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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Writer Sarah Gailey crosses paths with Black Cat for Marvel Voices: Pride #1
by Jerry Nunn

This article shared 1414 times since Mon May 15, 2023
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Publishing company Marvel Comics has been showing its true colors, with Marvel Voices: Pride #1 returning in 2023 for its third year in June. The comic book series features a wide range of out and proud characters and was nominated for a GLAAD Award in 2021.

Nonbinary writer Sarah Gailey (pronouns they/them) contributes to the special issue with a Louisiana tale about cat burglar Felicia Hardy also known as Black Cat. They started writing short stories in 2014, and in 2018 won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Gailey has also written several novels including When We Were Magic, The Echo Wife and Just Like Home.

After producing multiple comic collections for Boom! Studios, Voices will be the first time they have worked with Marvel Comics.

Windy City Times: Have you been a comic fan for a long time?

Sarah Gailey: I spent many hours reading comics as a young person, and would obsessively trace any beautiful woman that was on the page. That was a hint of what was to come!

WCT: As a young gay boy, I always studied their physique and the male characters would sometimes take their shirts off.

SG: I am currently reading old Werewolf by Night comics, and there are men with chiseled jawlines and shirtless. It is such a gift for us! [laughs]

WCT: Do you have a favorite character?

SG: I was always deeply invested in Spider-man and had an intense imaginary relationship with Mary Jane Watson.

WCT: What led you to this Pride comic?

SG: I have been writing comics in the indie space for a while like The Vampire Slayer. I also worked on the original series Eat the Rich and Know Your Station.

My experience in the indie comic realm has been incredibly fun and rewarding. People seem to like what I am doing there. I was asked to work on a one-shot for Marvel Voices: Pride and I immediately said yes. Having an invitation to be extremely queer on the page is an indescribable thrill.

When I heard it was Black Cat—and knew she is a beautiful thief that loves crime—that was truly special. To write an explicitly queer story for a queer audience is such an opportunity for me. I was chill on the outside, but on the inside, I was screaming!

WCT: How does Black Cat identify?

SG: In the comics, they usually identify her as bisexual. I always use the word queer because there is too much temptation to divide our community. The bisexual versus pansexual crusades have been going on longer than I have been alive. I try not to marry people to one side or the other on that because I think that is a false distinction. We can safely say she is bisexual or pansexual.

WCT: Were there any limits placed on how you could depict the character of Black Cat?

SG: They did not set any limits, but if I had her say that nuclear war was a good thing, for example, then they might have asked me to pull that back.

My editor there actually told me to be less careful. I put in a subtle nod towards heroes fighting back against the forces of evil who are trying to damage the queer community, and the editor said I shouldn't avoid stepping on toes. I was told to say the thing I want to say. In this day and age, there's so much preemptive censorship that to have someone with a major company say that was so incredibly healing.

WCT: I remember reading comics in the '70s when they were not supportive of women, so the industry has come a long way.

SG: Yes, just the depiction of queer people and celebratory queer stories makes my heart want to explode!

WCT: Is the Marvel Voices scene set in New Orleans during Pride?

SG: Yes. Black Cat is visiting New Orleans in the story for some nefarious purposes. She hangs out with Gambit, who is the prior king of the New Orleans Thieves Guild, and [they] have an adventure together.

WCT: Were Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans difficult to please with writing The Vampire Slayer series?

SG: I was expecting such a ruckus, but Buffy fans have been very kind to me. They have been supportive and picked up on every bit of subtext that I put in the comics. Queer Buffy fans specifically have been so excited with the storylines I have created for the series.

WCT: The Marvel Voices series has meant a lot to people such as myself and I have collected it previously.

SG: I was reading the previous Marvel Voices, and there was a reprint of the first time a major character named Northstar came out as gay in Marvel Comics. I was bawling when I read the last page where the creators wrote about how AIDS has affected their lives.

WCT: What are your Pride plans?

SG: I have to stay home from the parade because I am immunocompromised. I will be at home promoting my queer peer friend's work with this Pride issue. Many of us this year will be focused on promoting trans authors and voices, since they are at risk in this country right now. That is where my energy will be!

Look for more rainbows and variant covers at your local comic shop or by visiting .

This article shared 1414 times since Mon May 15, 2023
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