Yona Harvey: First Black Woman to pen ‘Storm’ for Marvel

Poet Yona Harvey’s first foray into writing comics went so well, she’s at it again.

Harvey’s friend Ta-Nehisi Coates tapped her and writer Roxane Gay to pen last year’s Black Panther spinoff, World of Wakanda, with him. The experience challenged Harvey, but she found getting lost in the Marvel universe “addictive.” So when the opportunity arose to work with Coates again on Black Panther & The Crew, a Marvel series revival, she jumped at the chance. And this time, she’s making history as the first Black woman to write Marvel’s Storm character.

Harvey is the author of a poetry collection, Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University and finalist for the Hurston-Wright Award. Her work has been anthologized widely, and she is an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

In this EBONY interview, Harvey talks about transitioning from poetry and prose to comics, what she hopes to bring to Storm in The Crew, and what her kids think about her new gig.


EBONY: What’s The Crew about? How does writing The Crew compare to your experience writing World of Wakanda? Are you more comfortable now writing in this genre?

Yona Harvey: Black Panther and The Crew is set in Harlem and is essentially about getting conscious. The Black Panther, Misty Knight, Storm, Luke Cage, and Manifold each have unique connections to Harlem.  Those connections put them a little at odds with their superhero roles in the Marvel universe.  This experience feels more expansive than the World of Wakanda experience. My story in World of Wakanda was only 10 pages long–not nearly enough to explore Zenzi, the character I was writing.  But Black Panther and The Crew is a much larger story that explores a murder mystery, friendships, and romantic love. I become more comfortable writing with each issue.

EBONY: You’re the first Black woman to ever write the Storm character. What do you aim to bring to the character that’s unique? Unexpected? 

Harvey: It’s hard to answer that while I’m still in the midst of writing Storm. Obviously, I want to write her very well.  But I’d love to bring glimmers of Black women poets to Storm’s voice. It’s fun thinking about the poetry of her diction and voice–and the fact that she’s a Black woman in addition to being a mutant.

Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/yona-harvey-marvel-storm#ixzz4aYYGv0Ev
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