By Ani Bundel
Though women-centered stories are relatively new in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, women superheroes in Marvel have been staples of the comics world since 1941’s Miss Fury. Since 2014, the Women Of Marvel podcast, hosted by Ellie Pyle, Angélique Roché, and Judy Stephens, has chronicled female superheroes on the screen and on the page. They’ve also become a staple of San Diego Comi-Con with their yearly “Women of Marvel” panel
For 2022, host Angélique Roché assembled superhero comic writers Rebecca Roanhorse, Nic Stone, Jessica Malloy, and Lauren Bisom to talk about what’s coming next in the world of women-centered comic stories. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe having announced a significant slate for Phase 5 (and a sneak peek at Phase 6) less than 24 hours prior, it was notable that nearly everything coming to the page ties in to or spins off of forthcoming titles like Wakanda Forever, She-Hulk, and The Marvels.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur had their own panel earlier during the con. Still, since Marvel Comics senior editor Lauren Bisom is heading up Moon Girl’s adventures, the discussion covered her impending team-up with Miles Morales to help find Devil Dinosaur after the latter disappears. The panel also covered Nic Stone’s Shuri trilogy about the young Wakanda princess at 13. Stone said she loves writing about Shuri, as stories about young genius black girls going on adventures didn’t exist when she was growing up.
Rebecca Roanhorse only had a one-shot to promote, a Halloween-themed Moon Knight adventure, Crypt of Shadows. Part of that is her recent invitation to be part of the Echo writers’ room for the show’s first season on Disney+ (now in production). Sadly, she was under strict orders not to talk about it, so fans will have to wait until 2023 to see what Phase 5 has in store.
The panel also gave shout-outs to a few novels and comics of note by other female writers heading to shelves soon, like Preeti Chhibber’s middle-grade-aimed Spider-Man novel, Spider-Man’s Social Dilemma, and Karama Horne’s Protectors of Wakanda, a history of the Dora Milaje. Also, MacKenzie Lee has a new release, The Winter Soldier, focused on Bucky’s origins as the Soldier, out in February 2023. (Her Gamora and Nebula is currently on shelves now.)
During the Q&A, an audience member asked the panel at one point if a certain female VP of the USA might be making a cameo, much like President Obama did back when he was in office. However, no one could confirm or deny those rumors, but it set the panel talking about the personal as political. For those who feel discouraged by the recent backlash to the gains women have made in society this past decade, Stone told the room not to let defeat swallow them. “It’s up to everyone in this room to create hope,” she told the packed audience. The panel also reminded us that reading creates empathy, and reading stories different from ours is one way to keep us out of an echo chamber.
Roché ended the panel by having the audience turn as one to have a group photo taken commemorating this bringing together of like-minded comics lovers in one space, as everyone received a special edition comic featuring all the significant women in the Marvelverse. As one of the biggest panels on SDCC 2022’s final day, it helped fans go out on a high note.
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