ND Stevenson is one of the most vibrant comic creators of a generation, creating such hits as Nimona and Lumberjanes and even helping Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power become so great. But even he has trouble telling some stories - especially stores about being transgender.
"Now, I’m finding I’m still afraid of telling trans stories. I’m still trying to tell stories about women," Stevenson said recently at Thought Bubble. "I think this is the next frontier for me, but what does it look like to tell stories from that point of view?"
Stevenson, who in 2020 revealed he was nonbinary, says that the titular star of his graphic-novel-turned-movie Nimona is gender non-confirming and uses she/her pronouns, but there's more.
"What are the stories that haven't been told?" Stevenson says, "It’s a whole new world I’m really excited about. Like, stop being afraid. Just do it."
It's invigorating to see Stevenson challenging himself, and he was open with the audience that he doesn't have all the answers. But he's asking questions.
"I will let you know when I figure it out. I think it’s something where, you watch a movie that has every single things that you like, and you’re still like I don’t like that," says the cartoonist. "On paper, you can be like, 'I love everything about this character, but it’s not really resonating with me.' You can’t just have a ‘Just do this and you’ll be golden.’"
Stevenson says that while promoting the Netlix animated adaptation of Nimona, "it’s been interesting because ‘representation matters’ sounds hollow when it’s coming from a corporation, but then you see what it means to people who finally see themselves on screen."
While Stevenson says there's "no one right answer" as to what does it mean that representation matters, there's not enough of it.
"What we have is there’s a real dearth of stories out there. What are the stories that we already love, and how do we interpret those themes?" Stevenson says. "Those stories are out there, we already respond to them, how do we broaden those experiences and create something new in the process?"
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