Language & Literature

Comic Book Characters and Diversity

We’re very pleased here at Jump. In the last few months, several of our favourite comic book characters have been changed and redesigned. This isn’t just about new costumes.
It shows that the designers and writers want to make these stories more diverse. After all, not every person in the world is white and male…so it seems silly that superheroes should be!
Read on to find out about the transformations of Batgirl, Thor and others.

 

 

ms marvel textKamala Khan is an ordinary Muslim American teenager from New Jersey, and a huge fan of comics, in particular Carol Danvers/Ms Marvel. She gained her superpowers and her name from Carol Danvers. Her superpowers include the ability to shape-shift – both her entire body and/or a body part such as increasing the size of her fists! She also increases the length of her legs, enabling her to travel long distances in a very short time period. 

 

 

she-ra She-Ra is He-Man’s twin, and both fight evil in Eternia. She-Ra at first worked for the enemy, Hordak, but turned against them when she discovered that she was He-Man’s sister and had been kidnapped as a baby. Stronger than He-Man, She-Ra is also very clever, and likes to outwit her enemies. She can also heal wounds and talk to animals, and her sword can change into all sorts of other weapons. We love this new cover, where she looks brave and powerful – very different from her first ever appearance in the He-Man cartoon!

 

 

thorNow this one is VERY exciting. For the first time in fifty years, Thor will now be…a woman. The idea of Thor has existed for a long time, since the beginnings of Norse mythology, when he was thought of as the god of thunder. The superhero in comics is very similar, and has an extremely powerful hammer that allows him to fly, travel through time, and summon lightning, wind and snow. Writers wanted to update this character of Thor, and they also wanted to encourage more girls and women to read the stories. So Thor is now the Goddess of Thunder. We hope the Frost Giants are ready for her!

 

 

captain americaCaptain America is a superhero who came into being during World War II, when a young man called Steve Rogers was accidentally given a special serum that gave him superhuman powers. He wears the American flag on his costume, carries a powerful shield and helps the United States fight evil. In the Marvel comic stories, a fight with Iron Nail causes him to lose his powers and become old and weak. He then passes his magical shield onto Sam Wilson, a young African-American, making him the first black Captain America. Even today, there are still very few black comic book characters, so this is brilliant news.

 

spiderwomanNot many people have heard of Spider-Woman, but she first appeared in a comic more than 35 years ago! We think she’s pretty awesome – she is super strong and fast, impossible to poison, and can hear and smell far better than humans. She can also cut through metal and cling to buildings and walls like a real spider. Her ‘alter ego’ (or secret identity) is Jessica Drew, who was accidentally affected by spider venom as a young girl. She has featured in stories with Iron Man and other characters, but for the first time this year, she gets her own comic. We think she deserves it!

 

batgirlBatgirl is also getting a new comic! Librarian by day, superhero by night, Batgirl was originally the ‘sidekick’ of Batman and Robin, but over the years has become a great character in her own right. In the comic stories, Batman even tried to persuade her to give up crime fighting because she’s a girl – thankfully, she ignored him! In these new stories, Batgirl has lost everything in a fire and goes back to Gotham. It isn’t long before she gets caught up in all the mysterious goings-on. The artist behind Batgirl’s new look is a woman called Babs Tarr, who is a fantastic video games artist. We can’t wait to read it! (And we think her yellow Doc Martens are cool.)

What do you think about these new and improved superheroes? Which are your favourites?

Featured Image – Batgirl by Starr/Stewart

Joanna

Jump! Mag's intern. MSc Publishing student. Literature advocate. Fond of hyphenation. Lancastrian.

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3 Comments

  1. 1

    Brilliant post – really exciting positive set of characters, for our really exciting positive girls and boys. La révolution!

  2. 2

    My 8yo daughter thinks Batgirl looks wicked but she doesn’t have her own email address yet so she asked me to leave a comment!
    Cool transformations, love it!

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