Brie Larson in Marvel Studios' "Captain Marvel."

Brie Larson in Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel.”

Chuck Zlotnick
/©Marvel Studios 2019

When writer Kelly Sue DeConnick took on the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers in 2012, she says she never imagined how the character would change her life.

This weekend, the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands to include its first woman-led feature film, about a hero drawn heavily from DeConnick’s depiction of a brash Air Force pilot who becomes Earth’s mightiest hero. DeConnick and family went to the red carpet premiere.

“It was great,” she said, during an interview at her home in Portland. “It was surreal, you know? Getty photographers and celebrities. And that is not my life. My life is sitting in my office in my pajamas for much longer than I should be.”

DeConnick’s storied three-year run brought Carol Danvers to the forefront as a bold, sometimes arrogant hero, in the mold of flying ace Chuck Yeager, with human frailties in balance: a headstrong personality and battles with alcoholism. DeConnick’s Captain Marvel set the template for how the Marvel Cinematic Universe would imagine its first female lead.

DeConnick, who’s written storylines for characters in the Spiderverse and the Avengers, is also known for her critically acclaimed supernatural western, “Pretty Deadly” and the futuristic black comedy “Bitch Planet,” set on a prison colony for non-compliant women. She has a fantastic grasp of dialogue, and a strong intuitive compass for myth-making narrative.

“That’s the thing about her. Her reach always exceeds her grasp. She makes mistakes. And she never lets that destroy her.”
Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel, whose Marvel Comics series was transformed by DeConnick's work during a celebrated three year run. A film adaptation informed by DeConnick's work opens this weekend.

“That’s the thing about her. Her reach always exceeds her grasp. She makes mistakes. And she never lets that destroy her.” Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel, whose Marvel Comics series was transformed by DeConnick’s work during a celebrated three year run. A film adaptation informed by DeConnick’s work opens this weekend.

April Baer/OPB

For Captain Marvel, she made deliberate language choices that telegraphed female heroism full of strength, but also vulnerability. One passage from Volume 1 reads:

“Have you ever seen a little girl run so fast she falls down? There’s an instant, a fraction of a second before the world catches hold of her again. A moment when she’s out run every doubt and fear she’s ever had about herself and she flies. In that one moment every little girl flies. I need to find that again, like taking the car out into the desert to see how fast it can go. I need to find the edge of me. And maybe, if I fly far enough, I’ll be able to turn around and look at the world… And see where I belong.”

“There is a moment,” DeConnick says, “at the end of the film when [Carol] turns around and looks at the world. I thought, ‘Oh look, there it is.’”

DeConnick herself has become an object of hero worship to legions of fans (search the #CarolCorps on Twitter). She surmises the people drawn to Carol Danvers are the people who are always trying to do better.

She’s not losing sleep over trolls who’ve piled on to DeConnick and “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larsen.

“I am right now the subject of a lot of chatter. I am the worst thing that has ever happened to comics and also the savior of comics — it’s a bit between the two.”

Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson)

Film Frame/©Marvel Studios 2019

She pushes back on any notion that what artists do is something magical.

“We have a job. Our job is important — I won’t stand for people saying it’s not important. But it’s no more important than anything else,” she said.

She calls her own fiction a search for capital truths. The more specific the story, she says, the more universal it can be.

These days, DeConnick is busy writing “Aquaman” for DC Comics (a character in whom she says she finds a beautiful vulnerability), and is at work on forthcoming arcs of “Pretty Deadly” and “Bitch Planet,”  as well as “Parisian White” with Bill Sienkiewicz. The company she founded with husband Matt Fraction, Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, is developing several scripts for Legendary Television.

“I had this notion that I was not going to have to be as disciplined as I am in comics. And that has turned out to not be the case at all.”

But she’s taking time to host a sold out Rose City Comicon/Books With Pictures screening of “Captain Marvel” this Saturday.

Get tickets for the screening here.