Over the summer, Marvel announced that a 15-year-old black girl would be taking over the Iron Man mantle. Riri Williams is a child prodigy, having built her own version of an older Iron Man costume (mostly using parts she stole from the MIT campus she was studying on), and dubbing herself "Ironheart," is set to make her official debut in Invincible Iron Man #1, which will be on sale this November. Marvel recently announced a Midtown Comics exclusive variant cover for this issue featuring an image of Riri in a crop top with a curvy body by J Scott Campbell that caused such a social media fuss that the comics publisher decided to pull that variant cover entirely.
Is this how people see 15 year old black girls? I keep seeing these cover variants for Riri Williams and maybe 2 or 3 she has looked 15. pic.twitter.com/zlCGJ1maFt— MistyKnightsTwistOut (@Steph_I_Will) October 19, 2016
Campbell took to Twitter to defend himself, but truth be told, this might've done more harm than good.
The decision today is unfortunate. Simply attempted to draw a young, sassy coming of age young woman. But I don't blame Midtown or Marvel.— J. Scott Campbell (@JScottCampbell) October 20, 2016
And I greatly appreciate the noticeable uptick of support today in the wake of the fallout of this faux controversy.— J. Scott Campbell (@JScottCampbell) October 20, 2016
While Marvel did pull Campbell's crop-topped Riri cover, a similar Midtown variant cover featuring Riri in full Iron Man armor is still on sale. Marvel also posted some of Stefano Casselli's design work on Riri from Invincible Iron Man #1.
This isn't the first time that issues regarding the way women have been drawn in comics have come up. The outrage over Spider-Woman's butt in one cover caused Marvel to conveniently place the Spider-Woman logo over her posterior, while others protested simply by trying to sit like Mary Jane, and one cannot forget the outrage over that Batgirl cover. Comic books have taken a long time to properly treat women who are creating comics equally; it appears that it might be taking longer for the images on the covers of these comics to get up to speed as well.