Marvel Comics made an exciting announcement regarding one of their most popular characters. In the next iteration of the Iron Man comic books, the Iron Man suit will no longer be occupied by billionaire bad boy Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. in the film adaptations, but instead by a 15-year-old Black girl named RiRi Williams.
Iron Man creator Brian Bendis gave a bit of information about the new character. She is a science genius enrolled at MIT who was able to reverse-engineer one of Iron Man’s old armors in her dorm room. Tony Stark has already mentioned the existence of said college student in a previous comic book, so it's possible this transition was in the works for some time. There is no word yet on whether or not the new "Iron Man" will adopt a new superhero name.
Bendis seemed very excited for the change when he spoke to Time, but did mention that some are less ecstatic. "Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, 'Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?' that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking."
Additionally, some wish Marvel as a company would go a bit farther when it comes to introducing Black people into their universe.
Marvel Comics: "Iron Man as a black woman would be dope."— Ira Madison III (@ira) July 6, 2016
Black Woman: "I would love to write —"
Marvel: "We have white people for that."
I'm happy for all of these Black women leads in Marvel comics, but really wish the publisher would give Black women a chance to write them— Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) July 6, 2016
These fans may have a point, especially after the news of the recent success of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Panther.
Hopefully, Marvel will go the full distance with what they started.