Marvel & Star Wars Celebrate Members of the Pride and BIPOC Communities
By Malachi Martin
Celebrating the Queer Community
Marvel and Lucasfilm both announced that the former will be celebrating both Pride Month and BIPOC achievements within the comic book industry. Throughout the month of June, Marvel Comics will be releasing a collection of covers to celebrate Pride featuring LGBTQIA+ characters within the galaxy far, far away while also celebrating the LGBTQIA+ talent behind the creation of these characters. Marvel.com has also revealed that each of these covers will feature Pride versions of the comic series’ title alongside Star Wars’ official Pride logo. This collection will feature twelve LGBTQIA+ characters who have appeared in various mediums within the Star Wars galaxy. The characters included in this collection are:
Archaeologist Doctor Aphra, who first appeared in the 2015 Darth Vader comic book series, before headlining her own series in 2016, titled Doctor Aphra. She quickly became a fan favourite and was created by LGBTQIA+ writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca.
Non-binary Kho Phon Farrus, who made her first appearance in the pages of Doctor Aphra in 2021. Kho Phon Farrus was created by LGBTQIA+ writer Alyssa Wong and artist Minkyu Wong.
Three characters who play pivotal roles within the 2020 Darth Vader comic book series: Sabé, Saché, and Yané. All appearing in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, they were created by George Lucas before having their characters expanded upon by writer Greg Pak and artist Raffaele Lenco.
Bounty hunter T’onga and her wife Losha, who both first appeared in the Bounty Hunters series (2020). The couple were created by writer Ethan Sacks and artist Paolo Villanelli.
Hailing from the High Republic multimedia project in High Republic Adventures (2021), Jedi Padawan Lula Talisola and Force-sensitive Zeen Mrala. Appearing in the same issue, they were both created by writer Daniel José Older and artist Harvey Tolibao.
Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy who first appeared in the Phasma novel in 2017. Created by author Delilah S. Dawson.
And finally, Larma D’Acy and her wife Wrobie Tyce, a Resistance Commander and Resistance Pilot respectively. Larma first appeared in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) and was created by director Rian Johnson. Her wife Wrobie first appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) and was created by J.J. Abrams.
These covers will be illustrated by artists Jan Bazaldua, Derek Charm, Kei Zama, Phil Jimenez, JJ Kirby, Javier Garrón and Paulina Ganucheau. Commentary from these artists is available on StarWars.com.
Celebrating the BIPOC Community
In 1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Marvel Comics’ first Black superhero within the pages of the Fantastic Four (1961–2015) when they introduced T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther, to the world. Since then the number of Black super heroes within the Marvel pantheon has only continued to grow.
Looking on toward the future, Marvel announced the upcoming release for its illustrated text My Super Hero Is Black on Marvel.com. #1 New York Times best-selling author John Jennings and producer Angélique Roché will join forces to bring out this illustrated text, which is set for release on 11 October. Described as a “rich examination, celebration, and historical overview” of the Black heroes within Marvel Comics, My Super Hero Is Black takes a look back on the history of said characters and creators. Additionally, Black creators that have worked for Marvel will have their accounts, inspirations and their relationships with Marvel’s characters featured in the book.
My Super Hero Is Black will be the subsequent title published following the new collaboration between Marvel and Simon & Schuster’s imprint, Gallery Books Group. The first title that was published as a result of this collaboration was in March this year and titled Super Visible: The Story of the Women of Marvel. Its premise was similar to that of My Super Hero Is Black, albeit focusing on Marvel’s feminist characters.
Co-author Angélique Roché told Entertainment Weekly “My Super Hero Is Black follows the journey of the industry on its path to the modern Black super hero, one of the grandest examples of our modern mythology.” Roché further added, “the narrative of the Black super hero, its impact on individuals and how it has evolved our country – and around the world tells not an amazing narrative of fictional stories but reflects the real-life complexities of Black representation in media.”
In tandem with Roché, co-author John Jennings weighed in on how he feels about the book they are writing and what it means for readers, adding “Angélique and I have endeavoured to create a love letter to the characters we hold dear, a celebration of Black characters and creators in the vast Marvel universe, and a document for future generations to come.”
In 2017, Stan Lee said Marvel’s stories “had room for everyone regardless of their race, gender, religion, or colour of their skin.” Marvel shows that this continues to hold true.