Comic books have long been known for the distinctive depictions of their superheroes. Spider-Man's muscles are nearly ripping his skintight suit. Luke Cage has actually torn his shirt and pants while kicking ass. So it comes as no surprise that female characters have it even worse. The exaggerated and consistently sexualized representation of these super humans is part of their marvelousness. But there's always a line — and recently, it was crossed. Marvel had to pull images of its latest hero because of public outcry over the cover art. The pictures featured an extremely over-sexualized version of Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, the 15-year-old Black female genius that's currently Tony Stark's protégé — she's set to take the mantle of Iron Man once he retires. In the top image, you can see the original drawings, which feature Williams in a high-neck crop top, loose sweatpants, and taking a casual stance. Below is a picture of the cover that was produced, shared by Steph_I_Wil.
One Twitter user claims that Williams' image is supposed to be based on Disney Channel star Skai Jackson. Yet, this is the illustration that was produced. It's easy to see why comic book readers, especially young, Black female readers, were offended and angered by the representation. Many thought the image was demeaning and saw no reason to sex up such a young character, especially one who is more interested in performing science experiments (She's enrolled at MIT at age 15!) than attracting unwanted suitors.
Another user shared a cover done by the same illustrator, J. Scott Campbell.
In response, Twitter user MizCaramelVixen, started the hashtag, #TeensWhoLookLikeTeens for those in the comic world to share more accurate representations of what teens in comics should really look like.
Marvel did not admit that the cover was pulled due to Twitter outrage, but when Vulture reached out for comment, the company confirmed that those illustrations had been pulled and replaced with new images, which you can see, below:
Meanwhile, the man responsible for the illustrations is adamant that he did nothing wrong and simply followed the guidelines of the original image, seen at the top of this post.
Twitter user CocoaFly offers a win-win solution the next time a cover meeting rolls around in the Marvel office.