The Marvel Universe has its fair share of protectors — especially when it comes to the Earth. But Carol Danvers, the title character of “Captain Marvel” by Kelly Sue DeConnick, takes responsibility for the entire cosmos as the current Avengers representative in outer space.
That doesn’t mean Carol will neglect her obligations to her friends back on Earth, though. In “Captain Marvel” #10, a special milestone issue celebrating Carol Danvers’ 100th appearance as a solo character, DeConnick and artists David Lopez, Marcio Takara and Laura Braga kick off a two-part holiday inspired arc that checks back in with Carol’s earthbound friends and associates.
CBR News spoke with DeConnick about the issue, the inspiration for the rock opera homage issue that preceded it and what sort of dangerous confrontations await Captain Marvel when she heads back into space with issue #12.
CBR News: Kelly Sue, I wanted to start off by talking about “Captain Marvel” #9, which was a unique and fun rock opera style issue guest-starring intergalactic teleporting mutant rock star, Lila Cheney. How did this issue come about? What inspired it?
Kelly Sue DeConnick: David [Lopez] is a huge X-Men fan and he was looking to draw an X-book when he was offered “Captain Marvel.” So he had to be talked into it. It’s been great and we’ve really loved working together, but he has a real soft spot for X-Men characters. I want my artist to be happy! [Laughs] So I ask them who they’d like to draw and see if I can make that work. He requested Lila Cheney. I was like, “Wow! Let me see what I can do.”
I did some research and I got really smitten with this little tidbit about Lila that when she was a kid she couldn’t control her powers very well. So she’d pop off on these intergalactic adventures and come home and tell her parents about them. They thought she was making up stories.
Matt [Fraction] has a story about a friend of his who was traveling internationally and the kid promised his sister in marriage to someone. It’s now become a joke for that family, “Oh, that bill is going to come due at some point.” So I was thinking about that and the idea that Lila had gone off and had a children’s story style adventure. I was thinking about “Free to be You and Me: Princess Atalanta” and another book that my daughter has called “Princess Smartypants” that kind of plays with gender stereotypes in prince and princess stories.
That’s where I was going with all of that and I decided that I wanted to flip it so it was this prince who was in this marriage pickle. I was having fun with that and David started designing all of these characters to look like they had come out of an ’80s rock opera. I loved that so much that I rewrote the script to rhyme after the art came in because I felt like that underscored the playfulness and musicality of what he was drawing, although I didn’t have time to do it in proper meter.
Carol wasn’t the only one who became embroiled in Lila Cheney’s rock opera style adventure in “Captain Marvel” #9. Her travelling companion Tic was right by her side. What inspired Tic’s creation?
Tic was created in an issue of “Avengers Assemble” that Jen Van Meter and I co-wrote. There’s a child that is one of the survivors of the Builder War and she doesn’t speak English at that point. She’s with a caregiver on the Behemoth Ringworld and Jessica Drew is trying to find a toy for her. She wants a pony and all Jessica can find for her is a squid.
So that little girl is Tic. I really liked the idea of seeing her again and I knew I wanted to write about these refugee communities. Tic was a refugee that I had a face for.
One of the interesting things about Tic is that she refuses to let Carol, who has tried to drop her off on other worlds twice now, push her away. Does Carol have a tendency to isolate herself?
Oh yeah, she’s an alcoholic. Every person that Carol lets into her life is an opportunity for her to let someone down. She has a big heart and she loves big, but that makes her vulnerable as well.
Plus she’s always trying to make decisions about what’s best for other people. Even if that comes from a good place, it’s not for her to decide that. I think we all do that. I think we all try to protect the ones we love by making decisions for them. When they’re children that’s okay, but there’s a certain point at which those are not your calls to make. Carol has to let people care about her and I think that’s a very human condition.
Also it’s hard with Tic because she looks like a child, but the alien race she comes from doesn’t live long. So even though she looks like a child, she’s well into adulthood in the course of her living. It’s tempting for Carol to treat her like a kid because she looks like a kid and she acts like one. She’s very exuberant. She doesn’t live that long though. So you have to let her make those choices.
