they can be with the resources available to them. It’s a tough line to walk, between having their feet firmly planted in the Archie universe, where bad things never really happen, and in the psudo-real world where… well, where sometimes people just do things to cope, but the storytellers walk it well. Which is why I give this book the Geraldine Grundy Memorial Award for just… being pretty gosh darn amazing. (B)

Better than alllll the rest

I don’t think it is a secret that I watch far too much TV.  Hell, I’m watching iCarly right now and it’s 2:30 in the dang morning because I had a nap earlier and now my sleep schedule is messed up.  The point is, I deeply love television and I spend a good portion of my free time enjoying the shows I love.

One of my favourite shows is Castle.  In another life, I tried my hand at reviewing the third season until I realized I wasn’t really suited for taking a critical eye to the show every week because there were only so many ways I could say, ‘This show is just having so much fun, these are the parts I liked,” every week.  I was just more suited to loving the show and getting as much of it as I possibly could.  So when I heard that one of the titular protagonist’s fictional novels was going to be “adapted” into a graphic novel written by two of my favourite writers, Brian Michael Bendis and Kelly Sue DeConnick, I might have flipped the hell out.

I see what you did there.

I’m generally skeptical of cross-promoting or anything that could be described as “synergy”, but ultimately the only true arbiter is the quality of the works themselves, and Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm: A Derrick Storm Mystery is a fantastic story and a great read.  Of course, with the talents of Bendis and DeConnick – two of the finest writers in the comic industry today – as well as the art of Lan Medina, that’s not exactly surprising.  “Oh, these awesome people made something that is awesome, just like the other awesome things they are always delighting me with” sounds less shocking than I originally heard it in my head.

Castle and ABC have actually been pretty great for striking the right tone with the Richard Castle books they’ve put out.  The Nikki Heat novels surprised me with how great they are as crime/thriller novels and with Deadly Storm, Bendis and DeConnick have made something that absolutely feels like a great comic adaptation of a book that launched a multimillion dollar franchise and Richard Castle’s career.  It’s not just a great espionage story with all the right wisecracks and action, it absolutely feels like a giant, tentpole work that millions of people could and do love.  In the TV show, “Derrick Storm” is the character that launched Castle’s career, and Deadly Storm was the book that did it.  Reading the “adaption” of it?  I absolutely believe that this is a giant franchise, because it’s awesome on a giant scale.  It’s a smart, exciting summer blockbuster in a comic, and if they wanted to keep these books coming out (with Bendis and DeConnick, of course) I would gladly keep giving them money every year for as long as they’ll let me.

I hope this book finds its way into the hands of fans of the TV series, because they will absolutely love it and there are millions of them, including Kelly Sue herself.  The fact that it’s a “Castle tie-in” is just how the book can get its foot in the audience’s doors.  Behind the label, it’s intelligent and absolutely hilarious story.  It’s got twists and turns that will surprise you.  It’s got characters you can root for.  It’s some of the most fun I’ve had reading a comic in ages and I want more of it right now. (J)

This is Comics! The Blog. We now commence our broadcast week.

You Read These With Your Eyes! – September 28th, 2011

Hellooooo, nurse!

Every week, Comics! The Blog goes through the list of new releases and we tell you which comics to plug into your mind hole. Your mileage may vary.

HABIBI GN (Pantheon)

I have no idea what this book is about, nor do I have a desire to find out before it hits my hands.

Buying a book like this can be dangerous. Not in a “that girl is” kind of way, more like in a monetary way. But here’s the thing. Even before this book was announced, this money was spent. From the strength of Blankets and Goodbye, Chunky Rice alone, I was going to drop money on this book and honestly? When you work in a comic book store, there’s very little left that can honestly surprise you. If you’re any good at this job, you know where books are going. You’ve read the solicits, you’ve been drinking in the gossip, following interviews, what-have-you, and at the end of the day, when you finally get to read some of these books, some of the wonder is gone.

