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Black female Iron Man cover pulled due to over-sexualisation

CRITICISMS: Fans have accused the comic book of 'over-sexualising' heroine Riri Williams on the cover

COMIC BOOK giants Marvel and Midtown Comics have been forced to scrap the specialist cover of the new Iron Man, which features long-awaited black heroine Riri Williams, after fans criticised the illustration for over-sexualising the teenager.

The Invincible Iron Man #1 artwork, created by J Scott Campbell, has subsequently been dropped after fans expressed disappointment that the superhero appeared several shades lighter than her original complexion and was drawn with a noticeably mature body.

Teresa Jusino, an assistant editor for The Mary Sue, slammed the cover saying: “It’s as though they decided a teenage girl’s face was fine," she wrote, "but let’s attach a more grown-up body to that face, because she’s not a true female superhero until you can imagine having sex with her.”

A preview of the originally intended cover was unveiled last week (Oct 19) only to be dropped the day after following the public backlash.

Hitting back at criticisms, Campbell defended his artwork on Twitter: “Hmmm. This is the character I was asked to draw, people understand that, right? Is it THAT different?”


BEFORE AND AFTER: The new Riri Williams, right, appears several shades lighter than her original complexion, left, and was drawn with a noticeably mature body

“I gave her a sassy ‘attitude'," he told one Twitter user. “‘Sexualising’ was not intended. This reaction is odd. The crop-top was in the existing design.”

However, the writer of the series, Brian Michael Bendis, said that he’s glad that Marvel pulled the cover.

“Specialty covers are not in my purview and it was being produced separately from the work of the people involved in making the comic,” he wrote on Tumblr. “Not to pass the buck but that’s the fact. If I had seen a sketch or something I would have voiced similar concerns. I am certain the next version will be amazing."

Williams was announced in July as the successor to the Iron Man legacy laid by billionaire weapons inventor Tony Stark.

She’s described as a Chicago-born teenager and genius student who enrolled at the famous technology university MIT years before her time.

The issue will hit stores on November 8.

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