Today, we bring you part 1 of our three-part exclusive interview with Black Widow: Forever Red author Margaret Stohl. We know Margie is SUPER busy these days (besides writing the Black Widow book, she’s also working on her solo series Icons and the Dangerous Creatures series with co-author Kami Garcia … and, you know, her family.) So we’re super grateful she took the time to chat with us!
So, let’s start with the most obvious but burning questions (in my mind): what was it like getting inside the mind of Black Widow? Such a popular & iconic character! How did you approach telling her story?
Natasha Romanoff is a hero of mine, and I approached telling her story with respect, more than anything else. I also related to her; before writing Beautiful Creatures, I worked in the videogame industry for sixteen years, and I felt like the only female Avenger more often than not. Black Widow is a kickass character who can hold her own, but she has to constantly fight for what she needs and believes in. All girls and women know what that feels like, and that’s why I was so excited to tell Natasha’s story. I have three powerful, opinionated and kickass daughters of my own, and I’m excited to say that I think the tides are changing for female protagonists in the world of comics, and it’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to be part of that change.
I got interested in comics when I began my career in the videogame industry, where I worked on Activision’s first Spiderman game, as well as Fantastic Four. It’s incredible how long her run in the comics has been, and how many iterations of her character have developed since 1964. I loved her character—that relentless persistence—as well as how she is somewhat shrouded in mystery. While a lot of her story lines have focused on her romances, I felt that there was more to her character that needed to be told. Being able to explore those other parts of Black Widow in a novel is one of the most exciting things I’ve gotten to do as a writer.
What were some of the challenges of writing about such an already well-known and well-loved character? What were some of the perks?
The biggest challenge and perk are one is the same: the weight of the responsibility. On one hand, it was paralyzing at times, knowing that I was handling such a complex character, and one that was so important to such an enormous fandom. The Marvel fans aren’t too shy about letting you know when they think you’ve gotten something wrong! But at the same time, it was the greatest honor of my life to be trusted with Natasha’s story, and that drove me to create something I’m incredibly proud of, with a team from Marvel and Disney that I really respect.
Thanks again, Margie! Tune in for part 2 on Wednesday.