So with this book and a few others, I’ve made a conscious decision to pretty much ignore all of it. The solicitation text, the interviews, the whatever. The only reason why I know the vague concept is because over the course of eight years (the amount of time between Blankets and now) you always manage hearing something.

Anyway, I can’t tell you a thing about this book, other than it was made by Craig Thompson and that it will be good. If that’s enough to sell you (and for some people, hearing the name Craig Thompson will) then awesome. Go out and buy this book! If not, you can be damn sure there will be something substantial up on this site by the end of the week.

ARCHIE #625 (Archie Comics)

No, this is not the issue where Archie and the gang meet the rock band Kiss. Nor is it the one where Kevin Keller gets married. Often times (especially when it comes to Archie Comics) we’ll get people coming into the store asking for these books way in advance because… well, it was on the news, so it must be out. Usually, it would be nice to have a few copies on hand, because most of these people never come back when the comic book actually ships… but that’s a little beside the point.

Along the same lines as those future offerings, this issue features a special story in which one of the recently introduced “new kids” to Riverdale attempts to cope when her little sister is diagnosed with cancer. Seems a little heavy for an Archie Comic, yeah? But lately, the company has been doing some great work dealing with some heavier issues, and this issue should be no exception. I usually buy pretty much every Archie product that hits the stands these days, and I’m not even kidding when I tell you that this is a book that you should watch out for tomorrow. If recent stories are any indication, they will handle this with a subtly that might surprise you. Plus, it’s always good to stop in and check on the ol’ gang every now and then.

BRILLIANT #1 (Marvel Comics/Icon)

Bendis offers a new creator owned option this week, and he’s bringing along superstar artist Mark Bagley along for the ride! As good as their mainstream books are, I’m going to go right ahead and say that this will be something special. I know that both Bendis and Bagley bring their all when they create comics, but there’s always something about creator owned work that tends to hit a bit harder. Writers and artists can take more risks and start and stop a story whenever they like to. They can introduce characters and kill them off and just go wherever the story takes them without having to follow the lines of logic within a larger shared universe. In this series, we’re gonna find out what happens when some college kids have a go at creating superpowers in a world without. Sounds crazy enough to work!


I don’t know about all of you? But we here at Comics! The Blog HQ are pretty excited about this release. Not only is it a clever tie-in to one of our favourite TV shows (starring the formerly local Nathan Fillion) but it also features writing by the extravagant and effervescent Kelly Sue DeConnick. She’s co-writing the book with Brian Michael Bendis and is a huge fan of the show, so there’s gonna’ be a lot of love in this book. Which is great! Now, is it too early for us to hope for another volume next year?

FINDER LIBRARY VOL. 2 (Dark Horse Comics)

Have you read Finder yet? Maybe you have and you didn’t notice? After all, Carla Speed McNeil has been doing some fantastic Finder stories in the page of the new Dark Horse Presents series.

If you haven’t you really need to fix that. With this volume everything that comprises of the sprawling low-key sci-fi epic is in print from Dark Horse and dammit, it’s a fantastic book that you just REALLY need to get inside your brain.

These are just five of the many great books being released this week! You can find the full list of comics being released here. If you have any other recommendations, let us know in the comments below.

Interview: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Warning: She WILL cut you.
Photo by Doug Hesse

Interview: Kelly Sue DeConnick

Just who is Kelly Sue DeConnick?

She writes comics!  Great ones!  Like Sif and Rescue one-shots, or her Osborn: Evil Incarcerated miniseries!  This week brings the end of her three-issue arc on Supergirl, and on September 28th Castle: Richard Storm’s Deadly Storm, based on the wonderful TV series Castle and co-written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Lan Medina, will be released.  Order it now!

Besides writing comics, she used to translate manga into English!  All of a sudden, I have the urge to read over a dozen volumes of a basketball manga series!

She’s married!  To fellow comics writer Matt Fraction!  They have two children!

Back in July, she raised a metric poopload of money for an awesome cause: Women for Women International’s programs in the Congo!

But enough exclamation points, it’s time for QUESTIONS.


C!TB: What are your favourite things you’re reading these days?  It can be anything – books, comics, magazines, etc.

Kelly Sue:  Nonfiction-wise, I’m reading Mercury 13 and Promised the Moon, both about the women of the early astronaut program.  Excellent, excellent, heartbreaking story.  Mercury 13 is particularly well-written.

And I just got an Amazon gift card that I think I’m going to use for the kindle edition of Mind in the Making – a book my son’s school recommends.

Comics-wise, I’m reading Guggenheim and Chaykin’s Blade run—loving the structure.  I think I was six issues or so in before I saw the big picture.  Disciplined crafting—and holy shit, the covers!  What else?  Making my way through the Dr. Strange essentials in preparation for Fraction’s Defenders…which, by the by, is going to blow the top of your head clean off.  Let’s see… right here on my desk today is Jen Van Meter’s Cinnamon: El Ciclo—a title I would not even know about had John Siuntres not mentioned it during our last Wordballoon interview.  I’m hoping to start that today.

I just picked up some American Vampire and Batman Detective because I’ve heard really good things about Scott Snyder.  Really looking forward to those.

What else have I got laying about here… Jon Hickman’s Red Wing (which didn’t really hook me until the last page of the first issue, but once he got me, he got me good), Emma Rios & Nick Spencer’s Cloak & Dagger—which is PAINFUL for me to read, because I’m so crazy about Emma and I seethe with jealousy that she’s working with Nick… who I’m sure is lovely, but I kind of want to get hit by a bus, in the way that you wish horrible fates on your girlfriend’s new boyfriends.  Lucky for Nick, John Boehner and my own karma, I don’t happen to be psychokinetic, so I can give in to my baser instincts a little without actually risking anyone’s neck.

I wish I was reading a novel right now, but I haven’t had time.  I have an ARC of Maria Dahvana Headley’s Queen of Kings by my bed that I haven’t gotten to read yet and the book is already out!  What fun is an ARC if the book is out, I ask you??

Every once in a while I stroke it lovingly.

C!TB: I totally understand the ARC thing; I got an ARC of Alice Bradley & Eden Kennedy’s humour book Let’s Panic About Babies!: How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant Who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain, and Finally Turn You into a Worthwhile Human Being and so far it just sits on the shelf (on top of a Saved By the Bell comic Brandon found me).  It taunts me, though every time I have a chance to pick it up, it sends me into fits of laughter.  I absolutely recommend it, even if that’s just adding to your pile.

Kelly Sue: I love the title!  Have you read Happiest Baby on the Block?  I highly recommend that one if you’ve got an infant.  Though, honestly, you can just rent the DVD and get all the fundamentals.

C!TB: Neither of us at C!TB have children – I follow Alice Bradley’s writing, which is how I found her book – but I’m sure some of our readers are or will be soon, so I’m happy to pass it along!  Recently, I’ve been digging into A Game of Thrones on friends’ recommendations.  Have you checked out Grant Morrison’s Supergods yet?  I keep it on my desk at home to spur me to read faster so I can get to it.  The blurbs and excerpts I’ve read so far definitely make it sound like it’s a must-read for anyone who wants to talk about superhero comics ever again.

Kelly Sue: I haven’t read Supergods.  My favorite excerpt I’ve run across is the one about how a “prolific and popular comics writer could make the same amount [$20,000] in a week.”

Bless his heart, Mr. Morrison lives in a very different universe from ANYONE else I know… Except maybe Neil Gaiman.  Who could absolutely bring in that sum in a week, but wouldn’t do it writing comics.


C!TB: Your take on Norman Osborn was one that we don’t see as often as we do his more supervillainous side.  How did you approach the character?

Kelly Sue: Carefully and from behind…?

Sorry.  That was awful.

Um… hm.  I’m not sure I know how to answer that question.  I guess I thought I was writing the same Osborn that Bendis wrote, the same Osborn that Ellis wrote in Thunderbolts…?  That was my intention anyway. If it didn’t work, I don’t want to know.

C!TB: Oh, it absolutely worked.  The Osborn you wrote is definitely identifiable as the same Osborn that Bendis and Ellis wrote.  I don’t know if it was your dialogue, the setting (no superheroes), Emma’s genius art, or a combination thereof, though, but this was the first incarnation of the character that absolutely truly scared me.  And kudos for that!

Kelly Sue: Aw, thanks man.  That warms my heart…which makes me a weirdo, I think.  But still.

C!TB: From Osborn, you went to something quite tonally different with Supergirl, which is so lovingly indebted to 80s teen movies.  What would “Kelly Sue’s Must Watch 80s Teen Movie Extravaganza” consist of?

Kelly Sue: Ohhhh, hm. Probably the same movies as everyone else, but let’s go… Off the top of my head, in no particular order, some of which are not really teen movies…

  • The Last Starfighter
  • Tremors
  • Goonies
  • Real Genius
  • Night of the Comet
  • Who’s that Girl?
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Heathers
  • The Lost Boys
  • Some Kind of Wonderful
  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • The Hidden
  • The Princess Bride

C!TB: I’m especially glad to see The Princess Bride on there!  It’s definitely one of my favourite movies, which makes it even more maddening that my office hires an intern every year and I’m just going into a third year sharing an office with a university student who either doesn’t it like or hasn’t seen it.    One didn’t even know who Peter Falk and Columbo were!

Kelly Sue: WHAT?!

Have you seen Wings of Desire?  (Most pretentious thing I’ve said today, btw.  Course it’s only 11:40 am here, so there’s still time.)

C!TB: I haven’t seen Wings of Desire yet, but seeing as how I have seen the Goo Goo Dolls’ video for “Iris,” which was on the soundtrack for the English-language adaptation City of Angels, I feel like I’ve seen the original already.

Kelly Sue: I… I… I…

C!TB: Now that I’ve given you a minor stroke, I’ll alleviate your worries of being pretentious by giving an even worse example: in university, I wrote not one but two papers about Disney fairy tale movies, including one where I compared the narrative structure of Aladdin to that of the original story in The Thousand and One Nights, complete with some Michel Foucault and Northrop Frye literary theory.  I also wrote on noir cinematography and detective pulp conceits, but that was just fun.  Ah, the life of a liberal arts student.  I’ll have to check out the few on your list that I haven’t seen.

Kelly Sue: So jealous.  I went the fine arts route. (I did audit a class on the cultural construction of the vampire, taught by a guy named Gudni, who was white as snow and wore black turtlenecks every day… in Texas.) Which ones haven’t you seen?

C!TB: On your list, I think I’ve seen everything except Night of the Comet, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Hidden.  

Kelly Sue: Man, I hope The Hidden holds up.  Here’s the opening car chase.

C!TB: Some of the others like Who’s That Girl? are far back in my metaphorical rear view mirror, but I remember seeing them way back in the mists of time.  Growing up in the 90s, however, has gifted me with a deep and abiding love for any kind of teen comedy from that era, from Empire Records to Can’t Hardly Wait (common thread?  Ethan Embry) with 10 Things I Hate About You making it just before the decade’s clock rolled over.

Kelly Sue: I had to look Embry up on IMDB.  (Sorry.)  You know he was on a TV series called Fear Itself?

C!TB: I didn’t!  Considering my deep and abiding love of both Embry and Marvel’s blockbuster summer event, I’m calling that kismet.

Back to Supergirl, how much did the recent authors’ storylines for the series impact how you pitched your arc?  

Kelly Sue: A good bit, I guess.  I was mostly trying to find a way to stay true to the established character and at the same time distinguish myself from what had already been done.


