The first issue of The Unstoppable Wasp was just released and it blew us away, so we felt it was only right to get in touch with writer Jeremy Whitley to pick his brains about Marvel’s new hit series! Enjoy.
Please introduce yourself to our readers – how long have you been writing comics, and how did you manage to get into the comic book industry?
Hi! I’m Jeremy Whitley. I write comics and I live in Durham, North Carolina and have been writing comics for something approaching seven years now. I started out self-publishing with my artist friend Jason Strutz. Our first book, The Order of Dagonet was a series about the celebrity knights of England being called up to save the kingdom from mythical beasts. Picture Ozzy Osbourne and Ian McKellan fighting actual dragons. It was a lot of fun but never really picked up an audience.
While I was working on The Order of Dagonet, I started writing another series called Princeless which has now been published by Action Lab for the last five years. It’s a series about Adrienne Ashe, a young black princess locked in a tower who decides to save herself instead of waiting around for someone else to do it. The first volume was nominated for two Eisner awards, won multiple Glyph awards, and has received a number of honors. We also spun a second series off of it called Raven: The Pirate Princess which features and teenage LGBT lead in Raven Xingtao.
My creator owned work has been the key to getting me work for several prominent companies and properties in comics. I’ve written for IDW’s My Little Pony and Courage the Cowardly Dog and most recently for Marvel in Secret Wars: Secret Love, Civil War II: Choosing Sides, A Year of Marvels and the All-New All-Different Avengers. I am currently writing the ongoing series The Unstoppable Wasp and Monsters Unleashed tie-ins for both Champions and All-New X-Men.
We must say, we’re incredibly impressed with your first issue of The Unstoppable Wasp. Nadia’s undying enthusiasm and positivity at all times is refreshing! How did you get on board with Marvel and this series?
I had written a few short stories for book surrounding events, one of which had been under Tom Brevoort’s office. Tom always responded to my emails and liked my work, so I would pester him for more jobs. As it turned out, he thought the Wasp would be a good match for me and asked me to bring him a pitch for what I would like to do with the book. What’s in this first issue is very close to what I originally pitched. I consulted with Mark Waid who had created the character and I picked up on somethings I really liked in his characterization of Nadia and ended up with the book everybody is finally getting to read!
We were surprised and pleased to see characters such as Ms. Marvel and Mockingbird involved in the story. Do you feel any pressure writing such loved characters?
Oh absolutely! Especially since both of them have only recently had such amazing runs under G. Willow Wilson and Chelsea Cain! Honestly though, my guiding light in this was how much I personally love both of those characters. Having read and loved so much of Ms. Marvel’s series, I felt like I had a really good sense of her voice and…well, frankly the older and somewhat grizzled Mockingbird comes to me pretty naturally, being pretty grizzled myself.
Can you hint as to what we’ll see Nadia get up to in later issues? Or perhaps who else we could see her team up with?
Well, at the end of this issue she more or less says what she plans to do. She’s putting together her new lab, G.I.R.L. (Genius In action Research Labs) and will be going out to recruit some other young female geniuses to change the world. We’ll see her teaming up with some other Marvel heroes. We’ve already mentioned that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur will be making an appearance, but on top of that we have a couple surprise folks popping in. And oh, of course the original Wasp – Janet Van Dyne – will be making an appearance.
There’s a clear emphasis on science and engineering throughout the comic, and then there’s the Agents of G.I.R.L.. Can you explain this initiative a little for our readers? We think it’s an amazing feature.
Elsa and I wanted to do our part, in a book that’s so heavily involved with girls in science, to feature ACTUAL women who are doing science in the real world. The idea that drove this was the hope that somebody who’d read and been inspired by the comic book would hit this last stage thinking about everything Nadia had accomplished and they could see real world examples of women who really are changing the world through science.
Do you have any other projects coming in the near future?
Yes! Not only are there more issues of Unstoppable Wasp on the way, but I am writing Monsters Unleashed tie-ins for both Champions and All-New X-Men – both of which are a ton of fun. On top of that I have new issues of Princeless and Raven coming up soon! I can’t wait to share all of this with everybody!