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Riri Williams will be taking over for Tony Stark as Iron Man

07.06.2016

riri williams, tony stark, iron man, marvel comics

Another of the comics old guard is getting ready to hang up his armor and make way for some diversity in the superhero workplace. 

At the end of the current Marvel comic event story arc CIVIL WAR II, Tony Stark will step out of the Iron Man suit with African-American teenager Riri Williams taking his place. Right now Riri has already been introduced as a 15-year-old science genius already enrolled at MIT. In fact, she is on Tony Stark's radar as it is, having reverse-engineered one of his old armor suits all by herself in her dorm room. 

Brian Michael Bendis, who certainly has solid comic credibility behind him, is the creator of Riri Williams, and, as he explained to Time, we've been down this road before and things have been just fine. 

Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans. There are fans who say, “Show us the new stuff,” and then there are fans who say, “Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid.” So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood.

I’ve been down this road with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, Maria Hill. I knew I was in good hands with Mike Deodato and other artists who are helping visualize Riri.

He also had a few choice words for those detractors that see this as some sort of assault on the comics they've always known and have nothing but negative ideas about something they haven't even had the chance to read yet, based on their suface-level observations. 

Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, “Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?” that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking.

But increasingly we see less and less of that. Once Miles hit, and Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit—there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love.

I think what’s most important is that the character is created in an organic setting. We never had a meeting saying, “we need to create this character.” It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.

However, one of the most important points Bendis makes as to why these changes are being made is due to the world around us. We are a much more diverse culture now - much more accepting of other races and religions and sexual preferences and gender identities than we ever have before. And while we still often hear terrible stories of people insistent on discriminating others on those grounds, we have made a great deal of progress just in the last few years to make those occurrences fewer and farther between. There isn't just one group of people for stories to be catered to anymore. Everything isn't just for white guys anymore. There's a larger audience out there chomping at the bit for something that represents them, and now they're getting it.

Talking to any of the older creators, it’s the thing they said they wish they’d done more of—reflecting the world around them. It just wasn’t where the world was at at that time. Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction.

It's easy to ask why don't they just make new characters that are black or Latino or female instead of using the guise of already established characters to do so... but that would be forgetting the fact that the comics industry is still a business. And, as we've seen in Hollywood, it's the brands, the familiar IPs, the franchises that dominate the landscape, while the "original content" we all claim to want so badly is having a tough time getting off the ground and finding an audience to support them. Therefore, if Marvel is going to use the brand advantage of Thor or Spider-Man or Iron Man to introduce these characters and give them a headstart at success, then so be it. That's the way the game is right now.

Riri Williams won't be keeping the Iron Man name, and will eventually find the right monikker for her once she settles into the role. But interesting things continue to happen over at Marvel Comics... and the sky hasn't yet fallen once. 

invincible iron man, riri williams, tony stark, iron man, marvel comics

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Source: Time

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2:42PM on 07/09/2016

SPOILER... SPOILER... SPOILER...

Well, since they just killed Rhodey, she'll probably the next War Machine of some kind...
Well, since they just killed Rhodey, she'll probably the next War Machine of some kind...
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3:45AM on 07/10/2016
I have an idea. Why not make Tony Stark to be the new War Machine? Let him have a yearlong storyline completely abandoning his pacifist ways (out of guilt for Rhodey's death) and see how he bounce back from that.
I have an idea. Why not make Tony Stark to be the new War Machine? Let him have a yearlong storyline completely abandoning his pacifist ways (out of guilt for Rhodey's death) and see how he bounce back from that.
2:21AM on 07/09/2016

IRON MANIQUA

I know, instead of changing the gender, race, or sexual orientation of CLASSIC characters that have been loved for decades, lets.... (wait for it)..... JUST MAKE NEW CHARACTERS THAT COVER NEW GROUND!! Couldn't they just make a new inventive character about an African American, lesbian, transgender muslim girl who has her own set of powers and her own origin story. (Her powers could be, the ability to bore you to death)
I know, instead of changing the gender, race, or sexual orientation of CLASSIC characters that have been loved for decades, lets.... (wait for it)..... JUST MAKE NEW CHARACTERS THAT COVER NEW GROUND!! Couldn't they just make a new inventive character about an African American, lesbian, transgender muslim girl who has her own set of powers and her own origin story. (Her powers could be, the ability to bore you to death)
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9:04PM on 07/08/2016
The idea isn't fairly new, since we had Monica Rambeau as a black Captain Marvel since a few decades ago, and it ultimately lead to the excellent Nextwave. So I have zero negative thoughts on this.
The idea isn't fairly new, since we had Monica Rambeau as a black Captain Marvel since a few decades ago, and it ultimately lead to the excellent Nextwave. So I have zero negative thoughts on this.
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3:35PM on 07/07/2016
The idea that Tony Stark hands his Iron Man duties off to someone else totally makes sense. I don't care that it's to a girl, a black girl, or a 15 year old black girl. I care that her name is Riri, that's slang for retard, wtf
The idea that Tony Stark hands his Iron Man duties off to someone else totally makes sense. I don't care that it's to a girl, a black girl, or a 15 year old black girl. I care that her name is Riri, that's slang for retard, wtf
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-1
1:47AM on 07/07/2016

Bad Move Marvel

Marvel is desperate for a Female lead that they are going to try to bank on Iron Mans success, and give this lil 14 year old a try. Perhaps they should leave Iron Man alone for a while, RDJ was too good, and i do not think its smart to have this lil girl or anyone else for that matter try to fill the shoes. For me, its a female issue, as well as age issue, but i guess this is when Marvel starts to decline to the masses? So we will have a Female Thor, and a Female Iron Man, I'm sure we
Marvel is desperate for a Female lead that they are going to try to bank on Iron Mans success, and give this lil 14 year old a try. Perhaps they should leave Iron Man alone for a while, RDJ was too good, and i do not think its smart to have this lil girl or anyone else for that matter try to fill the shoes. For me, its a female issue, as well as age issue, but i guess this is when Marvel starts to decline to the masses? So we will have a Female Thor, and a Female Iron Man, I'm sure we will get She Hulk, and then a male Black widow... nah probably a female Black Widow...
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10:51PM on 07/06/2016
Nice artwork. However, in real life, an afro is not a flattering hairstyle. I understand the notion of black female empowerment but in real life I would prefer a woman with short hair than a woman with a big afro. I think the same argument applies to men: black people are much better accepted when they keep their hair short. It's also easier to keep hair clean when when it is kept short. Another alternative is dreadlocks but, again, that is a high maintenance hairstyle.

Anyway, this is
Nice artwork. However, in real life, an afro is not a flattering hairstyle. I understand the notion of black female empowerment but in real life I would prefer a woman with short hair than a woman with a big afro. I think the same argument applies to men: black people are much better accepted when they keep their hair short. It's also easier to keep hair clean when when it is kept short. Another alternative is dreadlocks but, again, that is a high maintenance hairstyle.

Anyway, this is all moot. In the MCU, we haven't yet seen Nova or Quasar or Ms. Marvel or White Tiger or Pariot, etc. We are going to see a nice mix of characters in the future in the MCU. We are not going to see a female Thor or a black female Iron Person in the movies because we are going to have a black female Valkyrie and an Asian looking Mantis. What we need are some Asian male characters in live action. It can't be called "diversity" if all your new characters are black and/or female.
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10:37PM on 07/06/2016
Not a fan of teenagers as superheroes. Shes not even old enough to have a drivers license but she is going to operate an iron man suit? I get superheroes are fantasy, but sometimes you can only suspend your belief so much.
Not a fan of teenagers as superheroes. Shes not even old enough to have a drivers license but she is going to operate an iron man suit? I get superheroes are fantasy, but sometimes you can only suspend your belief so much.
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9:29PM on 07/06/2016
Okay, so she's not really replacing Tony Stark, she's more like his apprentice and will step into his role when Tony gets too old or something. That's an original character, and that's perfectly okay IMO. Not to mention, more interesting.
Okay, so she's not really replacing Tony Stark, she's more like his apprentice and will step into his role when Tony gets too old or something. That's an original character, and that's perfectly okay IMO. Not to mention, more interesting.
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8:54PM on 07/06/2016
Attempting to empower gender or race by imposing those now politicized issues onto creative properties with canonized characters already in place is ill placed and really helps no one. However empowering people with original characters and story lines is a different story.
Attempting to empower gender or race by imposing those now politicized issues onto creative properties with canonized characters already in place is ill placed and really helps no one. However empowering people with original characters and story lines is a different story.
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8:52PM on 07/06/2016
So glad they don't pull this shit with Batman
So glad they don't pull this shit with Batman
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3:33PM on 07/07/2016
you're joking, right? [link]
you're joking, right? [link]
8:11PM on 07/06/2016
MCU I love you, Marvel comic can go fuck yourself you worthless unoriginal sacks of shit. There is nothing I detest more than replacing mainstays and calling it diversity. This one might be the worst. War machine exists, Rescue exists. There is cannon in place for multiple people having the suits, but none of them had to be called IRON MAN. They all took their own names from the start. Yet this woman is going to be called iron MAN. Jesus they aren't even original enough to call her Iron Woman.
MCU I love you, Marvel comic can go fuck yourself you worthless unoriginal sacks of shit. There is nothing I detest more than replacing mainstays and calling it diversity. This one might be the worst. War machine exists, Rescue exists. There is cannon in place for multiple people having the suits, but none of them had to be called IRON MAN. They all took their own names from the start. Yet this woman is going to be called iron MAN. Jesus they aren't even original enough to call her Iron Woman. So they could have easily introduced her and had her create a suit and work with Stark and become part of the Iron Man team. But no, a white male isn't allowed to exist anymore in comics, so off with his head and minority must take his place. Unoriginal bags of dicks are what every single writer in Marvel is currently. I am so glad I stopped buying Marvel comics and canceled my unlimited subscription a years ago when they started pulling this shit. I'm all for diversity, but much like most everyone else here, create new characters or push the minority characters you already have. What you're basically saying is a black, gay, female etc character cannot achieve success unless a white male achieves it for them first and then passes the mantle to said minority. Personally I find that rather offensive and sickening.
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8:00PM on 07/06/2016

Sigh

Don't take it personally. It's not meant to be an affront to your precious sensibilities. It's a publicity stunt, and like all publicity stunts, it's never intended to be permanent. The comics always eventually revert to the status quo. The only question is whether this will turn out to be such a disaster that they cut their plans short and put Tony back in the armor earlier than they expected.
Don't take it personally. It's not meant to be an affront to your precious sensibilities. It's a publicity stunt, and like all publicity stunts, it's never intended to be permanent. The comics always eventually revert to the status quo. The only question is whether this will turn out to be such a disaster that they cut their plans short and put Tony back in the armor earlier than they expected.
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7:16PM on 07/06/2016
I'm not going to diss this idea until I've seen it for myself. However it does seem like an unorthodox move for Marvel and I really dont see any racial hate for this as much as an age problem. Seriously Im quite happy for this young lady as it is a huge career oportunity but her age is quite young for what most people would've considered as an adult role. Why not War Machine ? I'll wait for the reviews before I buy a ticket .
I'm not going to diss this idea until I've seen it for myself. However it does seem like an unorthodox move for Marvel and I really dont see any racial hate for this as much as an age problem. Seriously Im quite happy for this young lady as it is a huge career oportunity but her age is quite young for what most people would've considered as an adult role. Why not War Machine ? I'll wait for the reviews before I buy a ticket .
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6:41PM on 07/06/2016

Don't see why all the red

It's not like they're making Tony Stark himself a black woman. It's a black teenage girl in his universe taking over the reigns. If it sucks, then they'll change it CAUSE IT'S A FUCKING COMIC BOOK AND NOT REAL LIFE.
Also, this may be the most mature thing Billy Donelly has ever written for this site.
It's not like they're making Tony Stark himself a black woman. It's a black teenage girl in his universe taking over the reigns. If it sucks, then they'll change it CAUSE IT'S A FUCKING COMIC BOOK AND NOT REAL LIFE.
Also, this may be the most mature thing Billy Donelly has ever written for this site.
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5:57PM on 07/06/2016

Oh! i get it early April Fools?

Ah good move doing an early April Fools joke to throw everyone off! I mean making iron man a black woman??? Such an amazing JOKE! good one! you had me fooled. I mean what kind of stupid fool(s) would come up with an idea like that for a real comic universe? Cheers!
Ah good move doing an early April Fools joke to throw everyone off! I mean making iron man a black woman??? Such an amazing JOKE! good one! you had me fooled. I mean what kind of stupid fool(s) would come up with an idea like that for a real comic universe? Cheers!
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5:32PM on 07/06/2016
When I was a kid, I never wanted to read about people my age doing amazing things. I wanted to read about figures that I could aspire to be when I got older. It's like Jerry Seinfeld said, Batman and Superman weren't fictional characters when we were children - they were job options. When you're a kid you can't even see a damned movie without your parents driving you there.
When I was a kid, I never wanted to read about people my age doing amazing things. I wanted to read about figures that I could aspire to be when I got older. It's like Jerry Seinfeld said, Batman and Superman weren't fictional characters when we were children - they were job options. When you're a kid you can't even see a damned movie without your parents driving you there.
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5:04PM on 07/06/2016

It's not a female argument, it's an age argument.

It's just like when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show and Trevor Noah took over. What's with Hollywood thinking we want young unknown people to replace older experience? Look at Independence Day 1 and 2. The original had Will Smith and Fox as the youngest of the main cast members, Resurgence's new lead cast members were all between 22 and 30 years old!
It's just like when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show and Trevor Noah took over. What's with Hollywood thinking we want young unknown people to replace older experience? Look at Independence Day 1 and 2. The original had Will Smith and Fox as the youngest of the main cast members, Resurgence's new lead cast members were all between 22 and 30 years old!
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5:00PM on 07/06/2016

I really like the Kamala Khan series

so here's hoping this is good, too. If it's good, it'll do well. If not, they'll hand Iron Man back to Tony Stark. No biggie.
so here's hoping this is good, too. If it's good, it'll do well. If not, they'll hand Iron Man back to Tony Stark. No biggie.
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4:33PM on 07/06/2016
Once more step towards comic book irrelevancy.
Once more step towards comic book irrelevancy.
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4:21PM on 07/06/2016

:{

Make Marvel Comics Great Again.
Make Marvel Comics Great Again.
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4:02PM on 07/06/2016

Don't care how this sounds....

....but all this sucks. I agree with Magnus. I'm all for strong female characters. Why not create new and original characters for them instead of stealing from existing great characters?

It just screams sensationalism for sensationalism's sake.
....but all this sucks. I agree with Magnus. I'm all for strong female characters. Why not create new and original characters for them instead of stealing from existing great characters?

It just screams sensationalism for sensationalism's sake.
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4:57PM on 07/06/2016
Billy Donnelly answered your question in the article.
Billy Donnelly answered your question in the article.
9:27AM on 07/07/2016
Stratburst: I read his justification, but if you piss all over an established brand then what kind of credibility do you have to cash in on later? The fans remember awful moves like this and will be resistant to come back later.
Stratburst: I read his justification, but if you piss all over an established brand then what kind of credibility do you have to cash in on later? The fans remember awful moves like this and will be resistant to come back later.
3:54PM on 07/06/2016
How is she gonna fit that 'fro under the helmet???
How is she gonna fit that 'fro under the helmet???
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3:43PM on 07/06/2016
She seems young, like Miles is, but whatever. If it works, great. If not, well, Tony will probably grab the reigns again. Who knows. Not a big deal imo.
She seems young, like Miles is, but whatever. If it works, great. If not, well, Tony will probably grab the reigns again. Who knows. Not a big deal imo.
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3:39PM on 07/06/2016
For someone that anything and/or everything is racist, I imagine he wouldn't think. This is another silly marketing stunt, like the female Thor.

Why is it so difficult for artists to create innovative original female characters?

Is there a reason that female characters only seem to be able to follow in the footsteps of male innovators?



For someone that anything and/or everything is racist, I imagine he wouldn't think. This is another silly marketing stunt, like the female Thor.

Why is it so difficult for artists to create innovative original female characters?

Is there a reason that female characters only seem to be able to follow in the footsteps of male innovators?



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4:59PM on 07/06/2016
It comes down to the public supporting the unknown and unestablished. If they were doing so in large numbers, then it wouldn't be a problem. They're using the brand to their advantage here.
It comes down to the public supporting the unknown and unestablished. If they were doing so in large numbers, then it wouldn't be a problem. They're using the brand to their advantage here.
5:08PM on 07/06/2016
So what happens when the segment of the public that were fans of Tony Stark abandon the property because they don't find a 15 year old girl compelling?
So what happens when the segment of the public that were fans of Tony Stark abandon the property because they don't find a 15 year old girl compelling?
3:35PM on 07/06/2016
Marvel Comics continue to be destroyed by a vengeful Perlmutter and Alonso. I swear Disney is asleep at the wheel by not taking better control of the publishing arm at marvel before these fools bankrupt the comics division.
Marvel Comics continue to be destroyed by a vengeful Perlmutter and Alonso. I swear Disney is asleep at the wheel by not taking better control of the publishing arm at marvel before these fools bankrupt the comics division.
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