Valiant comics has always been one of the more cutting edge alternative to the Big Two. Instead of always drawing on a formula, Valiant brings in major comics talent to tell stories with political and social themes. Because of the way that Marvel and DC dominate superhero comics, it has been difficult to break out of the margins, but Valiant has maintained a committed readership. Its reputation for pushing the edges is perfect as they announce a new limited series focusing on a ‘plus size’ superhero.
The book will focus on a character known from the Harbinger Renegade, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert. In a world where comic books portray bodies that are not reflective of the real world and take an antiquated idea of what “attractive” and “powerful” looks like, Faith instead has curvy proportions that add to the kind of body diversity seen within the comic book sphere. Much has been said about the strange correlation between body presentation and superpowers, noting that since superpowers are rarely derived from the body type, then why is it that we only see one type of body?
Warren Simons, the Editor in Chief of Valiant, spoke about the qualities that make Faith a character that Valiant wants to continue with.
“Faith is one of the most unique characters in comics – a sci-fi loving, Firefly-quoting fangirl that wound up standing shoulder-to-shoulder alongside some of the most powerful superheroes on Earth, who, at the end of the day, might just prove herself to be the bravest of them all.”
“Since she first stepped off the page in HARBINGER through HARBINGER WARS, UNITY, and ARMOR HUNTERS, fans far and wide have demanded that she be given her time to shine in the spotlight. Fortunately, Jody, Francis, and Marguerite are the perfect team to give Faith the leading role she deserves with a fast and fun-filled series that will establish her once and for all as one of Valiant’s leading lights.”
What is also nice about this announcement is that it lacks the tokenizing that often happens with diversity in comic books. Instead of focusing on her weight when presenting the book, they instead focus on her as an interesting character that can help drive the Valiant universe. This may seem like a small step, but it is actually a huge leap in the comics world when you think about the incredibly narrow range of appearance that superheros have been expected to have. This may be a new turn into the move towards body diversity and representation, not to mention a new hero to keep your eye on.
The first issue of FAITH will be released in January, 2016, so add it to your pull list.