We Are Going To Have A Black Teen Girl Iron Man


Riri Williams – The Next Iron Man

There is a revolution occurring in the comic book world, and it has everything to do with blackness.

Being the nerd I am, I never thought a day like this would come. Real change has come to the comics world. New iterations of most of Marvel’s biggest heroes have taken over. The official Captain America is a black man. Thor is a woman. We have an Afro-Latinx Spider-Man. The Hulk is Korean-American. And now Iron Man is a 15-year-old black woman with a bomb natural.

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Yes, you read that right. The new Iron Man, as revealed during a TIME magazine interview with Michael Brian Bendis, will be a genius black girl named Riri Williams. We don’t know the full story of how she will come to claim the mantle, but we do know that she has already managed to construct her own armored suit from her MIT dorm room with salvaged supplies. And in a world that is coming to accept the fullness of blackness and depict that fullness in art and entertainment, this is a major development.

We never know what images may inspire a person to chase a dream, but the Marvel comics universe is becoming a great place to find that inspiration. From classic characters like Black Panther and Luke Cage, an African King of the world’s richest nation and Luke Cage a wrongfully convicted Harlemite that rose to be named leader of the Avengers, to new creations like Moon Girl, a boldly self-assured genius teenager that can switch minds with her Tyrannosaurus Rex pet, prominent black characters are easy to come by now.

But it’s not just Marvel and it’s not just the reinvention of popular characters.

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Smaller comic imprints are finding success too. Just look at Stranger Comics and their line of Asunda comics. In this fantastical world of beasts, monsters, and magic, new character Niobe carries the prophecy being savior of the land of Asunda. With none other than Amandla Stenberg herself included as one of the writers, the comic is packed with stunning dialogue and breathtaking art.

It’s the range of titles that today’s consumers have to choose from that makes these changes so revolutionary. Children, teens, and adults alike can see themselves reflected within these pages, whether they are sticklers for justice, lovers of fantasy, or unique thinkers that might see things differently than everyone else. And that is revolutionary.

Remember the old days of comic books? With white heroes saving white people? When the first black hero to lead his own comic was a repository for stereotypes and catch phrases? Yeah. It’s a new day.


Photo credit: Marvel Comics; Stranger Comics

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.