We’re back for another edition of Empyre State of Mynd. This week, we have writer Kelly Thompson making an appearance.
Thompson has been writing Captain Marvel for some time, and the character (and the series at-large) is tying into Empyre in a very big way. Thompson was kind enough to address our 10 most burning questions, including her favorite comic book events, what’s to be made of Carol Danvers’ newly-revealed sister, and much, much more!
Plus, scroll all the way down to read an exclusive preview of Captain Marvel #19 due out next week (August 12)!
You can read the previous five installments of Empyre State of Mynd here.
Thanks so much for joining in on Empyre State of Mynd Kelly! For the first question, what are some of your favorite comic book events in the history of comics and why?
Kelly Thompson: Thanks for having me! Well, when I was younger I loved X-tinction Agenda…it was probably the first event – and crossover – I ever read and it amazed me how it interconnected and introduced me to new characters and books I hadn’t yet tried. Age of Apocalypse blew my teenage mind and probably began my love affair with alternate reality stories – the idea of doing something completely different and unexpected was a siren song I’ve never fallen out of love with. I think House of M has some of those same qualities and holds up incredibly well on re-reads.
And a follow-up from AIPT, when crafting dialogue, do you have a method that works best for you?
KT: When I’m breaking a story I tend to write little bits of dialogue from scenes I’m thinking about – I write them in my notebook, on my phone, in my outline doc…they pop up everywhere. It tends to be how I get into my character’s heads and into the rhythm of their voice, or if it’s a new character to me, to figure them out in the first place (after a bunch of research of course). I end up using a surprising amount of those notes…though they often get tweaked a bit before seeing print.
First up, Tyrell asks: “@79SemiFinalist is doing a great job, and with all due respect to other creators, I’m now enjoying Carol’s adventures the most since @kellysue’s departure. One thing I miss – her friendship with Peter Parker. Any chance we’ll see them working together again in future?”
KT: It’s possible, but I don’t have any plans for it at the moment. We’ve worked really hard since putting Carol back more regularly on earth, to establish her supporting cast and those kind of touchstones, but overwhelming a solo book with other characters is an easy trap to fall into, so I’m wary of that. If I can find a place for Peter Parker that feels organic to Carol’s story I won’t hesitate to use him.
Next up, Matt asks, “I was wondering where Minn-Erva is after she ran away from Stark Unlimited in “Falling Star”? I mean… This whole thing that’s going on looks like something that she would definitely participate.”
KT: I think there’s a lot of story still for Carol and Minn-Erva – she should be a recurring villain – and sometimes anti-hero/ally for Carol – so I’d love to get her back in the mix eventually. Lauri-ell certainly creates more opportunities for that.
@mvbrat91 asks next, “What made you decide to create a half-sister for Carol? Just curious.”
KT: Well, the idea of a “secret sibling” is hardly revolutionary and The Life Of Captain Marvel makes it sort of effortlessly possible. As writers we’re always pushing on characters and trying to give them the most solid base possible – a strong recurring rogue’s gallery, deep and complex friendships and allies, iconic costumes and toys/gadgets/bases…so in that spirit, what better way to flesh someone like Carol out than with a long lost sister? It’s a lot of rich ground to mine for Carol.
Luka asked next, “Carol had been ignoring her Kree heritage, but with Lauri-Ell it’s personified, unignorable. Were you already planning on introducing a sister so Carol confronts she’s Kree before you knew about Empyre, or did it give you the idea? What else do you hope to achieve with Lauri-Ell?”
KT: I think as soon as you find out your mother isn’t who she said she is, you instantly start thinking about the ramifications of that new truth – and undiscovered siblings are one of the first things you consider. So it was a pretty obvious angle. But I wanted to make sure if we did it that it made sense and felt organic and not forced. Empyre seemed like the perfect opportunity for those two characters to crash into one another. I love Lauri-ell so I hope she will become a fan favorite and have a long Marvel life. There are some things coming for her that I think will help anchor her in a great way – but time will tell whether she’s got that magical lasting power that some characters seem to have and others don’t. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Cory Smith gave her such a fantastically fun design.
Michael asked, “I don’t know how spoiler-y it is but here goes. When creating a new character like Lauri-Ell, what sort of thought process or conversation goes into it? Do you come at it from an angle of “I want this character to be around a while?” or is it ‘let’s see where this goes?'”
KT: I think you always hope that a character will be around for a while. That you’ll create something that not only excites you and the readers but also other writers that will be interested in picking it up and carrying the story forward. It can be hard to let go and let others expand something you began—but it’s also a wonderful compliment—and the only way a character gets to be a true success.
Another question from AIPT: When writing a comic that ties into an event, how much conversation does it take to get things right between other writers and their books? Is there a cheat sheet floating around or any method to make sure things stay straight?
KT: To be honest this one was really tough. Al and Dan were incredibly collaborative and helpful – as they always are – but it’s just difficult to craft a separate narrative that can stand on its own in a solo book when your lead character plays a big role in the event book. Carol is front and center in a lot of Empyre – as she should be – but it made finding room for our story a bit tricky. There wasn’t a specific cheat sheet – but there were outlines that were constantly updated – and I also got to read scripts early, so all of that helps. Of course, I also had a lot of guidance from editors Sarah Brunstad and Wil Moss to guide us into the right direction and help us avoid nightmare scenarios.
Next, a question and follow-up from competetivewrap9, who asked, “Why did carol look at the hammer weird when she remarked about the lack of survivors on the Cotati ship?”
KT: As her narration indicates in a few places, Carol has concerns about the hammer – it’s very powerful and she doesn’t quite understand how it works. She is, rightly so, cautious about using a weapon she doesn’t understand. But this is a big part of our arc – so I don’t want to say too much more!
Did the hammer not show restraint when she wanted it to? She was trying to capture Lauri, yet she destroyed the Cotati. Is there something more here?
KT: I don’t want to say too much and spoil where we’re going but I’ll say that there’s definitely more to what we started here – and the cover to issue #20 – is a pretty big hint I think!
And finally, AIPT curator David Brooke has one more question: If you were to headline your own event which character (or characters) would you like to use and why?
KT: Well, Captain Marvel is certainly the most obvious choice and I think she’s actually starting to be overdue for an event that centers around her/her world. I think continuing to build her own stories up so she’s ready when the world is ready is what we’re doing every day with her book. All that said, part of me wants to say I’d like to see a crazy balls-to-the-wall event lead by a team like Nextwave…because that TRULY sounds unpredictable…and hilarious. And that’s my kind of event. Which perhaps explains why I haven’t run one yet? We may have uncovered something here!
Read the exclusive Captain Marvel #19 preview below.
THE ACCUSER GOES ROGUE! Captain Marvel has stepped into the role of accuser in the newly unified Kree/Skrull Empire. But when she’s tasked to accuse a renegade soldier responsible for heinous crimes, she finds herself torn between two worlds. Don’t miss the revelation of the year – one that will not only change Carol’s whole world, but the shape of the galaxy!
Captain Marvel #19
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Cory Smith
Cover by Jorge Molina
Release Date: August 12, 2020