Lead women superhero arcs conceptualized and executed by women in comics speak much louder than those created by their male counterparts, not because of gender disparities but because of relatability and relevance. This year at NYCC‘s virtual space, writers Karla Pacheco (Spider-Woman, Fearless, The Punisher) and Leah Williams (X-Factor, Gwenpool Strikes Back, Amazing Mary Jane) and editors Sarah Brunstad (Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Star), Lauren Bisom (Miles Morales: Shockwaves), and Ellie Pyle (The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Universe vs. The Avengers) hopped on a video conference—thanks, COVID— for the Women of Marvel panel, where they revealed some of their latest projects and inspirations.
Sarah Brunstad recently wrapped the Kelly Thompson-penned Empyre arc, which introduced Carol Danvers’ half-sister, Lauri-Ell, on her mother’s side. A new storyline begins with the upcoming issue #22, and Brunstad says here will be some “heartbreaking choices” made but since it’s a “classic Kelly Thompson story, it’s like any fan of hers is going to just eat this up.” Brunstad also said Al Ewing will be placing Lauri-Ell in Kree/Skrull space age stories and those involving Hulkling, as she has taken up the Kree Accuser mantle.
“I am super pumped to introduce a new villain in Captain Marvel — you don’t get to meet him in the first issue,” Brunstad said. “When we were doing the character designs and stuff for him, my mandate to (incoming artist) Lee Garbett was: thirsty as possible.”
The first arc of the series, also written by Thompson and illustrated by Elena Casagrande, has kicked off (SPOILER ALERT) with Natasha Romanoff being trapped by Arcade in an alternate universe where she has a son. This series will dive into Nat’s family dynamics as she slowly recalls her spy life.
Miles Morales: Shockwaves
Editor Lauren Bison describes the forthcoming Miles Morales: Shockwaves graphic novel as a non-continuity young adult book, and the first of a series of Scholastic releases featuring well-known Marvel characters. An earthquake in Puerto Rico, Morales’ mother’s birthplace, kicks off the adventure in this book. Check out the scoop here!
Karla Pacheco revealed that Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman has a brother, Michael Marchand, whom she discovers in the latest series. The fifth issue is also the legacy #100 of all Jessica Drew’s series, 43 years after she first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32! Among others, Drew’s mother makes a comeback, Jessica’s niece makes an entry, and there’s a new villain on the block called Octavia Vermes. “We’ve got some tie-ins, it’s not quite a crossover but it ties into what’s going on in King in Black,” Pacheco revealed.
“I’ve been joking that issue seven is the one that’s going to have every reader calling for my blood. And that just delights me because I’m fairly evil when it comes to that,” Pacheco giggled. Also gear up for some “big emotional upsets”.
Leah Williams is excited about the fourth issue in the X-Factor series, which tied-in with the X of Swords event, because it’s “ridiculous, over the top, delicious and wildly addictive.” Williams joined the Dawn of X crew as a second generation writer. “I wasn’t picking from a blank roster so I was very tactical about it,” Williams explained. “My approach was to first think about characters I’m already obsessed with.”
Williams chose to include speedster Northstar in X-Factor since he was up for grabs. “He’s mine. He’s going to be a great team leader because he’s this gay anti-fascist anarchist-like agitator. He asked a lot of questions,” Williams added. “He doesn’t trust bureaucracy or the government. He was basically brainwashed to not have any feelings of love or romance or sexuality anymore, and so for queer characters, that shoves you back in the closet, and it was very difficult to write that as a queer woman.” And that radicalized Northstar, she said, and primed him to be in a leadership position.
Polaris is another character that Williams was afraid of exploring given her daunting family background and her heavy legacy. “She made me nervous, she has such a complicated history,” Williams said. “[Polaris] is in a position to explore her relationship with her father [Magneto, for newbies] and her true identity.” After talking to a couple of her friends, who are also fans, Williams found Polaris’ untapped potential.
Williams also recently finished writing a hauntedhouse issue of X-Factor. “We’re really diving into the mystery of how Prodigy died and why he’s repowered now, because it’s been kept a secret up till now,” Williams said.
Ellie Pyle teased a possible audiobook for Ms. Marvel with a returning character. “There’s something else like that coming along, not with Kamala but with another great female character who might be getting a return visit from a writer who is associated with her.”
With that, NYCC’s Women of Marvel panel wrapped up!
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