Last week, the comic book world trembled with the awesome surprise that Marvel's Civil War II arc would introduce an Iron Man replacement, Riri Williams. The 15-year-old MIT student reverse engineers Tony Stark's trademark armor, gaining his admiration and support. In less than a week, all available issues of Invincible Iron Man #7 (Williams' debut) through #11 sold out completely.
Now an interesting bit of backstory's bubbled up through the inter-ether: Invincible Iron Man artist and co-creator Mike Deodato, Jr. tweeted that Riri Williams was not only inspired by but based on 14-year-old actress Skai Jackson:
Jackson thanked the artist on Instagram, writing, "Thank you @mikedeodato ! I am so honored that I was your inspiration. Young black girls can be superheroes too! #blackgirlmagic #skaisthelimit #ririwilliams #ironman #marvel."
Jackson starred in Disney Channel's Jessie as Zuri Ross from 2011-'15; she's currently starring on the spinoff Bunk'd, which launched last summer and will return in August. She previously voice-acted on Nick Jr.'s Bubble Guppies. Interestingly, folks on Twitter were already spotting the likeness and calling for Jackson to play Iron Man in Marvel's upcoming movies:
The Riri Williams storyline is an exciting move to diversify Marvel's lead characters, but the book being written by Brian Michael Bendis—a celebrated comics writer but, nonetheless, a white man—has been criticized:
Upon the Riri Williams x Civil War II reveal, Bendis said, "I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place." He also noted that Williams' "brain is maybe a little better" than Tony Stark's.
Next, kick it with some cosplayers at New York Comic Con: