Comic book power couple moves to creator-owned books

Kelly Sue DeConnick and her husband, Matt Fraction, are moving away from the established comic book powerhouses and confronting the brave new frontier of creator-owned books.

DeConnick and Fraction (or DeFraction as their portmanteau’d family name goes) are known independently from one another for bringing in their own innovative bravura, crafty voice, and unlimited imagination to some of iconic versions of classic superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and Hawkeye.

Ever wonder what Hawkeye does when he’s not on Avenger duty to save the world? Well Fraction’s stretch on David Aja’s Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, explains all that in detail. If that’s not impressive enough, what about DeConnick’s role in giving long-standing character Carol Danvers a promotion to Captain Marvel, who in 2018 is projected to become the first female Marvel superhero to carry a film all her own? “I was gobsmacked,” says DeConnick, “I wasn’t even watching [when the film was announced]. My mentions tab on Twitter just went nuts. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

DeConnick was caught off guard by the announcement as she was trying to finish writing a Captain Marvel script at the time when her Twitter feed was flooded with tweets from her tweeps. “I feel so proud of her, like Carol is this person who lives in my head, and ‘look what you did, girl!’ It feels like a friend just got a promotion.”

Creating not only a partnership in life but in business is no easy task to fulfill, let alone keep life balanced. Even though DeFraction founded their company, Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, in 2008, they have yet to collaborate on a project, but see their work very much as a partnership. “Our marriage is kind of the cornerstone of this little empire of ours,” states Fraction.

Since that empire has now expanded its borders past the surrounding big publishers of Marvel and DC Comics, DeFraction is looking to take on the world of creator-owned works. Fraction launched ODY-C last November. This new series takes Homer’s classic tale, flips it upside-down, and launches it into space; did I mention it has a female protagonist? “I wanted to give my daughter a great hero,” explains Fraction of his choice of gender swap, “Who’s a greater hero than Odysseus?”

Following the November launch of ODY-C, DeConnick joined in with her second on-going original series Bitch Planet in December. Bitch Planet is a prison planet for women deemed “non-compliant” – this means everyone from feminists to minorities to those not conforming to gender norms. “It’s not as camp as I had intended. I had very broad humor plans,” DeConnick notes, “It was supposed to be so crazy! Future-y!” Even though it is based in another world, in another time, DeConnick pointed out, “It feels like just a couple years down the line in the wrong direction.” This could be another eye-opening literature experience for readers, perhaps even make the canon in a few years.

As if individual projects were not enough for these two; Fraction’s series Casanova returns this month. Surprise, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon is now penning backups, more like side stories, for the series. “It will be nice to be the sane one on Team Casanova,” Fraction says about the A-list contributor. “It became this game of chicken, and either one of us has flinched. I was chiding him to write more comics and he said the only comics he wants to write are Casanova backups. And I was like, ‘Your script’s due Monday.’”

Sounds like there are many happenings going on with the first couple of comics and I can’t wait to get a hold of ODY-C and Bitch Planet.

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