What’s Not Awesome About Supergirl?
Kelly Sue DeConnick interviewed by Patrick Shand
PATRICK SHAND: In Sterling Gate’s run, we saw Kara struggling with her role as a hero. James Peaty’s arc played with the idea of Kara finally having adjusted to being Supergirl. From the first issue of your arc, it seems that you’re dealing more with the “human” (heavy quoty fingers there) side of things. Where is Kara’s head at and how is it affecting her role as Supergirl and her day-to-day life?
KELLY SUE DECONNICK: I took more of an outside-in approach, honestly. I looked at a lot of what had been done with her recently and I like it a lot, but as the focus had been on the "super," I decided I wanted to look more at the girl.
The Gary Frank Supergirl cover with the skateboard is one of my favorite covers in all of comics. I started my musings there and ended up straying quite a bit from what that image suggests, but that was my starting point anyway.
PAT: Sorry for the block quote question. Here’s a quickie: What is awesome about Supergirl?
KELLY: Were you aware that she can fly...?
I'm kidding. I'm not sure how politic my honest answer is, but here we go--
Our language regularly abuses and dismisses the feminine. Are you weak? Where's your skirt, buddy? Don't be a p___y, etc. etc. And what's weaker than even that? Being a girl--you're not just feminine, you're a child! Don't throw like a girl. Don't run like a girl. Man up, cowboy. The girls in the office will take care of that for you.
Now. It will come as no surprise to you at all that I hate this. I hate this so much it makes me grind my teeth. I hate this so much that I was terrified of having a daughter because I didn't know how to teach her to withstand the everyday indignities and injustices that make me want to put my fist through a wall.
And it is powerfully engrained in our collective psyches. Despite the fact that women consistently outperform men in studies of tolerance of pain, heat, cold, loneliness and monotony--somehow "girl" is shorthand for everything weak. I guess... it all comes down to what you bench? I don't know. I don't get it, but I hate it.
So what's Supergirl? The equal of the most powerful man in the universe.
...What's not awesome about that?
Supergirl being awesome on the cover of this week's SUPERGIRL #66
PAT: Speaking of the most powerful man in the universe, what do you think Supergirl would do if Superman ever pulled an Irredeemable?
KELLY: I don't know, but I'd like to think it would be Ripley epic.
PAT: The solicit for the new Supergirl #1 says that Kara Zor-El shares none of the affection that Superman has for the people of Earth. Do you think this applies to pre-reboot Kara?
KELLY: The seed's definitely there. I mean, she wasn't raised on Earth the way he was. She's an immigrant and an orphan. That's a very different perspective than that of Clark, who really is Clark more than he's Kal-El.
PAT: Give me a bit of insight into your thought-process while breaking the story for your Supergirl arc. Why college?
KELLY: To focus on the girl, I wanted her in an environment where she was surrounded by her age-group.
PAT: Did you ever take part in any wonky college clubs, like the kind folks in the Silk Pajama Society?
KELLY: I was Captain of my high school's debate team, a college drama major and a member of the Dorothy Parker Society. Yet I've never played D&D!
PAT: Any chance we’ll see you take on writing duties for Supergirl again?
KELLY: Who knows? No plans in the immediate future, though.
SUPERGIRL #67 - The finale of both Kelly's arc and this volume of the series
PAT: List time: What titles are you dying to write, and who are your dream artists?
KELLY: I will not answer the first question because it puts me in a no-win situation. If I name a book someone else is writing I either look like I'm gunning for their job or that I don't think they're doing it well. Plus you know... there's a thing I learned as a struggling actor. DO NOT NEED THE GIG. If you come in for your audition reeking of desperation, you are going to be the least appealing person in the room. Give it everything you've got, swing for the bleachers, but do not look like you need it; you'll never get it. So I'll keep those cards close to my vest, for the moment.
As far as artists go, that's a very long list and some of the people on it intimidate the hell out of me. Partial list would include: Jane Almirall, Rachel Stuart-Haas, Steph Buscema, Ming Doyle, Christine Norrie, Joelle Jones, George Perez, Mike Oeming, Mike Hawthorne, Tony Moore, Chris Samnee, Walt Simonson, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Grampa, Junko Mizuno... god, I could go on for days.
Right this minute I just want to move heaven and earth to work with Emma Rios again.
This is exactly what it looks like.
PAT: What’s next for you in the comic industry?
KELLY: I've got Castle: Deadly Storm with Brian Bendis out in September, a short story in a Spider-Island one-shot and a bunch of stuff that hasn't been announced yet! Keep your eyes peeled.
Big thanks to KELLY SUE DECONNICK for taking the time out to do this interview. SUPERGIRL #66 hits comic shops tomorrow. Check back for a big, in-dept review of the issue.