When Tony Stark steps aside from the Iron Man mantle later this year, badass gal Riri Williams will be taking the superhero’s spot. Yesterday, Marvel proudly announced the recent addition to the Iron Man series. Riri Williams is a 15-year-old black girl who attends MIT. She is said to be a genius, and she gains the trust and attention of Stark after crafting her own Iron Man suit. (She first appeared in Invincible Iron Man in March of this year.)
Naturally, not all of the internet is receiving the news warmly, but that’s to be expected, right? Personally, as a Marvel enthusiast who rarely, if ever, sees her #blackgirlmagic reflected in comic books or big screens, I have no choice but to sideline and silence their ignorant talk. Not only does this move benefit Marvel by broadening its fanbase, but in the year 2016, it’s about time to further diversify the company’s noteworthy name. Finally, Riri’s superhero status allows for young brown girls to look up to a character that looks like them.
This isn’t the first time Marvel has made efforts to diversify its (typically white male) characters, either. Back in 2011, Marvel released books for Miss America, a gay Latina woman of color, and in 2014 they debuted a female Thor. Most recently, the company came out with a new Spiderman, 13-year-old hispanic and black Miles Morales.
Although the excitement to receive more representation remains, and the writer for the books, Brian Michael Bendis is a wonderful, award-winning one, it is irksome to know that their won’t be any woman of color responsible for bringing to life a superhero woman of color. The series is set to premiere later this year, and who knows if Riri will show up in a movie.