Celebrating Black Creators: Stephanie Williams

Its still Black History Month and we are back with another one! We have a black woman on our roster today! Thats more than enough for some applause.

A woman who already deserves a star on the walk of fame, we have Stephanie Williams! Her work has been featured in Marvel, Syfy Wire, NPR and more! She is currently working with Apple Black’s Whyt Manga on the prequel series Apple Black Origins: Holy Spectrum and The Spectre. Give this woman her flowers! We had the chance to catch Stephanie and get an inside look at her life as a top notch writer lets hear what she has to say:

 

Saturday AM: What initially inspired you to pursue a career in writing, particularly within the realms of comic books and video games?

Stephanie: It was a combination of things, but if I had to keep it short, it was my love for the medium. I’ve been reading comics for as long as I can remember, going way back to when I made sure I was the first to grab the Sunday paper because I wanted the weekly comic strips. What, or I should say, who inspired me to be ambitious enough to tell stories in this medium were all of the fantastic Black women romance authors who showed me that Black women can be multifaceted and perfect but still be loved wholly. The way they wrote their heroines made me crave that type of representation in mainstream comics.

Saturday AM: Can you share a memorable experience or moment from your time working at Marvel and DC that had a significant impact on you as a writer?

Stephanie: I’ll speak about an experience at DC since that was my first significant work as a comic pro, my time working on both Nubia and the Amazons and Nubia: Queen of the Amazons. My experience with editorial set the stage for what I should expect, and anything less was worth speaking up about. My editors on both books were highly encouraging and provided the needed feedback essential for my growth as a comic writer. My thoughts and creative desires were heard and fully supported by the editorial team, and I’m thankful that was one of my earlier experiences in my career.

Saturday AM: How do you navigate and overcome any challenges or hardships you’ve faced as a black woman in the predominantly male-dominated industries of comic book and video game writing?

Stephanie: This industry, comics, is one of many I’ve worked in. Before making my career shift, I worked as a research scientist. As you can imagine, it’s also an industry full of people who would like to remind me every chance they get that I wasn’t supposed to be there, and how dare I believe I had a right to exist in that space. The hardships I faced there are no different than the ones I’ve encountered in the comic book industry. I have a robust support system, loved ones I can vent my frustrations to and be openly vulnerable with when I need to break, and the space to put myself back together again. It’s a daily practice to stay confident in who I am and what I’m capable of despite knowing I have to work twice as hard to get a fraction of the recognition for my achievements.

Saturday AM: What sources of inspiration do you draw upon when developing characters and storylines, especially those featuring diverse representation?

Stephanie: Again, I have to mention Black romance novels. They’ve always been a source of inspiration for me. I also draw upon real-life experiences and how I can transform them and use them to make my characters relatable, even if they and their stories are extraordinary.

Saturday AM: Have you encountered any specific instances of discrimination or bias in your professional journey, and if so, how did you handle them?

Stephanie: I have, but it’s been of the insidious variety, where it’s just enough for me to know what it is but passive enough to make me gaslight myself into believing that’s not what’s happening. I handle those situations by giving myself as much grace as possible and figuring out the next best steps since all instances vary.

Saturday AM: What advice would you give to aspiring black female writers who aspire to break into the comic book and video game industries?

Stephanie: Get a dependable support system. You’re going to need people around you who have your best interest at heart, will be in the trenches with you, and will allow you the safe space to speak about your frustrations, your aspirations, and everything in between.

Saturday AM: Can you discuss a project or character you’ve worked on that holds personal significance to you, and what it means to see your creative vision come to life?

Stephanie: I’m actually working on that very thing right now. I’m finally working on my first creator-owned project, and it’s been the thing that’s brought all the highs and lows I’ve experienced so far into sharp clarity. It means the world to me because this particular story is near and dear to my heart, and the fact that it received an immediate yes from the publisher to whom I pitched it has restored and reaffirmed me in a way I didn’t know I needed. It should be out sometime next year.

Saturday AM: How do you approach the balance between staying true to established characters and narratives while also introducing fresh perspectives and interpretations?

Stephanie: I approach it with care and respect. The framework is already there, and if it’s sturdy, there is no need for me to tear it down; I only need to add my personal touches in a way that aligns with what’s already there, which inherently is going to make it fresh because I’m the first me to do it.

Saturday AM: In what ways do you believe diversity and inclusion are essential for the future of storytelling within the comic book and video game mediums?

Stephanie: It’s of the utmost importance. The comic book medium provides a unique snapshot of history, and therefore, the storytelling should be as diverse as possible so that when it’s time to look back, it’s not all from the same biased viewpoint.

Saturday AM: What has your experience been like with Saturday AM?

Stephanie: Working with Saturday AM has been an enlightening journey for me. It provided me with the opportunity to interact with diverse perspectives and ideas that have broadened my understanding of the industry. I am grateful for the chance to contribute to the dynamic and diverse storytelling taking place at Saturday AM.

Check out Stephanie’s other works right HERE 

 

Don’t Forget to PRE ORDER Her adaption of APPLE BLACK ORIGINS: THE SPECTRUM AND THE SPECTRE RIGHT HERE

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