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Please don't be alarmed: Stephanie Williams is in demand and on a roll

How the writer of Nubia: Queen of the Amazons and Marvel's Voices Infinity Comic: The Family Snikt went from clinical lab work to comic book bylines

Photograph of Stephanie Williams
Image credit: Stephanie Williams

Comics writer Stephanie Williams has contributed to the canon of Nubia, Storm, Moon Girl, Shuri, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch and more, having quickly amassed writer credits in more than 30 works between DC and Marvel alone since 2021.

Photograph of Stephanie Williams
Image credit: Stephanie Williams

It's an exciting, ongoing run for the North Carolina-based comic writer and editor, who balances work on indie projects like 'Affirmation Fairy,' an upcoming one-shot for Gladiolus Magazine from Black Josei Press, and her Kickstarter-backed fancomic Living Heroes, both of which are illustrated by O'Neill Jones. Williams will also adapt Maggie Stiefvater's bestselling prose novel series The Raven Cycle into a graphic novel series with artist Sas Milledge for Viking.

"Back to a chaotic schedule and embracing pure delusion. Something my Gemini heart, unfortunately, loves," wrote Williams in February 2023 on Twitter, where she is arguably as prolific as she is in print.

Popverse connected with Williams about her comic writing origin story, why she thinks social media isn't all bad, and what it means to her to become a steward of the superheroes and characters she grew up with.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Popverse: If there was ever a Twitter feed to follow, it's yours. Among the hilarious X-Men memes you create and share is a range of writers' truths. How has taking breaks on, rather than from, social media helped you through your work?

Stephanie Williams: It’s been a balancing act I’m still trying to figure out. The breaks from social media are good, especially when I’m in the thick of things. Sometimes the exposure to so many opinions can be overwhelming and make Miss Anxiety step into her full power to ruin my peace of mind.

Then there are times when scrolling social media helps to take my mind off things by guiding me to new things to check out or try, be it a show, movie, book, video game, or some new recipe for cookies I don’t need to bake but will.

What was your first credit as a comic writer?

If we’re talking in print with well-known company credits, it would be Marvel's Voices Legacy #1: Panic at the Supermarket where I got to work with the amazing Natacha Bustos.

Photograph of a comic book page
Image credit: Christine Pasalo Norland

How did you react when you learned Natacha Bustos would be the artist on it?

I was ecstatic! I was a huge fan of her work on the Moon Girl series so it was truly a dream come true. I’m still a huge fan, and I hope we can work together again in the future.

Did you go to school for creative writing?

I didn’t. I majored in biological science and went to work in research and clinical labs right after college. I had no idea I’d be writing comics professionally one day.

A resource like The Standard Comic Script from Steenz and Camilla Zhang has only been around since 2022 to help writers consider another way (not an "only" way) to draft comics scripts. How did you learn how to write for comics?

I’m so happy they took the time to create that. It’s hard to start something when you don’t know how to begin.

Cover of Nubia and the Amazons
Image credit: DC Comics

When I got serious about writing comics, I remembered a few special edition comics [that] I had included the scripts in them. I love researching and seeking out the info I need. So, I went back and looked at those, studying them and how they translated to the finished comic page, then I took what I felt worked best for me and went from there. My scripts from 2019 are night and day from my scripts now. There is always room to evolve in your writing.

It feels like your path into writing comics professionally began with writing your own webcomic–Parenthood Activate–with artist Sarah Macklin, and writing about comics and pop culture. Which was your first pop culture writer credit?

The Evolution of the Dora Milaje, from comics to movie for SYFYFANGRRLS. Funny enough, it was that piece the editor at DC, Brittany Holzherr, read and thought I’d be a good fit for Nubia and the Amazons.

And how did the opportunity to write for come about?

Someone put me on the radar of an editor there. They loved many of the pieces I had written for SYFYFANGRRLS and thought I had a strong voice. I was flattered, to say the least, because many of those pieces were me talking about characters and stories that I found important or funny. I was doing me when I wrote them, so it’s always nice to have people respect your work when it’s you at your core.

On February 10, 2022, you tweeted that you "finally" reached out to a literary agent. What has it been like navigating and negotiating without an agent up until this point?

It’s been incredible, but I feel bad sometimes because new work has still been coming directly to me, and then I have to loop my agent in. He is the best, though, and I’m thankful to have Eric Smith as my agent. In fact, I owe him an author packet that he asked for way back in November.

Do you have goals to introduce new characters in any existing universe, one you're already writing for or one you've yet to break into?

Thankfully, I introduced a few new characters into the DCU while working on Nubia. If the opportunity presented itself to introduce any more new characters, I’d be game. I would love to write something for the Alien franchise. That’s where I’d like to introduce a new character, a Black woman, of course. Outside of that, any new characters I introduce, I want to be in the world of my creation.

What's it like to know that you're contributing to fandoms, from your own to the fandoms of others?

Surreal. It’s exciting and stressful at the same time. Fandoms are intense, but I have to remind myself that I’m a fan, too, and I care just as much.

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Christine Pasalo Norland avatar
Christine Pasalo Norland: Christine Pasalo Norland is a storyteller whose work prioritizes people who aren't typically given space or treated with dimension. As the founder and president of Hello Barkada, she publishes articles, comics, and resources for, about, and by creators and fans from historically underrepresented communities, and produces programs like the cultural criticism show The Call Out with film & culture critic Jonita Davis and the artist interview series Allowed. Her downtime is spent playing covers on her ukulele, watching shows on streamers, growing her TBR piles, and listening to her son discuss Super Mario Maker levels.
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