Marvel’s New Iron Man Is A Black Girl
The face of Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man is changing. Well, the face, race and gender. Now, I don’t know much about Marvel comics; but I know to be excited for a Black girl stepping into the comic, super hero world because representation is important. And we all know Black folk, in this arena, have been ignored and excluded for far too long.
The new Iron “Man” is Riri Williams.
According to TIME, “Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony Starks, [her predecessor], when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room.”
Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis spoke to TIME about the new character, illustrated by Stefano Caselli.
TIME: How did you come up with the character of Riri Williams?
Bendis: One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show that didn’t end up airing was the amount of chaos and violence. And this story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place.
As we’ve been slowly and hopefully very organically adding all these new characters to the Marvel Universe, it just seemed that sort of violence inspiring a young hero to rise up and act, and using her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age, was very exciting to me.
What’s been the reception of the character so far (before this announcement)?
Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans. There are fans who say, “Show us the new stuff,” and then there are fans who say, “Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid.” So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood.
I’ve been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualize Riri.
How do they meet?
One of the things Tony does to distract himself from all the things going on in his life is he goes to find this young woman who is flying around the middle of America in an armor that’s not completely made to try to find out what her deal is.
It’s hard to subtly fly around in Iron Man armor.
You imagine that Tony has Iron Man armor on his Google Alerts.
He’s also aware that this young woman is flying by him in terms of how quickly she’s doing it. Her brain is maybe a little better than his. She looks at things from a different perspective that makes the armor unique. He can’t help but go maybe I should buy her out.
Why did it take so long to turn the Avengers from a team of mostly white dudes into a more diverse array of characters?
Talking to any of the older creators, it’s the thing they said they wish they’d done more of—reflecting the world around them. It just wasn’t where the world was at at that time. Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.
Here for all of it. You can read the rest of the article at TIME.