Comic-Con 2009 Update #7 – Women of Marvel

On the final day of this year’s Comic Con was the Women of Marvel panel.  No, Rogue and She-Hulk were not present.  These were the talented women that work at Marvel who assemble a wide array of those stories we love to read.  Panelists included (but were not limited to) editor Jen Grünwald, colorist-extraordinaire Laura Martin and the brilliant mind of writer Marjorie Liu. 

The panelists provided answers to a wide variety of questions ranging from comic book work to gender-specific inquiries.  Let’s face it; the world of comic books is a male-dominated industry on both sides of the business.  Nevertheless, the women involved on the creation of these works can rumble with the best in the business illustrating some of the most heated conflicts and writing some of the most intriguing stories. 

There was one moment in particular when one of the panelists, Christina Strain, reflected on a cover she previously helped create, featuring some scantly-clad but powerful female heroes from the Marvel universe.  Apparently one journalist penned his thoughts on the artwork at the time, saying it was sexist and demeaning toward women, to which Ms. Strain said, “You don’t need to rescue me…I wouldn’t have worked on it if I thought it was terrible.”  Kudos to her in this over-sensitive age we live in!  For anyone not familiar with female comic book characters, let me just say that while their attire may be very accentuating, they are quite capable in saving the day or wreaking havoc around the globe.  

At the end of the 60-minute talk, I was able to speak with writer Marjorie Liu and her work on Dark Wolverine and NYX.  I wanted to know how a writer and artist work in tandem.  To my surprise, the answer was a simple one.  If the writer is working on frame 1 of page 3, then the artist is right there with them.  As character expressions need to accurately reflect the tone of dialogue, the artist needs to make certain he or she is on the same page, both literally and figuratively, as the writer.  Should there be a difference of opinion on a specific piece, changes are typically not of a grandiose scale as any alterations are quickly remedied. 

As far as the amount of time it takes to finish the writing and artwork for one 22-page issue, it can be done in as quickly as one week.  Ironically enough, Dark Wolverine is merely a side job for Marjorie Liu.  Her primary focus is on her novel writing which consists of X-Men: Dark Mirror and the Hunter Kiss series, just to name a few.

While women in the comic book business continue to shed any pre-conceived stereotypes bestowed upon them, Ms. Liu said it best regarding a question about gender-specific writing.  “For me as a writer, I don’t care about writing man or woman. I care about personality.  I care about what this character brings to the table.”         


WSB.com Author Gregg Senko and Marvel Comics writer Marjorie Liu.

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