Marvel's taken over comic book stores, movie theaters, video game consoles and pretty much the entire world at this point -- and now it looks like they're trying to become a YA literature powerhouse as well.
Marvel's latest Young Adult book, "Black Widow: Forever Red," has a few days to go before it hits bookstores on Tuesday October 13. But today (October 11) at the New York Comic Con Women in Marvel panel, it was announced that the still-unreleased book is already getting a sequel from author Margaret Stohl ("Beautiful Creatures").
But that's not all! Marvel editor Joe Quesada also announced yesterday that Captain Marvel will be getting her own YA book as well, written by Shannon Hale ("The Goose Girl") and her husband Dean Hale, with whom she's co-written two graphic novels.
"Obviously we’re very excited and honored to be entrusted to tell a story with this beloved character," Shannon Hale wrote on her Tumblr. "If you aren’t familiar yet with Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel, you will be!"
Margaret Stohl, who's herself a huge comics fan, told MTV News that she'd written "Black Widow: Forever Red," with ideas for possible sequels in mind and is excited to be given the chance to continue the story.
"I worked so hard with [Marvel to Press] evolve a character and canon backstory for Natasha, and the legacy character of the Red Widow, and I'm so invested in these kick-butt girl characters," she said (and it's worth pointing out that she was dressed in Red Widow cosplay, which was killer.) "There's a huge ending in 'Black Widow: Forever Red,' so I think my readers would have been a little bummed that there wasn't more!" she said.
"You always think of the potential of a three book arc -- and I'm not saying that's what this is," she added. "But because any good universe you build, you sort of build it to withstand anything. There's so much detail and so much information you pack into that world... I really built a big world for them and I wanted to be able to use it more."
The "Captain Marvel" title, meanwhile, is still very much in the early planning stages, but her remarkable trajectory as a character in recent years (her solo movie, currently set for a 2019 release, is the first female-led film Marvel ever announced) made her a natural fit for the next stage in the company's YA lit plans.
"Something happened in the zeitgeist five years ago in terms of women in comics and female characters, and part of that was Kelly Sue DeConnick writing the ["Captain Marvel"] series, and the reinvention of Captain Marvel and her look," Sana Amanat told MTV News after the panel. "For us, that was something we were passionate about, and once we realized what the reaction was, it became sort of a dialogue unto itself. There were activists around the idea of Captain Marvel and women in comics and female creators. So for us, she is our flagbearer for female-led comics, and the idea that we can all be these powerful beings despite what our gender is... There was no question in our mind that Captain Marvel was going to be next."
Marvel has released YA books in the past, specifically the 2013 "She-Hulk Diaries" and "Rogue Touch," but Amanat hopes that this new line will excite readers even more-- and says that they've already discussed which characters they might want to feature next.
"These characters transcend beyond the comics page, and that's what we want to share with the rest of the world," she said. "They're great characters in their own right. They happen to be superheroes, they happen to be superpowers, but fundamentally it's their journey and their experience that we want to be able to share through this particular platform."
Amanat and Stohl were joined at the Women in Marvel panel by social media manager Adri Cowan, assistant editor Emily Shaw, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." costume designer Ann Foley, "A-Force" writer Marguerite Bennett, editor Katie Kubert, "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones" costume designer Stephanie Maslansky, "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" writer Amy Reeder, "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" artist Erica Henderson, cover artist Afua Richardson and producer/panel moderator Judy Stephens.
The panel was both a celebration of the female characters and creators who currently work in Marvel, as well as a discussion of what's coming up -- which includes some awesome stuff like a "Scarlet Witch" comic; the all-female created "Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat," a new ongoing series drawn by Afua Richardson; and possibly a continuation of the all-female "A-Force" series beyond "Secret Wars."
And of course, the panelists made sure to thank their fans, telling them how much both their support and their demand for more and different female characters has helped them increase the diversity of the comic books. "I love #WheresWidow on Twitter, I love hearing you guys and how you call people out on everything," Stohl told the crowd. "You are so important."