Kate Leth and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Carol Corps Memories [Interview]
Last week's Emerald City Comicon kicked off, for me, with the Carol Corps Celebration at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Hosted by a bevy of nerdy Captain Marvel enthusiasts and featuring some of the finest cosplay I saw all weekend, proceeds from tickets and exclusive merchandise went to benefit the Girls Leadership Institute. It's a rare thing for fans and creators to celebrate a superhero character in such a thematically specific and highly interactive way -- Carol Danvers is a military pilot, after all, and the new Ms. Marvel is herself a member of the Carol Corps -- and a woman superhero at that. But the event was an absolutely joyful experience that spoke to the good work being done in these comics and readers' enthusiasm for great women heroes (both fictional and real-life).
A few months back I was asked by ECCC organizers to design an embroidered patch for the Carol Corps Celebration. After the design was approved, I was invited to attend the event, which also featured Captain Marvel writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Christopher Sebela and Ms. Marvel writer G Willow Wilson. A number of other conspirators and creators involved with the series were there as well. Among them was DeConnick's husband, popular comics writer Matt Fraction, who came along on the party bus that took fans to the event. When we arrived at the museum, Fraction stepped to the side, happily watched Kelly Sue do her thing, and offered to hold some the many, many presents her readers gave her.
Upon entry, the writers and artists were almost immediately swept up to sign books, prints, shirts and gifts for friends not in attendance. There was a lot of trying-not-to-freak-out going around.
I love watching Kelly Sue interact with readers. She takes as much time with each person as they need. She remembers cosplayers of note, knows the fan art their costumes are based off of, and justifiably loses her mind over awesome Pretty Deadly (her creator-owned series from Image with Emma Rios)-inspired jewelry. She always seems to be giving her full attention, and you can see how much it means to each person nervously clutching a well-read copy of one of her comic books.
I'm somewhat astounded by the massive popularity of Carol Corps, especially based on a relatively short series run -- the original lasted just 17 issues before relaunching last month. But these events make it easy to see why you'd want to join up with other fans of the superhero also known as Princess Sparklefists. They're good people. And stylish too. Some attendees came dressed up for a cocktail party; some wore a fantastic variety of cosplay interpretations of the Captain Marvel characters; and others wore Carol Corps-related tees (of which there are many).
Most people couldn't stop smiling. It was a good place to be, and an experience that felt like it was destined to be replicated in other cities, which Kelly Sue confirmed when I emailed her to talk about the event later.
Kate Leth: How did this event come together?
Kelly Sue DeConnick: Andrea Demonakos (Director of Digital Content for ECCC) actually made that happen — that was sort of the beauty of it from my perspective — she and Kristina Rogers (Exhibits Director for ECCC) came to me with the idea.
KL: Were there any stand-out moments for you or any of the other creators attending?
KSD: I was really nervous about attendance because it was offsite the night before [the convention began]. There were a lot of people trying to figure out transportation and a lot who had already bought their ticket when the event was announced — but we still got something like 300 attendees, which, frankly, blew my mind.
The stand out moment would have to be the dance party in the airplane. I actually missed it but I heard about it from a bunch of other people. I’m crazy jealous.
I loved having so many creators there too! This was the first opportunity that Willow and I had to do an event together. I like her so much.
KL: Why do you think Carol Corps is such a massive, enthusiastic, kickass group?
KSD: Because that’s how Carol is. Especially the massive part. ;-)
KL: It seemed like a huge success. Will any more events like this be happening during Con Season 2014?
KSD: This is happening -- the WonderCon Anaheim Carol Corps Meet-Up. Not everything has been announced yet, but both of the cons I’m confirmed for this year have approached me about doing Corps-specific events.