Friday, October 11, 2019

Black girls, representation, and Ironheart

Back in September, I was moved by Ironheart #10. The issue presents not one, not two, not even three, but four black female characters on the same pages. It caught my attention in part because it's so rare to see such occurrences in major comics.

Here in issue #10, Eve L. Ewing (writer), Luciano Vecchio (artist), and Matt Milla (colorist) are presenting us with Riri Williams, Shuri, Silhouette, and Okoye. Oh, and the action takes place in Wakanda.

We've been seeing some progress with black representation among major companies over the last several years. But rarely does that progress involve a combination of central black girl and women characters, interacting with each other.

Some people recall the Bechdel–Wallace test, which questions whether at least two women appear in popular media representations and talk to each other about something besides a man. Many movies, television programs, and comic books fail the test, because creators somehow to struggle to bring girls and women together for their own missions, conversations, and other activities.

Ironheart offers something different. We see these characters in a major fight scene with what are in effect zombies. The team is looking for answers to a larger puzzle. Such a scene is fairly normal for comics, but it's unusual to showcase a group of like Riri, Shuri, Silhouette, and Okoye.

A Notebook on comic books

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