C!TB: You’ve mentioned that Brian Bendis wrote the first 30 pages of the Castle/Derrick Storm OGN and you did the scripting for the rest of the book from Brian’s plan.  How much freedom did you have in the parts of the book you scripted?  What was (or still is) the back-and-forth and editing process of that like?

Kelly Sue: Brian was really great and gave me tons of freedom.  Maybe he’ll regret it when the book comes out, but for the most part, he read my pages as I turned them in and okay’d them.

C!TB: Does one of you “lead” the art review process or is it a team effort?

Kelly Sue: Because of some scheduling hijinks, I didn’t actually see pages as they came in–I’m not sure if Brian did either.  Long story, but that was handled on this book by our fabulous and capable editors.

C!TB: Is it different at all writing a favourite comic book property than it is a TV property?  What are other dream properties – TV, comics or other – you’d like to tackle some day?

Kelly Sue: Modesty Blaise.  But that’s the dream of me and half the universe.  The half that doesn’t want to write James Bond, I think.

And I’m not sure it was any different, honestly.  I guess… I had an actor solidly in my head, but… I’m not sure that made a real difference in the writing process.

The only thing that was really any different for me process-wise between, say, Castle and Osborn, was that I was trying to be an active student of Brian’s for Castle.  So, like, there’s a two page spread where I’m clearly aping his style.  And I am not as comfortable with internal monologue caption boxes as Brian is, so I had to consciously choose to use them so it didn’t seem like Storm’s inner voice suddenly went must after page 30.

C!TB: Did you learn anything specifically from being a student of Brian’s?

Kelly Sue: He is a master of the double-page spread and I am a chicken shit.  Does that qualify as a lesson?

C!TB: Of course!  Looking at other writers’ work and being ashamed of your own is simply a fact of life, or at least I’m telling myself that to save my own ego.  It’s like that Ira Glass quote that’s going around these days about how persistence and art consumption/taste are basically the only ways you become any good.

Kelly Sue: Is the Ira Glass thing going around?  Is there, like, a recording or a written piece?  [Ed Note: Yes, there isI had coffee with Wil Wheaton on Monday and he told me about it (Can we just stop here for a moment and acknowledge what a name-dropper I am? Yeah… I had coffee with my buddy Wil on Monday… If the Wings of Desire bit didn’t make you hate me, that ought to do it.) — I don’t remember how we got to it.  Something about… I dunno… beginner’s mind, maybe?  I think we were talking about strengths and weaknesses in our own work and the patience and perspective it takes to just trust that you’ll improve and… not be content with with where you are exactly, but not to waste too much energy lamenting it.  I guess being content with where you are in your evolution isn’t such a bad way of phrasing it.

Anyway, I was saying that I’d written more than ten thousand pages of manga adaptation dialogue before I got my first American comics gig.  So I’m pretty confident in my ability to craft dialogue.  I’ve put ten thousand pages in that pit, you know? And then I think Wil told me about Ira Glass and “the gap,” which is, I gather, the same idea, only less ham-fisted in its articulation.

I should google it, huh?

My pacing and plotting gaps still hunger for pages, I’m afraid.

C!TB: Care to tell the Derrick Storm actor you had in your head, or would you prefer to keep that private so it doesn’t influence readers’ impressions while reading?

Kelly Sue: Nathan Fillion!  C’mon.

C!TB: I’m kicking myself over not immediately thinking of that.  I’m really hoping something like that comes up in the series, as a fun meta joke.  I can’t remember, but I think you’ve said before (maybe on Word Balloon) that the comic itself will come up in the series.  Will it be credited on-air to you and Brian?  Will you be involved in anything past the actual making of the comic or will that be it?

Kelly Sue: Not me.  I think Brian might have a thing happening, but I’m certain I shouldn’t expound on that.


C!TB: With so much being said about DC’s relaunch, its lacking of female creators & other issues of gender and diversity, we’re trying to take positive approach.  What can readers do to affect change?

Kelly Sue: I love you dearly.  Truly, I do.  i like your website, your twitter feed and your sense of humor.  I believe that you want to help.  I adore you for wanting to be positive.

