A woman who writes scripts smashes stereotypes
by Mike Antonucci, Mercury News
Comic-book writer Devin Grayson is an easy target for being labeled, pigeonholed and even trivialized. She knows it, and guards against it.
A San Leandro resident, Grayson is one of the few women scripting mainstream superhero comics, so her gender often gets more attention than her work. And when she is asked about he development of her stories and characters, the context frequently involves writing for the male audience that dominates comicís readership.
This weekend will try to shatter stereotypes about herself and comics as one of the celebrity guests at WonderCon, an annual pop-culture and collectibles convention in Oakland.
The event, which
runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, is heavily identified with
adolescent and 20-something males despite a sprawling range of themes that
includes the graphic arts, television, film, toys and Pacific Rim culture.
"The message I give is to follow your heart and pursue whatever you're
passionate about, as a writer or an artist or a fan," says Grayson,
31. Grayson, for example, sees nothing about the
After a run of more than two years on "Batman: Gotham Knights," she has taken over the high-profile series "Nightwing," which coincidentally features Dick Grayson, the character who was the first Robin. Her first issue, No. 71, is scheduled to reach stores in July. The complicated Batman universe, says the real life Grayson, is rich in character histories that allow for stories that are largely personality- and relationship-driven.
"But also with plenty of action," she adds. Grayson ó who says on her Web site (wwwdevingrayson.com) that she's bisexual, Buddhism-practicing, vegetarian and botany-obsessed ó believes "it's a female sensibility to be more interested in relationship dynamics."
The problem, she says, is that people some titles jump to two assumptions: that there's only a token place in the industry for writers like her and that the average comics reader will be less interested in her kind of material.
Even talking about
those issues, she notes, can "just call attention to marginalizing your
own status.". .
As Grayson's comic-book credits have expanded, she has become more difficult to stereotype. In a miniseries titled "User," published as part of the adult-oriented Vertigo brand from DC Comics, Grayson was able to reflect her bisexuality in a story about two women projecting themselves as male characters having an affair in an online role-playing game.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has made "User" a nominee for its annual media awards in the "outstanding comic" category, Grayson's competition includes the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" adaptation from Dark Horse Comics and DC's "Green Lantern" series, written by Judd Winick, the former "Real World III" participant on MTV.
Other work by Grayson includes Marvel's "X-Men: Evolution" comics, based on the TV cartoon series. Matador," a new comic about Latina cop in Miami pursuing a contract killer, is scheduled to be published later this year by DC-owned WildStorm Productions.
At WonderCon, Grayson will discuss her career and work on four panels. The first, which focuses on projects from. WildStorm, is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday; the second is a writers panel that includes Geoff Johns ("Hawkman") and Greg Rucka ("Detective Comics") at 6 p.m.
At noon Saturday, Grayson and other industry insiders will discuss how they explain what they do for a living to people who don't read comics. At 1:30 p.m., she will appear on a large panel about upcoming developments in the world of DC characters.
Contact Mike Antonucci at [email protected] or (408) 920-5690.
When: Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. Dealersí room hours are noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and lla.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Activities and screenings continue until midnight Friday and Saturday.
Where: Oakland Convention Center/Oakland Marriott, 10th and Broadway. near the 12th Street BART station.
tickets (available at some comic shops) are $12 per day. Three-day passes
are $30. At the door, tickets are $15 per day; three-day passes are $35.
Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult There are no
online ticket sales this year.
to change): Topics include "Creature Features: Bob Wilkins and John
Stanley." about their years on KTVU (Ch. 2) as hosts of "grade-Z horror
films" (12:30 p.m. Saturday); "Funny Books - Do Comics Still Have a Sense
of Humor?" with Aragones and Carolyn Kelly, daughter of 'Pogo" creator
Walt Kelly (5 p.m. Saturday); "Spider-Man Movie Preview" with Marvel artists
John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. (530 p.m. Saturday), and "The World
of Independent Comics." including a discussion of self-publishing (1:30
includes "The Best of Pixar's Short Films (8 p.m. Friday), "Kung-Fu Theatre:
The Assassin" (10 p.m. Saturday), "Chronotrip," a documentary about time
travel and the "Doctor Who" TV series (8:45 p.m. Saturday) and ongoing
On the Web: www.wondercon.com