Because it symbolizes the influence of her dark side, Mary Marvel’s black costume has been one of the more controversial aspects of the Countdown miniseries. For Gwen Dreyer of Los Angeles, though, it’s a chance to let her inner fan out. It also got her a spot on the platform during Saturday’s “Brave New Worlds” panel. After the panel, I talked to Ms. Dreyer about what led her to dress as Black Mary for the weekend.
As one might expect, Dreyer is a fan of Mary Marvel, and women in comics generally. However, topicality was more of a factor in this year’s choice of costume — Dreyer doesn’t think Mary will be in the black suit for very long.
Although choosing to spend two days in costume might suggest otherwise, Dreyer is relatively new to comic books. She grew up with reruns of the ‘60s “Batman” TV series, but only started reading comic books four years ago. Tired of being bored during her boyfriend (now husband)’s regular Wednesday LCS visits, she eventually got introduced to Birds Of Prey and sought out other “girl-power” titles. Besides BOP, Dreyer reads mostly DC books, including Batman, Countdown (obviously), Jonah Hex, and Justice League of America.
On the whole, Dreyer is very positive about the state of women in comics, although she does see room for improvement. She loves Birds Of Prey, enjoys the distinct personalities of all the female characters she reads, and appreciates the current diversities of race and sexual orientation among women in comics. She says DC’s female characters need more attention and more marketing resources, and believes that the publisher has to take a leadership role in fostering more diversity.
Dreyer admits freely that she doesn’t have a lot of experience with superhero comics. However, she does observe that when she started four years ago, Birds Of Prey was the only “girl-power” title the comics-shop owner could suggest for her to read. Today, she is happy that both the Justice League and Justice Society are led by women.
As for her Saturday star turn, she had fun standing up with the DC panelists, although she did look a little worried when a fan asked whether Mary would still be able to “wear white at her wedding.” When a microphone was passed to her, a wide-eyed Dreyer replied, “I’d like to know that too!”
Moreover, DiDio’s response (“What do you think we’re counting down to?”) may not have been much consolation. Despite the care she took in assembling hers, Dreyer doesn’t seem to mind the thought of seeing the “real” Mary’s black costume retired. After all, she has to think about next year….