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Interview: Kelly Sue DeConnick (Barbarella)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Greetings, Kelly Sue. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions regarding you, your career, and the upcoming English-adaptation of the world-renowned Barbarella.

1. Were there any challenges in adapting the book for a more modern release?

Oh, certainly. It’s always intimidating – you want to do justice to the author’s intent and with something like Barbarella that is such a cultural touchstone, it’s hard to balance giving yourself the freedom to do your work with the necessary reverence. You don’t want to change things just to change things. But I spent an inordinate amount of time contemplating whether or not the men should continue to call Barbarella “girl” constantly. Ultimately, I decided to leave it in, and I could write an academic thesis on my thinking!


2. Do you feel Barbarella played a role in the development of feminism?

I believe the film, Barbarella, was a touchstone in the sexual revolution that was certainly an important aspect of second wave feminism.

I don’t know that the book played as important a role in the US as I imagined it did in Europe. I don’t know that I am qualified to make that assessment, though. I’m 44 and I didn’t know there was a Barbarella comic until the 1980s.

3. You’ve written some highly prolific books for Marvel over the last few years (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) as well as your own title over at image (Pretty Deadly), and have adapted a ton of manga titles for English audiences. Do you enjoy writing your own stories just as much as adapting others?

Oh, it’s apples and oranges – completely different muscle sets. I love the challenge of both efforts, but they’re very different.


4. You have quite the following in the comics world, are there any tips or advice you could share with up and coming writers looking to break into the industry today?

Start. Now.

I am constantly boggled by folks who think they’re going to be hired to write a comic script when they have next to no experience writing scripts but they love reading comics. I wouldn’t hire a plumber to fix my sink because he was really enthusiastic about washing his hands.

No more excuses. You have to write. And you have to keep writing.

5. What is your favorite manga and/or anime? If you could adapt one manga property, what would it be?

Favorite: That’s tough. Anything by Taiyo Matsumoto.

If I could adapt anything? Probably Sasori by Tōru Shinohara.

6. Matt Fraction is your husband and is also a writer of several titles for Marvel, Image, etc. Being a husband and wife that are both writers, do you ever pitch ideas off each other and work together?

We’ve never formally worked together – we tried a few pages that he plotted and I scripted and it worked, but it was just a test run.

We do talk to each other about our work though. Fraction jokes that he asks me taste questions and I ask him craft questions. It’s schtick, but he’s not wrong.


7. We all remember the Barbarella movie with Jane Fonda, but are there any titles you’ve worked on that you feel would work well as a TV show or a movie?

I think there’s a Barbarella TV show in development, right? I assumed that had something to do with the timing of this release. I’m fascinated to see how it’s handled.

8. Can you describe your writing process?

Weep, thrash about, hug knees, rock back and forth, drink lots of coffee, lay in bed and think, then type some.

9. Who would win in a fight, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) or Barbarella?

Why would they fight?

10. Were you surprised by anything in Barbarella?

It’s not as dirty as I remember it being. And second volume is delightfully insane. (Note: Second volume will be available in early 2015)

11. How would you approach a contemporary version of brand new Barbarella comics?

I’d love to have the opportunity to show you… you entertaining proposals? ;-)


Barbarella is available in stores on September 24, 2014 with an MSRP of $79.95

Tags: Humanoids - Interview