But if anyone else asks me about being a woman in the comic industry this week I’m going to pop their eyes out with a heroin spoon.

Don’t make me take your eyes, James.  They’re beautiful eyes.  Let’s leave them right where they belong.

C!TB: Absolutely understood!  I’m definitely trying to keep my remaining working eye (long story), so I’ll do my best not to deserve the spoon.  I definitely understand not wanting to talk about it more for the time being, so my apologies for not guessing that before I asked.

Kelly Sue: You only have one working eye?!  Well now I feel like a heel for threatening the other.

Are you actually blind in one eye?  My friend Jane is blind in one eye–she was born with one blue eye and one brown.  She’s like a gorgeous version of David Bowie… though, honestly, David Bowie is a gorgeous version of David Bowie, isn’t he?

Anyway.  Your eye is safe.  In the future I will threaten your thumbs or something.

(Really, I just… it’s complicated, right?  Diversity needs to be discussed.  But not, right now, by me.)

C!TB: I am actually blind in one eye.  Childhood, “mild” hit to the head, partially detached retina, glaucoma, yadda yadda yadda.  Long story short, my tennis game is not particularly good for much other than my opponent’s laughs.  I didn’t get any of the cool Bowie-ness, sadly.

Kelly Sue: Let’s just pretend you’re Odin. Wait, does that work if you still have the eye?

You might have to cough up the eye.


C!TB: What is your workday like?  Do you and Matt both work from home or in the same office?

Kelly Sue: We both work from home but we have separate offices.

Summer schedule:

I get up with the kids, generally around 6:30/7:00.  We hang out until around 9, when the sitter arrives.  When Fraction wakes up varies wildly, depending on when he went to bed.  Once Beth arrives I, take my coffee and go down to my desk.  If it’s a good, orderly week, I have blocks of time chopped out for various projects, if it’s not, I’m in panic mode. I usually start with email and try to set a time limit for myself so I don’t get stuck.

At 5pm, we knock off, send Beth home and play with the kids.  I usually make dinner.  After dinner, we have some family time (hello, dance party!) then Fraction gives them their baths while I clean the kitchen.  Story time, then bed. I go to sleep with the kids, Fraction goes back to work.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

C!TB: What dishes have you been enjoying cooking lately?  I’ve recently been dipping my toes into the world of pan-seared meats and homemade ice cream.  Last weekend I made a saskatoon berry chutney without a recipe that really surprised me with how good it was.

Kelly Sue: I love you for saying saskatoon.

Let’s see… I made some blueberry frozen yogurt and coconut crumble the other day.  That was pretty great.  I just a few minutes ago put some chicken breasts in the crock pot with onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, cilantro, ginger, coconut milk and broth.  I was just kind of throwing stuff in… no idea if this’ll turn out.  We might be ordering pizza–who knows?

(My confidence is waning a bit because I made some marshmallows over the weekend that weren’t very good.  And I took them to a party where a couple of teenaged girls tried to hide that they were throwing away the ones they’d bitten.  I wanted to chase after them and explain that I’d used the wrong pot and I couldn’t get the sugar to the right temp without it boiling over, consequently they were on too long too low… I came to my senses and decided just to live with the failure.)

C!TB: Don’t feel bad, I wouldn’t even attempt marshmallows; recipes always make them sound so finicky.  I’m scared of making/ruining candy in general – I really only make orangettes at Christmastime, since it’s only moderately easy to set my apartment on fire while candying orange peels.  Candy making is not for me and I admire you for even trying.

Kelly Sue: Given my recent failure, you’re not going to believe me when I say this, but they’re not that hard.

C!TB: I don’t!  Truthfully, I stick to savoury dishes more than sweet ones; I’ll make galettes now and again, or a pavlova with some jam, but roasts, savoury tarts, biscuits and vegetables (I make a mean layered ratatouille) are my wheelhouse.  I also made pea pesto for the last time last night, which I am bragging about because I spent too long shucking peas last night to not be at least a little proud of myself.

