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Women in Comics: Three Writers Who Are Dominating the Industry by Angela Rairden

Captain Marvel comic book writers Gail SImone Kelly Sue DeConnick Kelly Thompson Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month and, as such, I wanted to make a few blog posts this month about female comic book creators. I thought that I would start out by writing about a few really badass female comic book writers whom I, as a female comic book fan and a writer myself, really look up to. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

KELLY SUE DECONNICK

DeConnick’s 2012 run of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel is what first really got me into comics. She wrote Carol as a strong and capable woman who was also very human and relatable. I was instantly hooked, and Captain Marvel has been one of my top two favorite comic book characters ever since.

DeConnick got her start in comics by first editing and adapting mangas into English for Tokyopop. She did this for seven years and estimates that she translated and wrote more than 11,000 pages, crediting this time as why so many fans have told her that her dialogue writing is exceptional. She eventually transitioned into writing English language comics, one of the first being 30 Days of Night: Eben and Stella. In 2013, she wrote Image’s western horror comic Pretty Deadly and in 2014 she penned the feminist dystopian series Bitch Planet, which was also for Image and was a direct response to being told that her portrayal of Captain Marvel was “too feminist”.

Known for being a strong advocate for women in comics, DeConnick resides in Oregon with her husband, fellow comic book writer Matt Fraction, and their two children. I’ve had the privilege of meeting her a couple of times at both Oregon’s Rose City Comicon and Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon and found her to be funny, charming, and attentive. Below you can enjoy a couple of selfies I’ve taken with her. DeConnick’s only rule for selfies is that “duck lips” must be done in the photo. As it turns out, I don’t know how to do duck lips…

                                  

GAIL SIMONE

First of all, if you’re on Twitter and you’re not following Gail Simone, you’re seriously missing out. I don’t even want to write about why you’re missing out. Just, go to her Twitter and be amused.

Before she was a comic book writer, Simone helped found a website in 1999 titled Women in Refrigerators. The title came from a scene in Green Lantern #54, in which the title character’s girlfriend was murdered and shoved in a refrigerator for the Green Lantern to later find. The website focused on exposing instances when female superheroes had undergone some sort of trauma (including being murdered) simply to further the storyline of a male superhero.

Later, she wrote a long-running column for Comic Book Resources titled You’ll All Be Sorry!, in which she used her sharp wit to pen humorous and satirical posts about the comic book industry. It was this column that eventually led to her foray into mainstream comics in 2002 by working on Marvel’s Deadpool run. However, Simone is most known for her work for DC on Birds of Prey in 2003, Wonder Woman in 2007, and Batgirl in 2011. So beloved is Simone’s writing that, when she was fired from Batgirl in 2012, DC received so much backlash from fans that she was almost immediately rehired.

Residing in her native Oregon, Simone is known as being one of the most influential women in comics. Beginning with her work with Women in Refrigerators, she is heralded as a voice for women and has helped raise awareness of the representation of women in comics. Furthermore, as sassy as she is on Twitter, Simone is someone who always takes time for her fans. In fact, for some reason that I’ve never understood but have been known to brag about, she followed me back on Twitter when I first followed her a few years ago. It is my one small claim to fame.

KELLY THOMPSON

Like Gail Simone, Kelly Thompson got her start in comics by first writing a column for Comic Book Resources. Titled She Has No Head!, the column focused on women in comics. From there, Thompson crowdfunded a novel she penned titled “The Girl Who Would be King”, about two young women who discover that they have extraordinary powers and the decisions they must make about whether they will use those powers for good or for evil.

In 2015, Thompson began writing for IDW’s new Jem and the Holograms series, which she worked on for two years. However, it wasn’t until she co-wrote Marvel’s Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps with none other than Kelly Sue DeConnick that I first started noticing her. A few years after that, she became the writer for the Rogue & Gambit series, which I had added to my pull list because of my deep love for Rogue and Gambit. This was followed by Mr & Mrs X, a comic about Rogue and Gambit’s life as a married couple, and it was at this point that I realized that Thompson wasn’t only writing some of my favorite characters, but she was also becoming one of my favorite comic book writers.

In 2019, Thompson took over writing the Captain Marvel series from DeConnick, and my love for her writing was sealed. She took Carol to places that she had never gone before, developing a new and more detailed (honestly, more logical) backstory for her and furthering her as an icon for equality by having her face off with openly misogynistic villain, Nuclear Man.

Thompson is currently still kicking ass on Captain Marvel while also writing the new, but quite good, Black Widow comic. She is definitely a writer that has a bright future in comics, and I’m excited to see it.

 

Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.



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