DeConnick, Amanat Discuss Building Relationships on the Page

deconnick-amanatRecently, comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and editor Sana Amanat joined the Creators Workshop Book Club to discuss Captain Marvel, a monthly ongoing from Marvel Comics.

Captain Marvel tells the story of Carol Danvers, ace pilot and legendary avenger. One of the book’s greatest strengths is a rich supporting cast, and Carol’s complex and often endearing relationships with the people around her. During the session, DeConnick talked about how she develops these relationships, and the organic nature of her writing process.

captain-marvel-tpb“I don’t plan as much out beforehand as I should or as I would like to,” DeConnick said. “A lot of it tends to come up in the writing.”

She added that one of the few planned relationships in the book is possible love interest Frank Gianelli. But even there, DeConnick said, their relationship is developing on the page, as she writes.

“I wanted to bring Gianelli back because I loved him in the original series,” DeConnick said. She noted that he represents a certain kind of “70’s dude,” similar to Wonder Woman’s Steve Trevor, who was “so much a part of my growing up and my experience with comics.”

“So I dressed him up and put some cologne on him and put him out there,” DeConnick said. “And I don’t know if there’s any chemistry between them. It’s like an arranged marriage. I keep waiting to see if sparks are gonna fly. They’re taking their time.”

“It’s a very natural way of telling a story,” Amanat noted. “I think that’s why it works so well. Obviously there’s a lot of planning, but sometimes you don’t figure out the subtlety of certain characters and certain relationships until it’s on the page.”

captain-marvel-09DeConnick said she’s especially glad that the book is able to showcase a number of Carol’s female relationships, often with friends and mentors a generation or two older than her.

“I think both in Hollywood and in publishing, and just culturally, we have a tendency to make women over sixty disappear,” DeConnick said. “So I wanted them to be present.

Many of Carol’s relationships are showcased in issue #9 of the series, which Amanat described as “sort of hitting the reset button, to bring in more readers and introduce readers to the daily life of Carol. We wanted to show everyone the world that she lives in, and the relationships around her and her character.”

Amanat said that this issue was also a good example of Marvel’s overall desire to show the human side of superheroes.

“We want to know what they like for breakfast, and if they drink their coffee black,” Amanat said. “They’ll be punching a dinosaur a few pages later, and we need to know if they’ve had their caffeine.”

Other topics discussed included:

  • How Amanat and DeConnick got into comics;
  • The development process for Captain Marvel;
  • Crafting the first arc of Captain Marvel;
  • Balancing multiple artists on the title;
  • The challenge of keeping Danvers’ character consistent with other titles.

DeConnick has worked in the comic book industry for the last decade, writing comics for Marvel such as Osborn: Evil Incarcerated, Rescue, and Sif, as well as Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, with co-writer Brian Michael Bendis, for Marvel & ABC. ¬†She also has adapted many manga titles into English, including the English scripts for Kare First Love, Black Cat, Sexy Voice and Robo, and Blue Spring. She lives in Portland with her husband, writer Matt Fraction, and their kids.

Amanat was an editor at Virgin Comics, before joining Marvel Comics to edit their “Ultimates” line in 2009.

Recently, she has edited Marvel titles such as Hawkeye, Castle, Dark Tower, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimate Comics Iron Man, and Ultimate Comics Ultimates as well as Captain Marvel. She was educated at Columbia University and resides in New York City.

Creators Workshop sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career.

There’s still plenty of time to sign up before the next session. We hope to see you there.

– Posted by Paul Allor