Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett looks at Shuri, Marvel Rising, and names a new "Most Unexpected Cartoon Character of Them All."

After seeing​ Black Panther I knew (well, hoped) it was only a matter of time until another one of its breakout characters received their own Marvel Comic.  Even so, I’ve got to confess I was equal parts pleased and surprised when I saw the Bustle piece, “Black Panther’s Sister Shuri Is Getting Her Own Comic Book Series & It’s Happening So, So Soon”. It's set for an October release and will be drawn by Leonardo Romero and written by author Nnedi Okorafor.  Along with having written the current Wakanda Forever mini-series featuring the Dora Milaje, Okorafor is also the author of the Afrofuturist science fiction novel​ Who Fears Death, which is being turned into an HBO series.

But this may be only the first comic that Shuri will be headlining.  According to the story on ICv2 (see "Marvel & IDW Partner On Middle Grades Line”), this new imprint will initially consist of Spider-Man, Avengers, and Black Panther. But according to “IDW to publish Marvel kids comics” on The Beat lists the comics they'll be publishing as New Spider-Man, Iron Man and Shuri.  As to whether this means the comic will be titled "Black Panther" because it's a better-known brand, or Shuri will take on the role of the Black Panther, I have no idea.

Previously I've written about the upcoming Marvel Rising initiative (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- Why There Are Always New Superheroes”).  Well, now that we're actually close to seeing the first of the Marvel Rising: Initiation short, Entertainment Weekly has run the exclusive story, “Marvel Rising aims to create superhero stories for a new generation of female fans.”  In it we learn how the shorts being released this summer sets the stage for the animated feature, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors.  Which will be shown on the Disney Channel this fall.

Embedded in the piece is a trailer for Marvel Rising: Initiation, and while I certainly like what I’ve seen of it so far, what’s actually important is how it appeals to young female viewers.  To find out, producers of the show did something almost never done in the comic book industry; they made an effort to actually ask them.  Of particular interest are these two paragraphs:

In order to ensure that Marvel Rising would resonate with its target audience, Lane and his team sat down with young fans to talk about what kinds of stories they’d like to see.  These conversations informed elements of Marvel Rising animation, especially when it came to character designs.

“We’re very interested in their opinions and they had a lot to say,” Lane says.  “One thing many girls were asking for was different body types. In animation, characters all sort of look the same, there are similar body types based on model sheets, but here every female character has a different body from the other characters.  They were also very open to the ethnic and religious diversity of the cast.”

Not to signal my virtue or anything, but I knew Marvel Rising had a unique look the moment I saw this image of Doreen Green (Squirrel Girl) talking with Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel).  I couldn’t help notice not only does Squirrel Girl have a different body shape than Ms. Marvel, she isn't depicted a standard issue skinny cartoon teenager or coded as being “oversized.”  Like in the pages of her comic book series, Squirrel Girl is shown to be a hero even if her proportions are more human than they are heroic.  And I know there are a lot of people who appreciate that; not all of them are girls.

Since this week’s Confession seems to serve a particular theme. I decided I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a piece that appeared on Syfywire.  “All Hail Kida of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Disney’s Forgotten Queen of Color”.  It makes the case that Kida, a white-haired nearly 9000-year old “warrior princess of color” was a great character who Disney seems to have disavowed because the film wasn’t a huge financial hit.

I think it’s a little more complicated than just money.  I liked the movie quite a bit, but am not blind to its many flaws. Like the way its far too many silly/grotesque comedy relief characters are in sharp contrast to the villains Commander Rourke and Helga Sinclair, who look like they've escaped from a Heavy Metal movie.  And while I’m usually down for a hero who’s a complete nerd, Milo Thatch is just too weak and uninteresting, especially when he’s constantly being compared to Kida.

So, seeing as how Disney clearly has an undiscovered asset in Princess Kida, why not do a contemporary remake of Atlantis where she protects her kingdom from both internal threats and incursions from the surface world?  If that’s too expensive an enterprise, why not try it out first as a comic?  I have no doubt there are plenty of creators, both here and in Europe, who would jump at working on such a project.

Given all of the above, would qualify Princess Kida for the title of “Most Unexpected Cartoon Character of Them All,” but no.  That honor has to go to Rainbow Brite, or as the Bleeding Cool put it, “Rainbow Brite, a New Comic by Jeremy Whitley and Brittany Williams for Dynamite.”  I’ll be honest; I never thought I'd ever see her again.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of