Marvel's SIF: Swordplay & Bloodshed, That's More Her Speed
Thee hast been warned, Newsarama readers! The Maiden Sif hath cast out the foul spirit of the trickster Loki from her body, which he did wear as though it were yon suit. And if thou findest that creepy, imagine how Sif doth feel.
Fear to those who must face her fury – and that of the celestial warrior Beta Ray Bill, who doth teamest-up with her in the new one-shot Sif, deliver’d by the Comics of Marvel in March. To telleth yon tale, they called upon the fair Kelly Sue DeConnick, who hath previously written 30 Days of Night: Eben and Stella and yon ton of manga translations.
DeConnick did answereth our ridiculous questions about her plans to chronicle the rise of this she-warrior, and her upcoming projects. And with her husband Matt Fraction yon incoming scribe of Thor, we seeketh out the truth of what it is to liveth in yon Asgardian household. Wise is he who readest on, for he shall know a thousand thrills!
Newsarama: Kelly Sue, tell us your epic tale of this Asgardian mistress of the mystic blade, she with the hair of troll and heart of warrior.
Kelly Sue DeConnick: To tell you the tale, I bid you part with your $2.99, if thou whilst.
To tell you OF the tale... well, that’s a different matter entirely.
This is the story of Sif coming back—essentially from the dead, and from what Loki did to her—and finding her warrior spirit again. This is Sif working through her Ragnarök-related PTSD and coming out the other side.
I’ve said this in other interviews, but the short pitch is “Sif gets her groove back.” Of course, Sif’s groove isn’t dancing on the beach in Jamaica. It involves swordplay and bloodshed. That’s more her speed.
DeConnick: It would not, actually. Or rather, not essentially. We’ve made an effort to make this a stand-alone. If you know what she went through with Loki and if you’re familiar with her history with Beta Ray Bill, you’ll catch absolutely everything.
However, if you’ve never read a Marvel comic in your life and you understand left-to-right, top-to-bottom you should still be able to follow the story, have it make solid sense and, hopefully, enjoy it for the ass-kicking tale of restoration that it was intended to be.
Nrama: In the "Skáldskaparmál" section of Snorri Sturluson's Norse compliation The Prose Edda, Loki demonstrated his evil when he shore Sif's hair. It's safe to say that by the time of your story, things might be a bit more complicated. What analogy would you use to describe Sif's situation, and how does she respond to it? Does it involve a Trickster ass-whuppin'?
DeConnick: See the answer to question #1. And while there is ass-whuppin’ aplenty and everybody’s favorite diabolical trickster most certainly plays a role, I couldn’t tell you anything more specific without ruining your fun.
Nrama: I have but one simple question for you as a writer: What makes you dig Sif?
DeConnick: I think it’s the same thing explains my fondness for women-of-vengeance movies and the Japanese pinky violence films of the 1970s. I think... I mean, I’m a five foot tall short-tempered woman of Sicilian heritage and when someone or something pisses me off—which happens, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, on a regular basis—it’s neither socially nor ethically acceptable for me to pick up a baseball bat and crack heads. But boy... I entertain the notion about once a day. So there’s that fantasy element to Sif.
And then—stepping away from my own character defects for a moment—there’s the age-old mythic appeal of the Hero.
Nrama: And of course: What is it that compels us mortals to partake in the epic tales of Asgard?
DeConnick: What makes us read fiction at all? What’s the appeal of parable or fable? It’s the same thing that made me a nut for Greek mythology when I was a kid—these over-sized tales push our power-fantasy buttons, sure, but they also help us order our understanding of each other and our world.
I mean, we’re getting into Joseph Campbell stuff here, but this is marrow, you know? I think imagination and myth are as hard-wired into us as our appetites for sustenance and love.
Nrama: Asgard is currently based in Oklahoma, which is only one state over from where you live. What would you do if Asgardians moved into yoru neighborhood, aside from hiding your mead?
DeConnick: We moved! We’re in Portland, Oregon now. And, you know, neither Fraction nor I drink, so we’re not in the practice of stashing mead around the house.
Also, I like my skull-cracking to remain allegorical. I like my real life household to remain peaceful and full of good humor. So, we’d probably pick up the kids and move. I hear it’s quiet in the French countryside. Good food and not a lot of swordplay out that way.
Nrama: And Beta Ray Bill is in this story. What compels you about this horse-faced honorary Asgardian and godhunter? When last we saw him, his obsession with slaying the planet-eater Galactus had rendered him unworthy of weilding his uru hammer. Is this a quest for redeemption, to regain the ability to battle with the pride of the dwarven blacksmiths?
DeConnick: You know, no. Bill definitely has his role to play, but this one is squarely Sif’s adventure. She gets to be the protagonist in her own story. Bill can get his own goddamned book. (He’s already been the star of at least four recent issues that I can think of.)
Nrama: With Matt writing Thor and you writing this, what is your household like at this point? Will young Henry grow up speaking in iambic pantameter?
DeConnick: Heh. No, but wouldn’t it be fun if he did.
On the other hand, I just heard Fraction say that one of Pepper Potts’ lines from Invincible Iron Man was taken directly from something HL said. So maybe instead of HL speaking in iambic pentameter, Thor will start his adventures like Henry by holding his hammer aloft and declaring, “Let the wild rumpus staaaaaaaart!!”
Nrama: Sif had a thing with Eric Masterson, aka Thunderstrike. Does that come up any in that story?
DeConnick: It does not, but don’t think for a moment that I didn’t consider working it in.
Nrama: So tell us about your artist...let me check the solicitation…TBD. Okay. Were you famliar with TBD’s work prior to this project? What does TBD bring to the story?
DeConnick: Ryan Stegman! Ryan Stegman! TBD is totally Ryan Stegman.
No, alas, I was not familiar with his work before this project; I believe he was suggested to Alejandro by CB Cebulski. When Alejandro sent me his samples, I swooned.
Nrama: Would you wish to chronicle more tales of the Thunder God's great love?
DeConnick: I would jump at the chance, yes. I believe the lady’s dance card is full, however. Alas.
Nrama: What else have you got coming down the pipeline?
DeConnick: I’ve two more projects for Marvel that are confirmed and one proposal in the pipeline that you should feel free to think good thoughts for.
I’ve got a couple of anthology projects coming—both of which partner me with CHUCK BB. (I am a big CHUCK BB fan; because as an 8-year-old girl I was a member of the KISS army, I have convinced myself that Chuck and I are kindred spirits. He likely finds this terrifying.) Unfortunately I don’t think any of these projects is announced yet, so all I can say is keep your eyes peeled.
And of course, I’m privileged enough to continue writing the English adaptation of Takehiko Inoue’s Slam Dunk for Viz.
Nrama: What's your favorite Asgardian phrase?
DeConnick: Does KKRAKKA-DOOOM count?
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?
DeConnick: Not unless you have any suggestions as to what I should make for dinner. Fraction’s gone to pick up Henry from school and I’m just realizing I’ve neglected to make a meal plan.
Time to leave Asgard behind for the real world; I’m going to go open the refrigerator and riff.
Sif wields her mighty blade this March
Zack Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a regular contributor to Newsarama.