The first black women to write for Marvel Comics are a trio of talented creators for The Culture that have helped change representation in comics, both on the page and behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, Marvel comics, a company founded in 1939 waited until 2016 to hire it’s first Black woman to write for them, hiring three that year to be exact. But since their debut, more black writers, artists, and characters have joined the Marvel comic book universe so check out these three legit comic book trailblazers.
Nilah Magruder made history as officially the first Black woman to write for Marvel Comics when her work debuted in “A Year of Marvels: September Infinite Comic #1,” a crossover story featuring Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy and Tippy-Toe, Squirrel Girl’s animal sidekick, with the cover done by Jamal Campbell. It was a digital only one-shot story, but it is a piece of black comic book history. She also went on to work on the series Marvel Rising and Vault of Spiders writing Miles Morales, Kamal Khan, and America Chavez.
And prior to her Marvel first status, she was the first winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics in 2015 for her indie web comic M.F.K., a fantasy adventure about a deaf girl with a mysterious power, traveling across the desert to scatter her mother’s ashes, all written and illustrated my Magruder herself. She has also forged a career as a storyboard artist, animator for film and television, and an illustrator for children’s books.
Many outlets credit Roxanne Gay as the first, but she’s actually Marvel’s second black female writer. She is a professor, editor, and social commentator as well as a National Book Award winner and New York Times best selling author of The Bad Feminist. She teamed up with Ta-Nehisi Coates for “Black Panther: World of Wakanda” which launched two months after Magruder’s Marvel debut in November of 2016.
Gay’s story revolves around two of the Dora Milaje, Ayo and Aneka, who are falling in love with each other…and out of love with T’Challa, choosing to serve the people of Wakanda instead of it’s monarchy and eventually starting a revolution. Gay also participated in the Marvel Voices initiative focusing on telling the stories of diverse creators and their unique perspectives through a podcast and a one-shot comic book.
Harvey is an award-winning author and poet of the You Don’t Have To Go To Mars for Love collection. She became the third woman to join Marvel in 2016 when she worked with both Gay and Coates as a writer on issue #1 of “World of Wakanda”. Harvey wrote the origin story of World’s revolutionary leader Zenzi, a character she based on Winnie Mandela.
She also contributed to another Black Panther run with Coates, “Black Panther and The Crew” as well as Reginald Hudlin’s Black Panther run. Harvey wrote her first comic, an issue of “Flatbush Maiden,” as an undergraduate at Howard University and has also worked with teenagers writing about mental health issues in collaboration with Creative Nonfiction magazine.
We hope you enjoyed this look at the First Black Women to Write For Marvel Comics. Check out more of our black superhero content:
Written by @TalentedMrFord