- Biden yelling at Warren becomes relatable workplace meme 3 Years Ago
- Tulsi Gabbard was conservatives’ favorite debater Today 10:07 AM
- ‘Rogue One’ co-writer to direct several episodes, write the pilot for Cassian Andor series Today 9:50 AM
- ‘The Two Popes’: Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce shine in Netflix’s pope comedy Today 8:57 AM
- AOC, ‘Squad’ to endorse Bernie Sanders Today 8:44 AM
- ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ explores what happens if your friend joins ISIS Today 7:00 AM
- Andrew Yang upset porn fans with his criticism of Bing Tuesday 10:34 PM
- Kamala Harris really wants Trump kicked off Twitter Tuesday 10:22 PM
- Bernie Sanders jokes he didn’t use medical marijuana before tonight’s debate Tuesday 9:47 PM
- Tulsi Gabbard says she’s not a Russian asset—which is just what a Russian asset would say Tuesday 9:20 PM
- Warren says she doesn’t have a ‘beef with billionaires’ Tuesday 8:59 PM
- Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income plan gets support from other candidates Tuesday 8:40 PM
- Christmas creep is real, and it’s all over Tom Steyer’s neck Tuesday 8:05 PM
- Stans are using pictures of Beyoncé to catfish sugar daddies Tuesday 7:18 PM
- Wait, who the heck is Tom Steyer? Tuesday 7:17 PM
Following in the footsteps of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Thor, another of Marvel‘s A-list heroes is getting a major reboot. Once the Civil War II storyline is over, we’re getting a new Iron Man: 15-year-old MIT student Riri Williams.
Yes, Iron Man is now a Black teen girl.
Riri was introduced in March, making her first appearance during Invincible Iron Man #7. As a tech prodigy with a homemade suit of Iron Man armor, she invited immediate comparisons to Tony Stark, and some fans suspected she might become the new War Machine after Rhodey died in Civil War II #1.
Riri belongs to a new wave of Marvel heroes, intended to update the primarily white and male lineup of the classic comics. In an interview with Time, writer Brian Michael Bendis was optimistic about her reception. “Once Miles [Morales] hit, and Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit—there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love.”
This fresh take on Iron Man is intriguing news, but the fan response is more complex than Bendis describes. While Marvel’s increasingly diverse cast is an important step, fans remain critical of what goes on behind the scenes.
In particular, many people have commented on the dominance of white male creators like Bendis himself, who co-created Miles Morales, Riri Williams, and Jessica Jones. While Bendis collaborates with artist Stefano Caselli on Riri’s Iron Man comic, he will also be writing four other Marvel books, plus two more at Marvel’s Icon imprint. Meanwhile, Marvel has never hired a Black woman to write any ongoing comic, ever.
Marvel Comics: “Iron Man as a black woman would be dope.”
Black Woman: “I would love to write —”
Marvel: “We have white people for that.”
— Ira Madison III (@ira) July 6, 2016
Written by Bendis: Riri, Jessica Jones, Elektra, Spider-Woman, Scarlet Witch, Jean Grey…
Written by black women Marvel hired, ever:
— loudlysilent (@loudlysilent) July 6, 2016
Until I see a Black women hired by Marvel to write ANY story (not necessarily WoC) is when I will get excited about these announcements.
— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) July 6, 2016
As is often the case with Marvel’s new wave of rebooted superheroes, this news inspires a bittersweet combination of excitement and concern. Fans have every reason to be excited about Riri Williams, but it would be even better if Marvel’s creative teams were as diverse as its fictional lineup.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor