Over the 4th of July weekend, I had the pleasure of talking with acclaimed writer Jeremy Whitley (“Princeless”, “Secret Love: The Story of Misty Knight and Iron Fist”, and “My Little Pony”) and his upcoming project. Black Girl Nerds is excited to have another opportunity to talk with Jeremy and see what he has in store.  

Grace: So let’s not waste anytime and get to meat of everything…you are currently working on a Marvel story in “Civil War II: Choosing Sides #2” set to be released on July 13th, can you tell us the project and what it entails?

Jeremy Whitley: Sure. It’s an eight-page story, which I wrote and was drawn by superstar artist Marguerite Sauvage.  It takes place at and after the funeral of James Rhodes, which people might have seen in Captain America: Sam Wilson in the last month.

While Captain America tells the straightforward story of Sam giving a eulogy for Rhodey, I was given the task of telling the story of some other people who are uniquely affected by Rhodey’s death.  The idea was that I would pitch a character who might deal with this death differently and tell their story.  What actually happened is that I pitched four different characters who I had ideas for and Editor Wil Moss said “All of these are great ideas, let’s do them all.”

So instead of having one eight page story following one character, the story is made up of four two-page stories that allow us to delve into the head of four women: America Chavez, Monica Rambeau, Misty Knight, and Storm.

Grace: Readers also get to see that there are 3 women of color as lead characters (Monica Rambeau [one of my faves!!], Storm [another fave!!], and America Chavez), how do each play a role in this particular Marvel story? Also what are your thoughts about each of these characters?

Jeremy: Oooh, actually the story is told from the point of view of four of the women of color in the Marvel Universe. Misty Knight is also in there too!

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The idea of this story is that it’s not so much about how they affect the story as how the story affects them.  The four stories are all pretty personal and really give the reader a chance to get inside each of the characters’ heads.  Everybody deals with the death of someone close to them differently.

Anybody who read my Secret Wars: Secret Love story with Misty last year should know exactly how I feel about Misty.  She is hands down one of my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe and a character who I feel is often criminally underused.  Misty relates strongly to Rhodey, being as they are both normal humans who regularly go toe to toe with demigods.

Monica Rambeau is an amazing character who has been been a member of and led the Avengers in the past.  She’s seen it all, done it all, and she is literally as fast as the speed of light.  She expects a lot of herself and has the burden of having been there when Rhodey died and knowing she had the power to save him and wasn’t able to.

America Chavez has been one of my favorite characters since I read her in Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers.  She has so much potential both as a character and as a hero.  She can move freely between different realities, which gives her a different sense of things.  How do you deal with death when you know there are hundreds of versions of that person still alive out there?  How do you determine what matters when you know this reality is only one of many possibilities?

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Storm was actually a late entry for me.  I had pitched another character in this spot initially, but that character turned out not to be available.  In the time where we were waiting to hear that for sure, I read the Captain America issue with Rhodey’s funeral, where Storm was present.  When I had to choose another character for this spot I thought, “Hey, what if I chose literally the best character in the Marvel Universe whom I’ve been dying to write as long as I’ve been writing.”  So I suggested Storm and they said I could use her.  So I lovingly wrote two pages of Storm and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Grace: Since there are 4 women in the lead within this story, which is very significant, what do you hope readers/followers will get from seeing these women in the forefront?

Jeremy: As these are four women who are currently only appearing in team books or as supporting characters, I’m hoping that readers will get a chance to see both the depth and difference between these characters.  It’s told in four voices, all of which I think are very different.  Out of these four leads, I think every one of them could carry a compelling and fantastic solo book.  I probably don’t have the readership to make that happen myself, but I think if readers react strongly enough to this story and Marvel sees it, perhaps we may get to see some of these characters get more time in the spotlight.

I think when people see a lack of books led by women of color, people just think the characters aren’t there.  I want people to know that in the Marvel Universe there are absolutely several women of color who could carry their own book.

Grace: In this story readers are introduced to a showcasing of art from Marguerite Sauvage, can you tell us about her past and present work and also how you both connected? Also can we look forward to future work from Sauvage?

Jeremy: So, somebody at Marvel must love me.  On my Secret Love story I got a call that Gurihiru was “available” and would I “like to work with them?”  Of course my answer was yes.  This time I got basically the same call, but with Marguerite Sauvage.

I ran into Marguerite’s work first in “Sensation Comics” at DC where she did one of my favorite renditions of Wonder Woman to date.  I knew as soon as I saw that story that I needed to keep an eye out for her work.  Over the last couple of years, she’s been cleaning house.  She’s done work recently on Scarlet Witch as well as work on Ms. Marvel, Thor, Faith, Red Sonja, and DC Bombshells.  Her work is beautiful and distinct in a way I thought was perfect for this story.

True story, I actually went back and wrote some clothing changes into the script so that Marguerite’s amazing flair for fashion would have a chance to shine.

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Grace: And what future projects do you have in the pipeline with Marvel and/or with your own work?

Jeremy: I do have some other projects lined up for Marvel, though I can’t talk about them just yet.  I would encourage people to keep an eye out, though!  Maybe in the next few weeks or so…

Beyond that, my two creator owned series “Princeless” and “Raven: The Pirate Princess” are continuing to come out.  There are new adventures in every issue.  We’re also preparing to launch our Princeless anthology, a project for which all the profits will go to charity, with stories written and illustrated by some of the most amazing people in comics who aren’t me!

I’m also working on a couple of pitches for new series that I’m hoping people will get to see in the next year some time.

Grace: Is there anything else you would like to add/share with the BGN readers?

Jeremy: If you’re interested in picking up Choosing Sides #2, I would definitely recommend letting your local shop know!  Tie-ins are often under ordered and I’m thinking there’s a good chance this might end up hard to find in the same way Secret Love was last year.  Also, try and get the variant cover.  It’s beautiful!

Grace: Thanks again Jeremy for the taking the time to discuss the new story looking forward to diving into it!

 

BGN fans are definitely in for another treat. If the above images are any indication of the greatness of the story you don’t want to miss out. So make sure to check the new story “Civil War II: Choosing Sides #2” when its released July 13th!

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Grace Gipson is bi-coastal BGN (planting roots in Atlanta, GA and Oakland, CA) where she is doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley pursuing a degree in African American Studies (focusing on gender, race and representation in comic books). In addition to being a budding scholar, you can find Grace trying out new restaurants, catching a concert, or sipping on a tasty glass of wine.