I assume Tic will be part of “Captain Marvel” #10, which picks up from the cliffhanger of issue #9 that had Carol discovering one of her friends was in deep trouble.
We’re checking back in with some of our supporting cast on Earth in #10-11. Tic appears in #10, but Kit is much more prominent. So readers of the 2012 “Captain Marvel” series will be very invested in issues #10-11.
“Captain Marvel” #10 seems like a journey through both time and space in that it celebrates Carol’s 100th issue as a solo protagonist.
Yeah, my first instinct was to do sort of a clip show because I wanted to revisit her history. [Laughs] Then on further examination, I decided the thing that was important was the effect she had on different people’s lives. So we go with her back to Earth to see how everyone is doing in her absence.
We play a little bit with the set ups of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.” They’re both holiday and Winter Solstice stories about the examination of one’s life. They’re about the effects that you have on other people. One is the effects of a good man and one is the effects of a bad man. Carol obviously is not Scrooge.
So we’re playing with those ideas and Lila is sort of in the role of Marley or Clarence. In my first draft, I wanted to have Lila with her the whole time, but I couldn’t make it work. So Lila ends up sending Carol on this journey, which she experiences on her own.
I think the story holds together well and is a great Carol story, but I don’t know if I hit the mark with the “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Christmas Carol” homages. We’ll see. It will be interesting.
Was the intent with “Captain Marvel” #10-11 to do a two-part holiday style story?
Yeah, because it works out that it’s both her 100th solo issue and the issues come out in December and January. Also there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to do with the issues. I wanted to remind everyone that Grace is out there. I’m really trying to build Grace up as a good enemy for Carol. Carol is always fighting herself. I wanted to give her somebody else to fight. [Laughs]
Will regular “Captain Marvel” artists David Lopez and Marcio Takara both be working on issue #10?
Yes, the stories that they’re doing are each centered on different characters. Laura Braga also worked on the issue. So David handles Kit’s part of the story, Marcio handles Jessica Drew’s portion of the story, and Laura handles Rhodey’s part of the story.
Issue #11 also features a super special appearance of something was my son’s idea.
I know from talking with Brian Bendis that conversations with Henry Leo often leads to some interesting ideas and stories.
Yeah, Henry made this suggestion and I was like, “What? Wait a minute! That’s kind of brilliant. Hmm…” [Laughs]
How does it feel to be celebrating Carol’s 100th solo appearance? What’s Carol come to mean to you in the three years that you’ve been writing her?
It’s great! You sort of sound like a crazy person when you say this but she’s a friend who lives in my head. I’m really proud of how far she’s come. She’s a weirdo, but I like her. [Laughs]
I also imagine it’s a little bit flattering that you’re take on “Captain Marvel” will be sort of the inspiration for a Marvel Studios film.
I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t know anything about the film. I know that she’ll be Captain Marvel because they used our logo for the announcement. [Laughs] But I have no idea if it will have anything to do with our run or not.
I’m so happy that it’s going to happen though! And terrified, and a little bit nervous too.
In “Captain Marvel” #12, Carol returns to space and has a major confrontation with a threat that’s she run afoul of a couple times now, the Haffensye Consortium. Are the Haffensye space pirates or they more of an intergalactic Blackwater style organization?
I kind of think of them as low-level organized crime. They can definitely be bought.
I also wanted to mention that I’m co-writing issues #12 and #13 with Warren Ellis. Warren and I had a really good time on “Avengers Assemble.” I always learn so much from him. He is amazing. Everyone should be reading “Trees.”
Finally, in February the “Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex” crossover event begins and “Captain Marvel” will be part of it. How does it feel to help plot out and include Carol in Marvel’s next big intergalactic epic?
I did not have any involvement in plotting it out. All credit there goes to Sam Humphries. He did a great job and he laid out for me what he needed our issue to do. I’m really excited about it.
Will we get a reunion between Carol and her former comrades in the Starjammers in the issue?
That would be hilarious wouldn’t it?
“Captain Marvel” #10 is on sale now.
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