Kelly Sue DeConnick does not have a very visual imagination. Despite being a comic book writer (and not just any comic writer, but the popular voice behind Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly, and Marvel’s 2014 Captain Marvel reboot), DeConnick says she thinks of stories not in terms of image and color, but rather tone and sound. In that tradition, her upcoming run on Aquaman (illustrated by Robson Rocha) has a very distinctive audio aesthetic.
“I think in terms of sound, so I think of the tone of my books in terms of music,” DeConnick tells EW. “So Pretty Deadly is Ennio Morricone, and Captain Marvel was Tom Petty. Aquaman is Zeppelin. It’s big, it’s mythic, it’s air-brushed on the side of a van, it’s heavy bass and high screeching vocals and lots of mythic touchstones.”
DeConnick will take over writing duties for DC’s main Aquaman title starting with issue #43 in December, making her the latest in a line of famous Marvel writers to move to DC in recent months. DeConnick’s move was first announced at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where DC co-publisher Jim Lee gave a brief description of the series as a story about an amnesiac Aquaman washing up on the shore of a mysterious island alongside other sea gods from around the world. Talking to EW, DeConnick explains that this plot description is accurate, and helps her dig deep into an admittedly complicated character.
“He washes up on the shore of this metaphysical island and doesn’t know who he is,” DeConnick says. “He has to relearn who he is and where he comes from. It gives us a chance to revisit basic ideas about him, and also a whole bunch of ocean deities that have been incredibly fun to research and really cool characters to bring into the DC Universe.”
DeConnick’s Aquaman run will begin in the immediate aftermath of the Justice League crossover story “Drowned Earth.” Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and DeConnick’s Aquaman predecessor Dan Abnett, “Drowned Earth” will feature Aquaman and his fellow Justice Leaguers battling a group of sea gods known as Ocean Lords, who want to flood the world. Readers will have to wait for November to find out exactly what happens in this five-part crossover, but somehow it will lead to an amnesiac Aquaman, a mysterious island, and the beginning of DeConnick’s story.
“Drowned Earth” isn’t the only timely peg for DeConnick’s story, of course. Her run will begin with issue #43 in December, the same month as James Wan’s new live-action Aquaman movie starring Jason Momoa. DeConnick says Momoa’s performance (which viewers first got a taste of in last year’s Justice League) is not exactly the same as her conception of the character, but did inspire her in some ways.
“The cinematic Aquaman is very different from the DC Universe Aquaman, but there are a couple shots of Momoa where you see a twinkle in his eye,” DeConnick says. “I’m very interested in that swagger, that kind of internal reserve that all of our heroes have, that playfulness.”
Aquaman isn’t even the only DeConnick-affiliated superhero moving to the big screen over the next few months. EW’s recent Captain Marvel cover story gave readers an exclusive deep dive into the cinematic introduction of the character DeConnick redefined in her 2014-2015 run. DeConnick says that the Marvel filmmakers have “been very smart” about adapting Carol Danvers, and “I feel really good about what they’re doing.” Even more than that, she suggests that the success of her Captain Marvel redesign could bode well for Aquaman as well.
” I don’t want anybody to take this out of context, but the last time I came on to a character that everybody was really nervous that I was going to change, a character who was often written off and dismissed… was Carol,” DeConnick says. “Look guys, it turned out okay!”
Aquaman #43 is set to hit stores this December. Above, check out some early art from Rocha, who “draws like he’s got something to prove,” per DeConnick.