Kelly Sue: Oh, I hear you.  Have you ever made anything with fresh fava beans? They’re awesome, but you have to peel them TWICE.

C!TB:  I haven’t, and I don’t mean to point fingers, but you might have ensured I never do.  Actually, I’m really looking forward to making that lamb recipe that was in Casanova and posting the process and results as an article on the site when Avaritia comes out, under the CASANOVANAUTS banner.

Kelly Sue: Sweet.  Did you submit a letter for the new letters column?  You totally should.

C!TB: It’s been sitting open on my home computer for a few days now.  It might be a tad unseemly to just write, in all caps, “THANK YOU YOUR COMIC IT HAS BEEN A MASSIVE INFLUENCE ON ME I RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE I CAN,” you know?  I’ll figure something out.

Kelly Sue: Matt and I used to cook together more.  I miss that.  We should do that again.  With the kids, one of us is on baby duty while the other one is preparing the meal – save for once or twice a year when we make a Timpano.  The last two of those have been rushed though.

Wahwah.  Look at me with my beautiful happy family and dream job!  Don’t you feel sorry for me that we don’t get to cook together like we used to??

::sad trombones::


C!TB: Some creators have mentioned that having children has had a big effect on their writing, in terms of the projects they take and how they tackle the actual subject matter – like gender and violence.  Have you noticed this with yourself?

Kelly Sue: It’s certainly affected what media I consume.  I used to love salacious violence–true crime crap.  Guilty pleasure.  I can’t stomach it anymore. And I get pissed when people use violence against animals or children (or rape) as a lazy writing device.  I did it myself once (I killed a dog to show that a villain was Really Bad) and I haaaate myself for it. It’s shit writing and there’s no excuse.

C!TB: I had a similar experience with crime procedural shows.  I spent two years working at an inpatient treatment program for convicted sex offenders and, while I learned all sorts of incredible skills and things about my own capabilities, it pretty much took away my ability to enjoy any true crime or crime procedural and absolutely destroyed my ability to stomach any kind of fictionalized sexual violence.  I never liked it, but now Law & Order: SVU will send me out of a room faster than anything.   

Kelly Sue: Oh… oh my god.

Holy shit.

I simultaneously want to pick your brain and beg you to never tell me a single thing.  Are you… okay?  Jesus.

I kind want to feed you spaghetti now.

C!TB: Don’t worry, I’m okay.  It’s definitely an intense work environment and they actually hired me afterwards to design some research on what kind of effects (“vicarious traumatization”) those environments could potentially have, but the combination of tremendous and supportive coworkers, necessary black humour and a long commute home really helped.  It was a great experience working there, but a few years of no longer having to hear firsthand descriptions of some of the worst things people can do to one another has definitely been good.  But yeah, needless to say, there are a lot of TV shows and movies that have become off-limits for me.  

Should you ever have any questions, feel free to ask me; I’ll answer as much as I am legally allowed to divulge.  And I’ll always accept spaghetti.

Kelly Sue: Okay.

Can I mail spaghetti?


C!TB: You’ve said a dream project of yours is a 70s-style revenge western comic done with Emma Rios.  First, please make this happen, we want to buy this.  

Kelly Sue: Well… okay.


C!TB: Finally, a C!TB tradition: Will you adopt us?

Kelly Sue: Yes. But you have to share a room.

C!TB: I call top bunk.


Wasn’t that great?  Talking to Kelly Sue was definitely just about the best thing this site has ever led to me doing, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to run around the office pumping my fists in the air for a minute.

While I’m doing that, check out Kelly Sue’s author page at (Americans, go here ; Europeans?  Work for it) and buy everything you can.  Just clean them out.  Should you want to empty the shelves at a physical store, visit your local comic book shop and remember to ask them to save you a copy of Castle: Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm on September 28th.

This isn’t an option.