New York Comic Con (NYCC) is all about getting to geek out over the fandoms we love, but it’s also the ideal forum for innovation and community. It’s one thing to read instructional blog posts about women supporting women, especially in industries in which we’re underrepresented, but it’s a thing of beauty to see it in action.

This attitude set the tone of the Women of Marvel panel at NYCC 2015. The panel included not only talented female comic book creators, but the women who work behind the scenes at Marvel to manage and market the content.

Women of Marvel NYCC Panel

Women of Marvel NYCC Panel – Photo: TMC, The Geek Initiative

The energetic panel included Ann Foley, Afua Richardson, Stacey Lee, Erica Henderson, Margaret Stohl, Amy Reeder, Marguerite Bennett, Emily Shaw, Katie Kubert, Adri Cowan, Judy Stephens, and Sana Amanat. Check out the official panel description for more information about their roles at Marvel.

Women of Marvel: The News

Proof of progress: Just five years ago, there were zero women-led titles at Marvel.

They could do a lot better.

They did. Now there are 17.

More books! Not only are we getting a second Black Widow novel, we’re also getting a first Captain Marvel title!

A YA A-Force? LIKELY: A fan asked about the possibility of a younger A-Force and the smiles traded by the panelists all but confirmed such a project. The answer? “Be patient.”

Intersectional Feminism and Diversity: Yep, we’ll get more of that as well.

Because including women of color in the creation of comics improves representation, and Marvel should do more of that:

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Behind the Times

When it comes to the representation of women behind the scenes and on camera, most productions need help. And while Marvel courts the female demographic with shows like “Agent Carter,” it’s clear that they aren’t moving fast enough, especially when it comes to the movies.

[Tweet “One fan asked ‘where the hell is our Black Widow movie?’ at the WomenofMarvel panel. #NYCC2015”]

“Black Widow: Forever Red” writer Margaret Stohl jumped down from the stage and hugged the woman who asked the question.

The panelists’ frustration was obvious and it clearly matched the tone of the audience.

Your movies are awesome but you’re only okay when it comes to representation, Marvel. Do better!

How Can We Help?

Let’s follow the examples set by the #WomenofMarvel. Here’s how they help each other succeed:

  • Promote and purchase woman-powered Marvel media and merchandise.
  • Want a Black Widow movie? Buy Margaret Stohl‘s book and tell everyone about its awesomeness. Make some noise and don’t accept comments about ‘timing and production’ as a valid excuse for no Black Widow movie.
  • Use the #WomenofMarvel hashtag on Twitter. (Seriously, you can’t do this enough. Join the conversation! Plus, it’s a great way to connect with the fantastic women creating content at Marvel. They want to hear your input.)

  • Listen to the Women of Marvel podcast for the latest news. Let’s strengthen this community.
  • When people tell you to shut up about how we need more women leading movies and behind the scenes (at Marvel and in general), don’t listen to them.
  • Ladies: Apply at Marvel. Gentlemen: Support women who express an interest in applying. Men, you can be an ally: if you’re in the comic book or movie industries, speak out against sexism and misogyny and support the talents of qualified women.
  • Keep your conversations intersectional, supportive, and honest. This panel succeeded because the panelists were honest about their feelings, which facilitated a greater connection with their fans. White panelists always deferred to women of color when it came to diversity issues. No one talked over anyone else. The panel collectively recognized diversity issues that still existed.

[Tweet “The #WomenofMarvel panel at #NYCC collectively recognized that diversity issues still existed, especially in @Marvel films.”]

  • Call out media and companies that ignore women (and our buying power) and give some positive recognition to those that recognize our force:

Community Connection

As women in geek culture, we know what it’s like to be told we don’t belong somewhere…in a comic book store, for example. Now you can find in-person and digital communities all about your favorite character. Your Women of Marvel superheroes and fans are just a tweet away. Embrace community and reach out for support when you need it!

Women of Marvel Thor

Women of Marvel – Thor. Photo: TMC, The Geek Initiative


I’m happy to report that you’re going to need a bigger space for this panel next year.