Sad news for those who loved Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel tenure: the end is in sight.

“Captain Marvel” has been a number of people. Only two of them, [EDIT: sorry! Only three, or "nearly half"; Phyla-Vell,] Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau, have been women, and only one of those has been blessed with such auspicious circumstances: when Carol Danvers became Captain Marvel, her title benefited from both a new, quite obviously more considered costume, and a woman writing the adventures, with a social media platform that permitted no obstacles. Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel inspired the Carol Corps: when you’ve got your own highly visible, economically dedicated grassroots fan club, you have arrived.

We, fans, professionals — people who write about comics — when we talk about this writer both in public and among ourselves, we call her Kelly Sue. We know we mean Kelly Sue DeConnick, and we know she has a husband who writes comics too. But we call her Kelly Sue. There’s a two-pronged reason behind this. For one, it’s syllabic enough that it is, indeed, “enough”. Ma-Don-Na. Bey-Yon-Say. Kel-Ly-Sue. Iconic.

Second of all, there’s Kelly Sue’s own reasoning. Talking to Yes magazine in 2014 she said:


It's the same way I use my middle name on purpose so that people identify me as a woman. I want young women to see my name on Avengers Assembled and to know that there are women who write mainstream superhero comics and if it is something that interests them it can be done.


Kelly Sue is a girly girl’s name. It sounds American Southern, solicitous and breathy, and she writes hard women making hard decisions anyway. “Kelly Sue” plants a flag directly in the heart of Marvel: Captain Marvel, a woman, written by a woman, who’s not ashamed of that. We call her Kelly Sue because she’s our friend in absence; her headlining a major Marvel player, and not downplaying the idea that Carol herself thinks she can and should be a main event name, is like a pair of ten-gallon boots on girls’ pride. Where are we going? To the pinnacle, where welcome awaits us.

Whoever takes up the rein on Cap is going to, like their heroine, shoulder the heavy responsibility of legacy and a similar opportunity for joy. They’ll need to keep pushing, keep taking, and most importantly of all, in-universe and out, they’ll need to find a way to keep welcoming.

If it’s a man, the fates will laugh.



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