Marvel has tapped poet and playwright Eve Ewing and artist Kevin Libranda as the creative team on a new Ironheart comic. The duo will continue the solo adventures of the young Riri Williams following her leading role in Invincible Iron Man.
“Periodically I have to sit back and go, ‘Omigosh, I’m a Marvel writer’ — there’s nothing more implausible and more amazing that’s ever happened to me,” Ewing told the Chicago Tribune. “When you’re a writer, oftentimes you’re grinding away and there’s a short list where you can tell your mom, grandma or your brother and they fully understand what it is. But this is something where everybody gets it; everybody understands the pop culture resonance with Marvel – what it means and what it stands for, so it’s really exciting.”
Ewing and Riri share a Chicago connection, and the writer plans on exploring that side of the armored superhero.
“She was born and raised in Chicago, but because she’s a superhero, her adventures take her all over the place. She also had a lab at MIT, that’s also kind of her headquarters," Ewing said. "Her mom still lives in Chicago. I decided specifically that she’s from South Shore. Previous writers put in so much, in terms of beginning her autobiographical details, but as a Chicagoan, I want to get down and dirty — like where did Riri go to high school? What bus does she take? Does she eat hot chips? These are the things that are really going to make her a full three-dimensional person. I’m really excited about putting in some of those little Chicago details.”
Ewing's path to becoming a Marvel writer included a fan petition in 2017 for the poet to pen a Riri Williams series. Fortunately for her, Marvel was listening and paying attention to the overwhelming fan support.
“The campaign was for me to work on ‘Invincible Iron Man,’ but when Marvel said we’re actually thinking about doing a solo title for Riri, that was like ‘Omigosh, this is the coolest thing ever,’" she said. "It’s really special, because this is a character that has some groundwork laid already but is still very new in terms of her role in the Marvel universe; it’s almost like getting into business on the ground floor. I get to play a role in really shaping who she is and who she’s going to become.”
"So I think the really exciting thing is really building out Riri, not as just Ironheart, but who is she as a person?" Ewing added when discussing the issues and storylines she plans on touching upon. "Specifically, what does it mean to be a teenage black girl from Chicago? Somebody who has lost family members to gun violence, somebody who understands the realities of the community is going to bring something very different to questions about justice and who the good guy is and who the bad guy is and what you do about that. She’s also a teenage genius and because of that, she skipped over a lot of social things — she went to high school when she was very young, she’s already in MIT, so Riri is not really great with her peers, she doesn’t really have any friends. Being a genius and knowing how to fix stuff and build amazing gadgets doesn’t necessarily make you a happy person. So how do you figure out how to use the power that’s available to you and how to connect with and be accountable to the people around you?”
Ironheart #1 by Eve Ewing and Kevin Libranda goes on sale in November