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Kelly Thompson: Talking About X-Men, Captain Marvel and More

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Over the past few years Kelly Thompson has taken the comic world by storm. From her Eisner nominated work on the Kate Bishop starring HAWKEYE at Marvel to hear work on JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS over at IDW, she has continually been a major force in the industry.

This past January she inked an exclusive deal with Marvel and since then has taken on some major projects. She recently helped relaunch UNCANNY X-MEN with fellow writers Ed Brisson and Matthew Rosenberg. Her sharp characterization has made WEST COAST AVENGERS an absolute delight to read.

Next month she's launching one of Marvel's biggest books this year, CAPTAIN MARVEL. With the movie launching in March, this book is sure to be in the spotlight and I can't think of anyone better suited to chronicle Carol's adventures than Kelly Thompson. All of Kelly's work are full of big ideas and amazing characterization, it's no wonder Brian Michael Bendis handpicked her to take over JESSICA JONES. With all of these great books on the horizon, it will be exciting to see what she tackles next.

COMIC LOUNGE: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? What was your first published work?

KELLY THOMPSON: Actually decided when I was really little – like six? I wrote a series of “books” about some mermaid sisters when I was around six or seven – and I even made them into little books, with di-cut covers…before I even knew what “di-cut” was. I was revolutionary! My first published work was in high school I guess, as I had some prose published in our school literary magazine. Later in high school I drew comics for the newspaper and wrote for the yearbook. When I was in college I had a terrible comic I wrote and illustrated published in a local indie comic called Captain Spiffy’s Comics.

COMIC LOUNGE: Which comics or creators have inspired you the most?

THOMPSON: So many creators it’s hard to whittle it down…some of the most influential would have to be Greg Rucka, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, Jeffrey Brown.

COMIC LOUNGE: Besides comic books, what else do you take inspiration from for your writing?

THOMPSON: Life, film, television, novels, music…all the same stuff most people probably say. I will say when I’m feeling blocked one of the best things to do is watch a nature program, or a science program. It sounds dumb but the world is just amazing,

COMIC LOUNGE: You recently helped relaunch UNCANNY X-MEN, can you talk a little about what we can expect from the book?

THOMPSON: As many mutants and mysteries as we could possibly jam in there! I think, since issue 4 is out as I’m writing this, I’m not revealing anything to say that part of this event is about the “grandchildren” of the atom fighting…and there’s a parallel to be made there about “are the X-Men good parents and good teachers” if their offspring keep turning out this way.

COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any surprise returns or any WTH moments coming up?

THOMPSON: The whole thing is WTH moments! It’s a big sprawling mystery and when you’re writing something big for fans who have already seen everything already, you have to have a few good swerves in there. The Multiple Man mystery – him being controlled by Legion and Legion having dumped his personalities into him to make him his own “Weapon M” was one of my favorite little bits – and there’s still this great and unexpected little payoff coming with Madrox that I love. Hopefully fans will dig it too.

COMIC LOUNGE: Who are your favorite X-Men? 

THOMPSON: Oof. So many great ones to choose from! Rogue, Gambit, Armor, Emma Frost, Magik, Storm, Cyclops, Madrox, Laura (Wolverine), I also like that regular Wolverine guy!

COMIC LOUNGE: What are some of your favorite X-Men stories?

THOMPSON: I love the Joss Whedon and John Cassaday ASTONISHING X-MEN stuff and the Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s NEW X-MEN was totally groundbreaking. I also think “Messiah Complex” holds up so powerfully. But I also have a ton of affection for the stuff I read for the first time when I was a teen – a lot of Claremont and Lee stuff and of course “Age of Apocalypse” blew my young mind when I first read it. It totally reset the board for me.  

COMIC LOUNGE: What are your long term plans on the book?

THOMPSON: Well, I’m only on the book through issue 10, so if I’ve got long term plans I’m going to be super disappointed!

COMIC LOUNGE: You're also relaunching CAPTAIN MARVEL, what do you like most about writing Carol?

THOMPSON: One of my favorite things about Carol is that she’s a challenge. I sometimes shy away from super powerful characters but she’s one of the most powerful out there and she’s turning out to be a lot of fun on that front. She’s also not always the most accessible character – it can be hard to pierce her exterior and get to the heart of her, but once you do there are so many rewards.

COMIC LOUNGE: With the movie coming out do you feel any added pressure?

THOMPSON: Absolutely. Carol is about to be more important to more people than ever before…and that’s a lot of responsibility. I take it very seriously, she always been an important character but millions of people are about to discover her, especially girls and boys that haven’t seen anything like her before – they’re going to love her so much – I can’t wait. And yeah, I hope I can give some of them something else to love as well…in comic form.

COMIC LOUNGE: She has become one of the most popular characters over the past few years, why do you think her popularity has grown as much as it has?

THOMPSON: I think Carol’s a great character, she’s obviously got incredible powers but I think what fans love is how human and relatable she is. She messes up all the time, just like we all do, but she always gets up again, which is something we all need from time to time.  

COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any characters you would like to work on in the future?

THOMPSON: So many! I’d like to get back to She-Hulk someday (though I’m getting a bit of her in something soon) and I’m getting to write Emma Frost a bit in the new volume of Jessica Jones coming out next year so that’s cool. I’d love to write some more Laura (Wolverine) and Gabby. I’d love to get my hands on that Spider-Man fella. Also Wolverine (Logan) and Cyclops. I love Thor but I think his voice is ones of the toughest around so that’s both something I want and something I think maybe I should run away from. Oooh. Black Widow.

COMIC LOUNGE: Are there any other projects you're working on that you can talk about or tease?

THOMPSON: Well, I was recently announced as writing the new Sabrina series at Archie Comics and I’ll also

be doing a new volume of Nancy Drew with Jenn St-Onge for Dynamite sometime next year. But I don’t have anything else that I can announce just yet!

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