As the decade comes to a close and everyone is reflecting on what has made this decade worthwhile, and truly the immense amount of new and diverse comic characters we have seen this decade is amazing. Here are just ten of the most important comic characters to have debuted in this era.
10. Oya (Marvel)
Oya was introduced to us in Uncanny X-Men #528 as Idie Okonkwo, the third of the five lights that activated around the Globe. When Idie was introduced to us she was a fourteen year old girl from Delta State, Nigeria. When her X-Gene activated , she burned down her village which caused the soldiers in Nigeria to brand her as a witch and almost killer. After being saved by Hope Summers and Storm, she joined Wolverine and his Jean Grey School and became confident with her powers. Although being underrated and underused, Oya has been noted as one of the most powerful of the new age mutants because of how well she mirrors Storm’s powers and backstory.
9. Bunker (DC) 2011
Created by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth, Miguel Jose Barragan was Born in El Chilar, Mexico and was introduced in Teen Titans vol. 4, #1. Before becoming Bunker, Miguel was an openly gay teenager who generally was accepted in his community. The character broke the mold for LGBT superheroes given the positivity of his backstory and the acceptance he received. Bunker’s ability to create energy constructs with his mind, often creating bricked walls and fists resembles Green Latern’s Power Ring. Like Oya, Bunker has been servery underused despite showing promise. He and the other Titans were the reason Superboy was freed and dismantled N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s secret complex in the Antarctic.
8. Spider-Woman (Marvel) 2014
Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez, Gwen Stacey or Spider-Gwen or Ghost-Spider has become one of the most popular Marvel characters since her debut in 2014. The daughter of Earth-65’s Greg Stacey, Gwen Stacey is the Spider-Woman for her universe. Possessing the same abilities as Spider-Man, she has been received well among comic fans. Gwen is also noted as one of the main protagonists in the Spiderverse storylines and has been noted as one of the best Spider-Man variants in the comic history.
7. Duke Thomas (DC) 2014
Created by writers Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Duke Thomas is the latest member of the ever-growing Bat family. Appearing first in Batman: Zero Year, Duke and his family saved an unconscious Bruce Wayne during Hurricane Rene. After losing his parents as the result of Joker’s plot to recreate Bruce’s parents murder, Duke joined the robins to help protect the city. He and the other teen vigilantes were trained by Dick Grayson and Red Hood to become actual Robins. In true Batman and Robin fashion, Bruce sees potential in Duke and moves him into Wayne manner to become the new “Robin”. Unlike most of the other Robins, Duke is a metahuman with photokinetic Vision which gives him an advantage over the other Robins. Duke is now currently teamed up with Batman and the Outsiders with the name “The Signal”
6. Kamala Khan (Marvel)
Kamala Khan was created by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Scott Hepburn. She is the youngest of two children from a traditional Pakistani Family in New Jersey. She was a huge fan of the Avengers and even resorted to writing online fan-fiction about some of the members. After leaving a high school party, Kamala was encased by the Terrigen Mists activated her Inhuman gene.
After bursting from her cocoon, she took on the identity of Ms. Marvel, mirroring Carol Danvers version. Although Kamala took over the moniker of Ms. Marvel, her powers are distinctively different from Carol’s. Kamala is a polymorph after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, meaning she can stretch her body to amazing lengths and shape shift. Being one of the only Muslim American Superheros to be portrayed positively, Kamala has become a role model for many muslim comic book fans.
5. Naomi (DC) 2019
Created by writers Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and artist Jamal Campbell in 2019, Naomi is the newest member of the DC Universe. The adopted daughter of Greg McDuffie and Jen McDuffie’s world was turned upside down when Superman flies into town and opens up the mystery of her birth parents. After finding out her birth parents were superhuman beings as well, Naomi’s superpowers were activated and has become a mentee for Superman. Although Naomi is brand new superhero, she is showing promise and she has been hinted to be important for the entirety of the DC Universe. DC has hyped her comics to be, “the most sincere, inclusive and, yes, feminist comic you’ve ever read.”. Naomi is also named after comic book legend Dwayne McDuffie.
4. America Chavez (Marvel ) 2011
America Chavez was created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta in 2011. Being from an alternate reality (the Utopian Parallel), America’s two mothers sacrificed themselves to stabilized their reality to save its people. Feeling depressed about her mothers’ deaths, America began to dimension skip hoping to live up to her parents’ sacrifice by being an hero eventually becoming a part of The West Coast Avengers. America is Marvel’s first lesbian Latina superhero and has become one of the most popular marvel characters to come out of this decade. America is also a heavy hitter even Loki was quoted saying that she is “a superwoman who could throw tanks to the moon”.
3. Moon Girl (Marvel) 2015
Created by writers Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, Moon Girl has been described as the smartest character in the Marvel Universe. Lunella Lafayette is a 9 year old Black girl who also had the inhuman gene. After the death of Moon-Boy, the nightstone which Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur was after fell into the hands of Lunella. After terrigenesis, Lunella and Devil Dinosaur formed a mental link allowing them to switch bodies when needed. Moon Girl has been noted as one of the biggest (and cutest) Marvel characters to come out of this decade. Moon Girl is especially important for young women of color because of her intellect and interest in the STEM field.
2. Aqualad (DC)
Created by Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti and Phil Bourassa for the Cartoon Network’s Young Justice animated series, Jackson Hyde has become one of the most popular Black characters in the DC Universe. Born Kaldur’ahm, Jackson Hyde is the son of Aquaman villain Black Manta. While his mother was pregnant with him the Xebelian’s performed experiments on her which gave him his abilities. His Rebirth debut reimagined Kaldur as a queer man which made his character even more important. Kaldur’ahm also officially became Auquaman in the Young Justice Series and the show affirmed his queerness as well. Through his time in the comics and his time on our screens, Kaldur has became a fan favorite in every iteration he has been in. As a queer Black man, Kaldur continues to inspire comic fans all around.
And Number One…….
1. Miles Morales (Marvel) 2011
Created by Brian Michael Bendis, and drawn by artist Sara Pichelli, Miles first appeared in Ultimate Comics: Fallout issue 4. Miles is thirteen year old and the son of a Black Father and a Puerto Rican mother living in Brooklyn. In true Spiderman fashion, Miles is a science geek who is bitten by an radioactive spider and becomes Spider man. The character initially faced immense backlash due to Miles replacing Peter Parker after his death.
Since then, the character is currently a staple in the MCU. In December of 2018, Miles starred in his own film Into The Spiderverse. The movie not only featured animated superhero films in a new light but also highlighted diversity as well. The film won Best Animated Feature at Golden Globes and won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This is the first Afro-Latino superhero in theaters. The movie also sparked a wider discussion of the cultural significance of having Afro-Latino characters. Into the Spider-Verse is infused with Latino culture something that many Afro-Latinos have been waiting for.
Miles has been credited with the explosion of diversity that Marvel has underwent since his debut. From Jane Foster Thor and Amadeus Cho Hulk to Ms. Marvel and Kamala Khan; Miles’ success have paved the way for these characters to have a chance in the Marvel Universe. Miles lives on to be one of the most culturally dynamic and financially successful superheros to debut this decade!
While this list is only a sample of what the 2010’s has given comic book fans, it shows us how far we’ve come. The diversity and inclusion that each of these characters bring mirrors the importance of this decade. These characters’ diversity mirrors the faces of the ones who read comics and that matters. This is why I am even more excited for 2020 because it can only get better from here.
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