Recently I had the chance to attend the Women Of Marvel event at Santa Monica Public Library to celebrate the release of Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red young adult novel. I felt inspired by the talented women who are making a fun, positive impact in the world of comics, television, social media, and cinema.
Ann Foley, Judy Stephens, Marguerite Bennett & Lorraine Cink joined Stohl on a panel, to talk about everything Marvel, covering comics and more. A special guest also showed up, but more on that later. If you don’t know these names, here’s a quick brief:
- Marguerite Bennett – Writer, Marvel’s A-Force, DC’s Bombshells
- Lorraine Cink – Host/Writer, Marvel’s The Watcher & event coverage
- Ann Foley – Costume Designer, Agents Of Shield (Season 1 -Present)
- Judy Stephens – Producer, Marvel.com
And that special guest? Agents of Shield’s Jemma Simmons herself, Elizabeth Henstridge showed up in the audience! Topics of the panel (moderated by Cink) included how they got into comics, breaking into & dealing with the male dominated industry, cosplaying, Stohl’s book Forever Red and more. All of the talent above came from all walks of life but one thing is clear – they LOVE comics and respect the medium.
Here are some quotes from the event:
Breaking into with the industry:
“Things worth achieving don’t come easy so you have to work for them. Dreams do come true if you work your butt off.” – Margaret Stohl
Role models & dealing with male dominated industries:
“My mother decided she wanted to go into computer science in the 1960s. She was one of the few women in the science world, so I was never worried that in photography, comics, film/tv working in these predominately male communities I was going to have a problem because I saw my mother first and foremost.” – Judy Stephens
“My mom basically taught me to have no fear, listen to my instincts, follow my heart – which is why I moved to Los Angeles after college with $500.” – Ann Foley
“As much as I love Disney and aspirational heroines, it becomes a detriment when aspirational figures are all little girls see but there’s nothing that acknowledges that it’s okay to screw up or not be perfect.” – Marguerite Bennett
Getting into & writing comics/novels:
“I wrote a 70 page treatment and threw it out, I read 100 spy books, I wrote the treatment again, I spoke with two Russian professors, I consulted with online video games guys on weapons munitions and the history and really got into it.” – Margaret Stohl on writing Forever Red
“How I got into comics and superheroes in general was through Batman: The Animated Series when I was five years old. It caught my attention because it was this dark, noir series and so much of children’s entertainment is bright, colorful and hyper-sanitized.” – Marguerite Bennett
“I grew up as a fan and made weird videos with a friend in New York City. I wrote a song called “Talk Nerdy to Me” that got passed around at Marvel when they were looking for someone new to write and host their web content.” – Lorraine Cink
After the panel the audience got to participate in a Q&A which included a series of contests & giveaways (Alien Universe or Cheese), where yours truly won a New York Comic Con exclusive Agents of Shield/Agent Carter double sided poster, later signed by Ms. Henstridge herself.
Overall, this was a great event for a casual and die-hard Marvel fans. It was inspiring, fun and displayed great insights into the future of women in comics — a future that looks very bright indeed.