So… “winter is coming.” That’s Game of Thrones, right? Unfortunately, I’m one of like, three people who hasn’t seen or read much of George R.R. Martin’s epic series (I know, I know; I’m working on it). So instead of trying to learn everything there is to know about House Stark or House Lannister, I wanted to write about one of my favorite houses: House DeFraction.
Composed of married comic book writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, House DeFraction seems like a pretty wonderful place to be. I mean, for one thing, they invited different comic artists to their house to draw on their wallpaper. Their kids, Henry Leo and Tallulah Louise, have also thought that their last name really is “DeFraction” on more than one occasion.
Matt and Kelly Sue are both talented, funny, creative people who have undoubtedly left their marks on the comic industry. If being incredible writers isn’t enough, they’re both genuinely rad people, and the fact that they’re married makes it even better. Both Fraction and DeConnick have several titles under their belts, with more to hit shelves this winter (ODY-C, a gender-bent retelling of The Odyssey Fraction wrote for his daughter, and Bitch Planet, the story of a group of ladies plotting to escape from an all-women prison planet by DeConnick – find previews for both series here and here), it might be hard to decide which of their stories you’d like to check out in the meantime. Hopefully we can help with that: below are four awesome series for your reading pleasure, courtesy of House DeFraction.
Sex Criminals (Matt Fraction)
I’ve written about how much I love Sex Criminals on Girls in Capes before, and as the series has progressed, I’ve just managed to love it more. Basically, Sex Criminals tells the story of Suzie and Jon, who meet at a party and realize that they both have the same superpower: they can stop time whenever they orgasm. Suzie works in a library that’s on the verge of being shut down, and so the duo takes advantage of their unique abilities and robs the bank Jon works at to save Suzie’s library.
It’s insane and funny and crude and wonderful, and I can’t get enough of it. Fraction and illustrator Chip Zdarsky treat female sexuality—and sex in general—with a welcome openness, honesty, and respect that’s almost surprising based on the series’ crude title.
Also, the Letters section at the end of each issue is almost as entertaining as the story itself; it’s pretty easy to skip Letters to the Editor with other series, but definitely do yourself a favor and at least skim this one.
Pretty Deadly (Kelly Sue DeConnick)
I originally tried to read Pretty Deadly in its regular monthly installments, but gave up on that pretty quickly. DeConnick’s crazy mythic western was something that I needed to read all in one sitting so that I wouldn’t risk getting absorbed in the story only to have to wait a month for the next installment.
I don’t want to go into too much detail when it comes to the plot, partly because I’m still not entirely sure I understand/have caught everything that’s happening, but basically, the skeleton of a rabbit is telling a butterfly the story of Death, his daughter Ginny, and Sissy and Fox, two traveling performers who put on a show about Ginny’s creation, and who ultimately end up having even stronger ties to Ginny and Death throughout the course of the book.
The art, done by Emma Rios, is absolutely gorgeous; it’s easy to spend at least fifteen minutes looking at everything going on in each panel. For the most part, Pretty Deadly makes me wonder what even is going on, but in the best way possible.
For a more in-depth review of Pretty Deadly, GiC’s fantasy reviewer, Gabby, discussed the series’ first issue here.
Hawkeye (Matt Fraction)
I was so late to the Hawkeye—or Hawkguy, depending on who you talk to—party, but Fraction’s run with Clint Barton is so endearing and awesome, it’s pretty much impossible not to fall in love with it after the first issue.
The whole idea was to focus on what Clint does when he’s not off being an Avenger. Whether it’s defending his apartment building from a bunch of bros or saving the day with the help of Kate Bishop (the series also features several issues dedicated entirely to her adventures), Clint’s always got something going on, even if it’s just having Tony Stark over to help him set up his DVD player.
Issue 19, which was released about a month or so ago, takes place after Clint suffers extreme hearing loss, and is told entirely in sign language. It’s such a fascinating issue, and the series’ main artist David Aja posted a tweet saying, “If while reading Hawkeye 19 you feel you don’t get it at all, if you find obstacles, congrats, you’re starting to learn what being disabled is.”
On a lighter note, there’s also an issue told entirely from the point of view of Clint’s dog. Pizza Dog!
Captain Marvel (Kelly Sue DeConnick)
This is the series that most people probably associate with DeConnick–and with good reason. Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel, is now the Captain Marvel that we know and love (and who Marvel recently announced will also be getting her own movie! *jumps up and down excitedly for days*), and DeConnick is to thank for that. She’s written a version of Carol that is strong, fierce, sarcastic, and just real, adjectives that can also be used to describe Kamala Khan, Carol’s successor as Ms. Marvel.
Carol’s sprawling history can be a little daunting to new readers—it definitely was for me—but DeConnick’s work makes it easy for beginners to follow along while still satisfying longtime Carol fans. Plus, the Carol Corps is one of the most welcoming, unintimidating fandoms in, well, fandom, and it’s easy to immediately feel at home with Carol.
While not a comic book, Kelly Sue’s Bitches Get Shit Done (shortened to #bgsd) texts are a mini art form in themselves. Anyone is welcome to send a text with “@bitchesg” to 347-435-2819, and then voila, you’ll be receiving texts from Kelly Sue reminding you to stop procrastinating and get back to work. Examples include:
“Hey, you. Don’t mistake ‘hard’ for ‘impossible.’ Don’t fool yourself. #bgsd”
“You can put up with unfair criticism without returning it. Put that energy to better use. #bgsd”
“You haven’t got time for that crap. #bgsd”
“Be kind but firm. Defend your time—both from others and from your own sabotaging impulses. #bgsd”
“You can do hard things. #bgsd” “…Every one of you that thought, ‘that’s what she said!’ gets a gold star and an exasperated sigh. Now make your list for today. #bgsd”
Allison Racicot is the Audiobook Reviewer at Girls in Capes. She’s a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, and has a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She spends too much time listening to podcasts and getting overly attached to fictional characters.
Check out our review of DeConnick’s Captain Marvel here.
Haven’t gotten enough of comics? Gabby’s got a great rundown of women in the comics industry to watch (and Kelly Sue made the list!)