Marvel Comics writer Jim Zub has responded to detractors who believe his introduction of a brand-new superhero -- a young Inuk named Snowguard, aka Amka Aliyak -- is part of some political agenda. Instead, he made it clear the character's addition is all about lifting readers up and bringing new voices to the fore.
Zub made it clear the decision was all on him, with the aim of enhancing the publisher's all-around diversity. Amka debuted in Champions #19 in an arc that saw her discovering a villain using her land’s spiritual energy. In the process of stopping him, she winds up with powers of her own: The ability to take on animal traits and shapeshift.
"I didn’t 'cave' to any pressure. I wanted to add a Canadian-Inuk hero to Champions because I thought it would be something interesting to explore and help fuel memorable stories. Good or bad, that’s on me," Zub wrote on his blog.
"There was/is no mandate from on high and no one is telling me what to do beyond the normal cycle of editorial feedback and approval when it comes to doing work-for-hire comic writing. After four years of writing at Marvel I decided to exert a tiny bit of influence and create a new Canadian superhero. The only 'agenda' I have is a 'Maple Syrup Agenda,' bringing some new Canadian content to the Marvel Universe," Zub added.
"Beyond the cultural aspects of Amka Aliyak’s heritage, I want her to be an ongoing member of the Champions because it shouldn’t be a big deal to have her in the mix (And it is a mix. We have a large cast of characters so Amka won’t always be in the spotlight). Dani Moonstar and Forge have had similar roles in New Mutants and the X-Men in the past. Amka is not the first and won’t be the last."
Amka will join the Champions as Snowguard in Champions #21, which goes on sale on June 20.