INTERVIEW: Stephanie Williams on Updating Themyscira in ‘Nubia and The Amazons’

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Nubia and the Amazons #1 - But Why Tho

Nubia and The Amazons saw its first issue debut to resounding praise, as one of the most underrated figures in Wonder Woman’s mythology steps into the spotlight. It even hooked me, and I’m someone who’s been ambivalent about the Wonder Woman comics for a while. But Why Tho? talked with co-writer Stephanie Williams about the origins of the series, as well as its appeal for both longtime DC fans and newcomers to the comic book world.

BUT WHY THO?: Tell us a little about your comics fandom-what comics or characters drew you in?

STEPHANIE WILLIAMS: My comics fandom is all over the place at times, and it’s been that way since I can remember. The comic that got me interested in reading comics was an issue of West Coast Avengers. I picked up an issue in the middle of the Crystal/Black Knight/Sersi love triangle. It gave me the same soap opera vibes I got from the X-Men original animated series, which I loved because those also reminded me of the daytime soaps my mother and grandmother loved. Once I made that connection, I started putting comics in the shopping cart whenever I would go grocery shopping with my mom, which eventually led me to pick up Archie Double Digest. I spent A LOT of time in Riverdale for a while. I also got into the Alien comics pretty early on. I was obsessed with the movies, so once I found out there were comics, it was a wrap.

I’m not extremely hard to please as a comic reader. You give me some drama and mess to sink my teeth in, and I’m going to go along for the read. I think that may be why I’m so drawn to Bronze Age and even some Silver Age comics because they are often wordy, but the drama is usually there.

BWT: What draws you to Nubia as a character, and what’s the best part of writing her?

WILLIAMS: Nubia is a known unknown. She’s such a unique character in the way she’s been around for so long but has little history to carry her. Instead, her fans have done that. I always felt there was enough foundation from her initial introduction to build a sturdy framework from it, and that’s the part that’s been the most exciting when it comes to writing her. Like, there is no doubt that this character is strong, formidable, and fierce, but exploring her wants, desires, fears, and how life sequestered away guarding Doom’s Doorway has impacted her gives us so much room to play with.

Plus, the great thing about writing this series is that it’s not just about Nubia. It’s about the Amazons who live on Themyscira too. It’s been great reintroducing Nubia and reintroducing what life is like on Themyscira and what it means to be an Amazon. How else could anyone care about her now being queen if you don’t know much about the women she’s responsible for?

BWT: This year marks Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary. What parts of the character’s mythos were looking to explore/revamp?

WILLIAMS: From the start, carrying over the Well of Souls that was reintroduced in Young Diana was vital. The entire creative team working on Young Diana did a lot of revamping and exploring in that series that it only made sense to continue that energy.

As I mentioned earlier, Nubia and the Amazons is just as much of a reintroduction to Nubia as it is to the Amazons of Themyscira and life there. With the Well of Souls, we’ve been able to push the mythos further and challenge some of the more binary ideas surrounding it. Work that has been done in some of the Dark Metal titles. Themyscira is supposed to be this haven for women, so it was essential to clarify that it means ALL women.

Themyscira seems like a utopia at first glance, but with us bringing Doom’s Doorway back into the mix, the perspective kind of changes. Doom’s Doorway is a prison for all things the gods deem bad, which is true for the most part, but even with that said, Themyscira becomes more of a beautiful front for this prison. And as you can guess, there is a lot to explore just from that. Truth can be subjective.

BWT: Why was this the Nubia story you wanted to tell, and why was now the time to tell it?

WILLIAMS: To put it simply, it’s been time. Nubia has finally gotten the attention she deserves in the last couple of years with Nubia: Real One and Future State, both written by L.L. McKinney. And those stories have helped put Nubia back at the front of people’s minds which makes now the perfect time to get a definitive DCU story out into the world for Nubia.

BWT: What stories or themes would you like to tackle in future Nubia comics, or with different characters from DC or otherwise?

WILLIAMS: I wish I could say precisely without getting myself into too much trouble or ruining any future surprises. I guess, if anything, I would love to explore in detail her time as Champion and how those experiences made her the Queen she is today. We introduced five new Amazons who are all unique in their own way. Honestly, I would like to see any of them written by someone who could better tell their story than I could ever do.

BWT: Why do you think fans old and/or new will enjoy the new Nubia series? What do you hope they’ll take away from it?

WILLIAMS: I would like to think we’re showing fans Themyscira in a way they haven’t seen before, and they’re getting a more intimate idea of the island and its inhabitants. I want fans to walk away from this series wanting more because the Wonder Woman office has plenty to offer, and I know I have some more stories in me to add along the way.

Having read Nubia and the Amazons #1, I can feel Williams’ passion for this character and the Wonder Woman mythos baked into every page. With the series leading up to the Trial of the Amazons event, I hope that Williams continues to write Nubia for as long as she wants. And if you’ve been looking to get into Wonder Woman comics after watching her films, or are looking for a fresh take on DC’s mythology, this is the series for you.

Nubia and The Amazons #1 is available where comics are sold.

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