Comics Herstory: Marjorie Liu

northstar-and-kyle-jinadus-wedding-2Marjorie Liu is a lawyer-turned-writer who has written a number of fiction novels as well as comics.

Liu began her career in comics writing tie-in novels for Marvel. After the publication of X-Men: Dark Mirror in 2005, Liu wrote several other series for Marvel. She is most known for her work on X-Men titles, including NYX: No Way Home, Dark Wolverine, X-23, and Astonishing X-Men. She also wrote Black Widow: The Name of the Rose. Liu brings depth to each character she writes, and has established their personalities as well as their stories.

Astonishing X-Men received national attention, as part of the story included Northstar marrying Kyle Jinadu. This was the first gay marriage in mainstream comics, though Midnighter and Apollo had married in Wildstorm’s The Authority several years earlier. Astonishing X-Men was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comic Book.

Currently, Liu is writing Monstress, a hit series from Image. The story is about Maika, an monstress-v1tp_cvrArcanic girl determined to escape capture and seek revenge for her mother’s murder. The main characters, all women, offer nuanced depictions of women–each is a flawed character in an equally flawed world. Set in an alternative version of 1920s Asia, Monstress explores themes of racism, war, and slavery and exemplifies a vast amount of worldbuilding not usually present in comics. Even though only four issues have been published, Monstress is already bending the comic genre by blending manga and Western comics into something that’s like nothing else in the market.

In addition to writing for comics, Liu has written more than 19 novels, most notably the Hunter Kiss and Dirk & Steele series, which respectively fall into the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres. She has also written a number of short works that were published in various anthologies. In film, Liu wrote the story for the 2014 animated Marvel movie Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher, which forced Black Widow and Punisher to work together to prevent a global takeover by terrorist group Leviathan.

Liu is another skilled writer who is versatile across multiple genres, and her work is an example of how comics can be used to teach or make a larger point. She currently teaches comic writing at MIT.