So a dude wrote a column. In it, he expressed his disappointment in our comic book and described his retailer tearing up a copy. (Please don’t go looking for the column; just take my word for it—dude gets paid every time you click and in an unbelievably classy move I should have seen coming, is now using the attention to promote his own books. Comics!) Follow me so far? Dude wrote a column… Then the internet blew up. This is the only statement I’m going to make on the matter, so read slow.
When I got the email giving me the heads up, I thought it was funny. I don’t know if that makes me sound like an ass—if it does, please understand that dude has been around for as long as I have and he’s been hilariously condescending to people far more talented than I am for so long that it’s almost a rite of passage. Like… okay, years ago I was an operator on the graveyard shift at Home Shopping Network and there was a masturbator who called every night. You didn’t actuallywant to be the one who took that call, but when you finally got it… you sort of felt like you’d finally earned your wings.
So when the email came, I literally laughed out loud. Hey! I got jumped in!
The guy tearing up the book? I dunno. It’s a little theatrical for my taste (and look at me, my favorite color is leopard print) but whatever. It’s his shop, his book, he can do whatever he wants. Doesn’t seem like good business to me, but what do I know? I don’t run a store. Maybe his customer eat that kind of thing up like pro wrestling. If it’s working for him, good on ‘im. (Also: same guy tore up SCARLET #1, which is a book I LOVE, so hey — win! For the record, I don’t think my gender had anything to do with anything, but given the Scarlet thing, it’s possible dude might have an issue with artificial redheads. I dunno. It’s a theory.**)
Not everybody’s gonna like the book. Did you miss the part where I said it’s a weird book? It’s a weird book. I’m proud of it. I’m bursting with pride at Emma’s innovative layouts, Jordie’s gorgeous colors, Clayton’s… well, Clayton’s infinite patience with my foibles, more than anything else probably, but that’s saying something. (I’m teasing you, Clayton. I’m proud of you too.) I’m proud of Sigrid for keeping us on schedule and Caitlin for having all our backs like the fierce little mama bear she is. I’m as proud of my contribution as I’m capable of being. Mostly, I’m proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone.
All that said, not everybody’s gonna dig it and that’s okay. That doesn’t make us failures and it doesn’t make them misogynists. If you didn’t “get” the book, that’s okay; you’re not dumb. (Am I being clear enough? No one is calling you dumb.) Taste is subjective. I like liver and onions and Offspring*. Probably you don’t. That doesn’t make either of us dumb or even wrong. (The way you chose to express your taste says more about you than your taste itself.)
So, when the email came in, I laughed. Can’t please everybody. And hey, we had a hell of a Wednesday.
Then… the internet exploded. I keep not-commenting hoping it’ll just go away, but every ten minutes somebody new decides to run the “story,” folks are saying I said things I not only never said, I never THOUGHT… it’s just… WTF?
Look, I’ve got a hide like a rhino, I can take it. And I know a lot of folks who are perpetuating this are doing so out of love, wanting to come to our defense. And I love them for it, I do. But every outraged post magically puts words in my mouth I never said and makes that one dude THE story.
THAT IS NOT THE STORY. THAT ONE DUDE IS NOT THE STORY.
THIS is the story: You know what we thought this book would do? 9-12K. A couple of our more experienced friends at Image said that they thought it might do as well as 20K — we guffawed. When I saw the initial orders I was in Brisbane — Fraction will tell you, I got light-headed. My hearing went out. As of right now, we have we have blown through our print run of 57K and are going to a second printing. Do the math. With the second printing we’re going to be at THREE TIMES our DREAM NUMBER. How is that even possible?
That is the story.
The book—our weird little book that has surprised and defied us at every turn—came out Wednesday and surprised and defied us yet again. The same site that ran the piece that started all this gave us 4.5/5.0. We got 3 reviews that gave us 10/10. We’ve gotten tons of great mail already, beautiful fan art and it’s starting to feel like there’s a Pretty Deadly community burgeoning.
JH FUCKING WILLIAMS WROTE TO US THIS MORNING. I know it’s impolite to namedrop, but hello–JH FUCKING WILLIAMS!!
My team got ONE WHOLE DAY to feel good about defying expectations before what should have been a non-event became the ubiquitous headline.
So here’s the tl;dr — nobody on our team thinks they’re a genius. (You don’t like my stuff? Hell, a good half the time, I agree with you.) We’re trying some things. If our things are not your bag, that’s okay. As long as you don’t tut tut me, put words in my mouth, call me pretentious or try to profit from bad-mouthing my team, we’re totally gonna stay friends. And if they are your bag? Know we don’t take your support for granted. We’re gonna keep trying things and, well, cheer up, haters! We may well fall flat on our faces yet. I like issue 2 more than issue 1 and issue 3 more than issue 2, but I dunno… your mileage may vary, as they kids say.
All we want to do is have fun, hang out and make comics. Can we pleeeeeeeaaase move on from this shit now?
— Kelly Sue DeConnick
* Not together. Ew.
** Not actually a theory; actually a joke. Please do not send letters.