Riri Comic Scandal; What’s the Big Deal?

Recently, Marvel released a new cover for their Riri Williams/Iron Heart comic run. The basis of this comic series is that Riri Williams *an intelligent 15 year old who was admitted to MIT* is collaborating with Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Plus she’s an African American character with a great range of diversity in the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, J Scott Campbell released the cover and fans including myself are less than pleased.

Riri doesn’t look like a teenager. She is very voluptuous and her body is drawn in an over sexualized way. I personally am not a fan of this cover because I think Riri could be drawn to look more like a teenager. However, I do realize that some teenagers go through puberty earlier and so they have mature bodies at that age. I wasn’t that person, but I would say that a majority of teenagers do not look like this.

Riri Williams.jpg

Marvel hired J Scott Campbell to draw the original cover. Campbell is easily not the best choice because he’s used to drawing pin up art. Pin up art is perhaps not appropriate to incorporate into drawing a teenager. So I will give Campbell some credit that he’s drawing what he is used to drawing. Campbell reacted somewhat over the top to these accusations. He instead called out the “social justice warriors”and said we should get over it. I can understand getting defensive over something that you’re passionate about, but maybe try and see why so many people are questioning this cover.

So the big question is how could this be improved? There’s an article I read about different artists drawing Riri as a realistic teenager and these drawings are truly amazing. I will link the article down below, but here is a sample picture of a realistic drawing that I would have loved to see.

Riri Williams New Sketch.jpg

So some of you may say, it’s just a comic book what’s the big deal? Well the big deal is that women read comic books too. I don’t want to see female characters constantly being drawn with big breasts and pants that go too far down on the hips. Especially if the character is a 15 year old. Now whether or not the cover should have been pulled is a different story. It can be considered a form of censorship, but I’m not going to discuss it here. What do you think of the original cover? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Riri Illustrations

12 thoughts on “Riri Comic Scandal; What’s the Big Deal?

  1. I hadn’t seen the cover before reading your blog. But I agree. She’s too sexualised and doesn’t look like a 15 year old.

    It’s a shame. I was interested to see where the “new” Avengers and Champions storylines were headed.


  2. I saw this mess too 😮 A 15-yo doesn’t look like that at all! I’ll be happy if they decide to change the cover to something more realistic. Besides, people like to see themselves represented. 15-yo that see this might think that there’s something wrong with them… Over-sexualisation has to stop soon.


  3. No, that is not a 15 year old at all. I agree completely with how you feel and think that it is over sexualized. Some girls may look like that, but this is now what we are looking for a comic book readers. She is setting an example for all those future comic book girls. We need to stop the oversexualization.


    • I completely agree. It’s not too much to ask to have real women with awesome personalities in comic books that don’t need big breasts. I just can’t get over that her character is supposed to be a teenager. If she was supposed to be a college freshman, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.


  4. The realistic teenager samples are so perfect. The over-sexualization in comics is just ridiculous, especially in this day and age where more and more women are reading, drawing, and writing comics. That cover is gorgeous, but certainly not what a 15 year old girl should look like. Setting very unrealistic standards for young women:/


  5. This is such a shame. That cover is completely inappropriate for both 15 years old NOT looking like that, and also, we should NOT NOT NOT be encouraging people to VIEW a 15 year old character (even fictional!) in a sexual manner. That’s just wrong. The art you shared here below is SO PERFECT. I definitely feel like there’s been progress in recent years but this cover is definitely a step in the wrong direction.


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