Main image photo by Daniel Barlow
Eve Ewing is one of Marvel’s newest writers, and she’s already hit the ground running with her debut solo series Ironheart. A cultural activist from Chicago, Eve also has written a number of intellectual articles, A non-fiction book called “Ghosts in the School Yard” an incredibly evocative and emotionally stimulating book of poetry called “Electric Arches” and several other works, including those yet to come. I was extremely excited to have a chance to talk with her about her work in the comic-sphere.
DYECB: Eve! I am so glad you’ve given me to opportunity to sit and speak with you. First of all, I’d like to get to know you a little bit. Growing up, what were your passions? Your fandoms? What inspired you to become the creative activist you are today?
Eve: Thanks for wanting to talk with me! Growing up, I read a ton. I would read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I rode the bus to and from school and read a lot on my own and started writing seriously when I was in high school. My mom handed me Archie when I was in kindergarten and that was my first comic book. Some of my fandoms as a kid: The Chronicles of Narnia, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros, and Batman: The Animated Series, The Simpsons, Animorphs. So, so much Animorphs. A lot of my childhood memories are of movies, video games, and TV. I was a latchkey kid and me and my brother would come home and watch the Simpsons and King of the Hill and Futurama and then play GoldenEye. Just a lot of pop culture and stuff that people might sort of consider media junk food, but I have really fond memories of that stuff. As for being a “creative activist,” I just try to ask critical questions and do my best to do the right thing.
DYECB: How is writing comics different from your other work, as it pertains to the creative process? Is comics something you’ve wanted to do before?
EVE: One thing that’s different is that it’s a fast-paced enterprise with a relatively quick turnaround. So that’s cool because unlike a book, which is slow and takes a long time to complete and then it’s done, I have lots of opportunities to learn quickly and build as I go. It’s really not that substantially different in most ways from other writing. I’ve written a non-fiction book, two poetry books, a book for kids, co-written a play, written lots of essays, and worked on TV the teeniest bit, and having done all of that, I think people overestimate how much it differs to write in different forms.
All writing to me is about having a clarity in your ideas, stretching yourself, getting feedback, and trying to present something new in a world where almost everything has been done before. That said, comics writing is exceptional in how fun it is. It’s also cool that my work gets to enter into a vast universe that’s full of histories and characters I can draw from. A few years ago, I was thinking of writing and drawing independent comics, but things kind of escalated and now here we are.
DYECB: Your work is praised for its intellectual acumen and strong themes of cultural identity, activism, and revolution. How will you use Riri to further explore these themes?
Eve: Gosh, thanks. You’ll just have to see! I think that Riri’s very existence and the stories we can tell about her have the potential to be revolutionary. It’s important to me that Riri is not a superhero who happens to have melanin. She is a Black superhero. There are things about her worldview and her perspective that are shaped by her cultural identity and who she is. But that doesn’t always have to be super obvious or hit you over the head.
Small example– the scene at the end of Issue 2 where Riri catches a young thief, and treats him with the same tenderness that someone showed her when she was that age, because she understands that people are more than their mistakes, that sometimes they need patience and kindness and that even for a superhero the division between the good guys and the bad guys can be fuzzy. To me, that’s a radical idea.
DYECB: It is awesome that you will be writing Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel with Marvel Team-Up! Are there any other characters you’d be interested in writing at Marvel? (Are there any other secrets you can reveal for future projects)?
Eve: Thanks! Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel are both dream characters for me, so that’s a pretty incredible feeling. I’ve been having a lot of fun with that story. It’s… different. I’ll leave it at that. In Ironheart 6 through at least 8 or 9, Riri is going to be pairing up with some of my other favorite characters in the Marvel Universe, including two in particular that I think people have asked for and will be hype to see. And Marvel just added me to a really small itsy-bitsy project for the summer that also involves another favorite character. So that’s super exciting. As for dream characters… until recently I would have said Ms. Marvel, but that dream came true! A couple others I’d love to write are Laura Kinney or Snowguard.
DYECB: Is there any advice you would like to give aspiring creators?
Eve: Be relentless toward your own work. The fact is that none of us can see into your brain, so your options are to get your ideas out or to accept that they stay trapped in your head forever. A lot of people talk a big game and never put anything out and I think that’s just such a bad look. Decide what you’re gonna do and do it.
DYECB: Thank you so much for speaking with me Eve, god bless and all the best to your future. I know you have a thousand and more great things to create.
Buy Ironheart from Marvel Comics, here