Noelle Stevenson draws the world
For upcoming queer comic book artist and writer Noelle Stevenson, the future looks bright thanks to a slew of awards and working with major companies like Marvel Comics, Disney, and Netflix.
But what’s cool about Stevenson is that she creates works that represents the LGBTQ people– which is appropriate, given that she’s an out lesbian, after all.
Noelle Stevenson: A late bloomer to comics
Born on December 31, 1991, the Los Angeles-resident Stevenson went to the Maryland Institute College of Art. While she’s making a name in comics, comics wasn’t really her first love
“I didn’t get into comics until college and it was sort of an accident. I ended up in a sequential arts class and that’s where I first– I was reading webcomics, but even then, I was very casual about it,” she told the AV Club.
She added that it was with webcomics like Hark! A Vagrant and Gunnerkrigg Court that she became interested in their stories.
She said: “Those were the kinds of stories I hadn’t seen told before anywhere else so I was very interested. It was like webcomics were the ‘indie comics’ that started to pull me at the beginning there.”
She created the character Nimona during her junior year as an assignment and began to do a webcomic on it in 2012 as a kind of “hipster Lord of the Rings.”
It was also at that time she began to do work as an intern with the Boom! comic book publisher.
Noelle Stevenson: Making waves in the field
With Nimona, everything fell into place after the webcomic started gaining popularity, which gained her a literary agent.
This agent got it published with HarperCollins, with the title climbing the New York Times best-seller list.
“It was me trying to find out what my voice actually was and what stories I did want to tell. I didn’t really have a plan beyond that. A lot of it was very off the cuff, very seat of the pants, on the fly stuff,” she told the Hero Complex.
Around that time, she also inadvertently started the Hawkeye Initiative by drawing male superheroes in female poses to show how ridiculous male artists did this.
In 2014, Stevenson was part of the Boom! comic book series Lumberjanes as character designer and co-writer with Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis.
Both Nimona and Lumberjanes earned Stevenson multiple 2015 Eisner Award wins.
Aside from those, she wrote for Marvel’s comic book Runaways, Disney’s animation Wander Over Yonder, and is now the showrunner and executive producer of the upcoming Netflix animated reboot of She-Ra.
Not bad for a 26-year old queer, right?
Noelle Stevenson: Breaking boundaries in her work
Yup, Stevenson is queer and her work shows it, from Nimona’s “butch” female protagonist to the relationships between the Lumberjanes characters.
Speaking on the problems of heteronormative fiction and how representations empower queer teens to feel better about themselves, she said: “I think in a perfect world, [representation] teaches them how to have healthy relationships.”
She told the Hero Complex that Lumberjanes and the relationships among the characters was set up to defy labels.
She said: “We wanted to kind of set up this safe place that was sort of set apart from the rest of the world. No one here is going to react to Mal and Molly with homophobia. No one’s going to judge their relationship.”
Currently, Stevenson is in a relationship with Molly Ostertag, a cartoonist.