‘Iron Man’ Is Now a Black Girl, But There’s a Catch

Comic book powerhouse Marvel just made a serious change to one of its signature characters. In an interview with Time, writer Brian Michael Bendis announced Tony Starks is hanging up his high tech suit, and a Black teen is taking up the reins.


Photo: Marvel

Riri Williams, a 15-year-old genius who meets Starks while attending M.I.T., has been tapped as the next Ironman. Riri impresses Starks after building her own tricked-out suit in her dorm room and Starks decides to entrust the teen with the beloved Iron Man title–until she comes up with her own (Iron Girl or Iron Woman, perhaps?).

Bendis said he came up with Riri’s character after living in Chicago.

“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,” he told Time. “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.”

While many are happy Marvel’s universe is getting increasingly diverse, it comes with a catch. The comic book brand has no Black female writers.

While @BlackGirlNerds is critical of Marvel’s lack of Black woman writers and illustrators, she’s not just complaining about it; she’s offered to hook the publisher up with some talent.

Let’s hope they take her up on the offer.