Comics Herstory: Ann Nocenti
Ann Nocenti is a multi-talented comic book writer and editor, filmmaker, and journalist. She began her career as an assistant editor at Marvel and later began to both write and edit. Nocenti has written a number of well-known characters, including Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Spider-Woman, the Inhumans, Catwoman, and Katana, though she is most well known for her work on Daredevil and the X-Men.
The run on Daredevil, which was published from 1986-1991, had a decidedly political flavor. The theme of the American Dream ran through much of the series, something that Nocenti looked at with a critical eye. She was nominated for an Eisner Award in 1989 for her work on Daredevil, and has said that she enjoyed writing the character because of Daredevil’s inherently contradictory nature. Her love for the character is clear in the writing and the care taken to develop Matt Murdock as someone who is a deeply conflicted and contradictory person.
As someone who entered the medium with little experience, she was able to push Daredevil into new situations and stories. In addition to the American Dream, Daredevil dealt with themes like the necessity of pushing oneself and taking risks. It was also a deeply political book, infused with liberal and feminist undertones. Despite following Frank Miller on Daredevil, she gave him a run for his money in terms of storytelling and theme.
Her writing has helped to create and define the canon and personalities of many characters, including the Inhumans, Typhoid Mary, Blackheart, the Uncanny X-Men, among others. She was arguably one of the first notable women to write for this era in comics, despite having no experience in writing them when she was hired.
In addition to working in comics, Nocenti has also been published as a journalist, editing for High Times, Scenario, and Stop Smiling, and writing for The Nation, Filmmaker, and Details, among others. Since 2011, Nocenti has been teaching and mentoring in filmmaking at the Indigenous Film Circle in Norway.