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Marvel’s new Iron Man is a black woman who attends MIT

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Fans of Marvel Comics know that its stable of superheroes is not a terribly diverse bunch, with the exception of Luke Cage, who's black, and Hulk, who's green. That's changing.

Marvel has revealed that the new Iron Man — the person who will take over for Tony Stark — is Riri Williams, a black teenage girl who's studying at MIT.

Brian Michael Bendis, who writes the "Iron Man" comic, told Time magazine that he was inspired by a story about a young woman in Chicago who used her smarts to survive a lousy childhood and go off to college.


"It just seemed that sort of violence inspiring a young hero to rise up and act, and using her science acumen, her natural born abilities that are still raw but so ahead of where even Tony Stark was at that age, was very exciting to me," Bendis said.

In the comic, Riri Williams catches Stark's attention when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm at MIT. Stark, the fictional character behind the Iron Man suit in the film version, is an MIT graduate. Played on screen by Robert Downey Jr., Stark is billed as a boy genius who attended the school as a teenager and later graduated at the top of his class.