Marvel's Newest Superhero Is Combating Stereotypes in the Best Way
This is Cindy Moon. In a recent re-launch of the Amazing Spider-Man series, she was introduced as a classmate of Peter Parker's.
Like Parker, her life is transformed when a radioactive spider bites her and grants her superpowers.
Unlike her famous counterpart, she's an Asian-American woman, making her one of the few heroes of color — let alone female heroes of color — in the entire Marvel universe.
This is especially remarkable in light of recent news: Moon, otherwise know as Silk, will be given her own comic series starting in 2015.
Angry Asian Man reports that Marvel announced the series at a New York Comic Con panel this weekend, and writer Robbie Thompson and artist Stacey Lee will pen the first issue.
"I find a lot of inspiration in Cindy," Thompson said in an interview with Comic Book Resources. "You're really going to see a great dynamic character ... she's learned a lot and had to grown up pretty fast [since she was first introduced]," and "[we're] going to be exploring more of that ... growing up and really learning how to have both a personal life and a super hero life."
The series will start following a decade of self-imposed exile for the character. Thompson says the dynamic will be "kind of like being from a small town, leaving when you're 18 years old, and then coming back for your 10-year high school reunion. There's that culture clash of the town and your friends have moved on without you and you had this 10-year journey that's obviously, for her, been very insular."
Either way, it's exciting to imagine where Moon's arc will take her. Her appearance is already part of a self-described new era for Marvel, whose recent forays into diversified representation — whether it's Kamala Khan, their first Muslim female superhero, or the reintroduction of Captain America as a black man — are part of an ongoing attempt to "reflect the growing diversity of its readers," according to Al Jazeera.
Not to mention its significance for Asian-American women in the media. Critics have long bemoaned how these characters are confined to "model minority" or hyper-sexualized stereotypes in film and TV, so it's refreshing to see a more nuanced depiction (though the skin-tight bodysuit isn't helping).
Along with the recent re-imagining of the Green Turtle — hailed as "the world's first Asian-American superhero" — Cindy Moon's presence is encouraging in a notoriously homogenous (read: white) American comics scene. Hopefully there'll be more like her in the near future.