Beware the Valkyries

Kelly Williams

What’s your name?  
Kelly Williams

Kelly WilliamsWhich shop do you work at?
Big Planet Comics in Vienna, VA

What do you do for your shop?
General bookseller stuff.  I also run their tumblr.

How long have you worked there?
Since July.

What are some of your favorite comics?
The Sixth Gun is far and away my fave.  The world stops when a new issue comes out.  Sandman was the first comic I ever read, and I adore it still.  I also love Hawkeye, Pretty Deadly, Sex Criminals, Saga, Ultimate Spider-Man, Young Avengers, Ghost, Avengers Assemble, Ghosted, Six Gun Gorilla, and Captain Marvel.  And a ton more, but I am attempting restraint (and failing, clearly).

Who are some of your favorites in the comics biz?
Kelly Sue Deconnick, Mr. Fraction, Brian Michael Bendis, Emma Rios, Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire, Cliff Chiang, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Jeff Stokely, Joe Quinones, Maris Wicks, Francesco Francavilla, and Natasha Allegri.

Who are some of your favorite comic book characters?
Miles Morales, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Fionna the Human, America Chavez, Pizza Dog, Hawkguy & Lady Hawkguy.  I like lady heroes who solve their problems by punching them.

What is your most prized comic book or collector’s item?
I’m too new to comics to have really collected anything, but my copy of Pretty Deadly #1 was signed by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios, and that’s pretty rad.

Which comics do you recommend the most often?
Pretty Deadly & Sex Criminals

What kind of events does your shop participate in or host?
We’re pretty small, but we do the occasional signing.  We’re good buds with the folks who put on the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD, and we always buy a ton of mini-comics for the shop (we’re pretty indie-heavy).

Favorite webcomics/webcomic creators?
I used to read so, so many webcomics, and I just don’t have time anymore.  But I make an effort to stay up-to-date with Gunnerkrigg Court, Bad Machinery, Nimona, Johnny Wander, and Help Us Great Warrior.  And I love just about everything the creators behind them (Tom Siddell, John Allison, Noelle Stevenson, Yuko Ota and Anath Panagariya, and Madeleine Flores, respectively), have done.  Oh oh oh, and Zac Gorman.  And Lucy Knisely!

If you could only read one graphic novel for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
This is tough!  I recently read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg and I wanted to climb inside of it, so I’ll go with that.
What other things are you a fan of (TV shows, novels, movies, etc)?
I’m a well-rounded nerd!  I love Doctor Who, Stargate, just about anything Whedon, nearly anything animated (Adventure Time & Gravity Falls in particular), and a vast variety of tv shows.  I love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, anything by Shannon Hale or Kristen Cashore, and pretty much anything that Neil Gaiman creates.  I also love me some video games.
Do you collect anything?
Weird things.  Before I fell in love with comics, I studied art history, and I’ve collected art for most of my life.  That hasn’t extended to comics originals yet, but I suppose that’s inevitable.  I also collect vintage illustrated storybooks, globes, stereographs, and tiny snow globes (I try to bring one home from everywhere I travel). And books, but that’s more an addiction.
If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?  What would you use it for?
I’d like something like Door has in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.  If I could create or open doors and if those doors could take me to far off places, that would be aces.  I would use it for my own entertainment, and also to buy many tiny snow globes from all over the world.
Do you believe there is other life in the universe, and if so, what do you imagine it looks like?
I do!  I have no idea what it looks like, but I’m guessing probably nothing like us.
Do you go to any conventions?
I find cons inherently terrifying, which has nothing to do with the cons themselves and everything to do with the sheer number of people crowded into single spaces.  But SPX is just my size, and I go every year.
Are you a cosplayer? If so, what characters have you cosplayed?
I have never cosplayed!  But I got inspired by a couple characters this year (I want to look like America Chavez all the time), so that might change.
Outside of the day job, what other cool stuff are you working on?
I write a lot in my spare time.  I have trouble finishing things, however.
Tell us an uplifting story about working in your shop!
A family came in one day looking for a present for their daughter, who was a huge fan of Loki.  They’d clearly never been in a comics shop before, but they took their time, asking lots of questions and checking out every book or issue we had that featured him.  I loved how determined they were to find the perfect thing.
What do you love about being a Valkyrie?
My circle of IRL comics-reading friends is tiny, so I live for the enthusiastic discussion that goes on in the facebook group everyday.
How can we find you on the vast expanse of the internet?
Tumblr, mainly!  Either at the Big Planet Comics tumblr, or my personal account, door.  I’m also on Instagram and twitter as @akadoor.