Valiant has a new solo comic for one of their superheroes, Faith, that in many ways is a lot like the hundreds already out there: she’s an orphan, a psiot1, a once ordinary teenager that finds herself fighting crime at night as Zephyr. Faith is not like other comic heroes in that she is overweight. Not curvy, not a few extra pounds, but obese. And the best part is that this isn’t even mentioned in the comic. If it weren’t for the fact that comics are visual mediums you wouldn’t even know. Faith’s weight isn’t the butt of any jokes and she’s not constantly dieting or worried about the scale. She lives her life and she kicks ass and that’s all that matters.

Many have reacted to a body positive superhero with applause, but as with anything there are some detractors. The most frequent issue I’ve seen raised is Faith’s health. Oh, okay, the make believe character’s cholesterol is what worries you? Here’s the thing, Faith may be overweight but she seems pretty healthy. She eats properly and she obviously gets plenty of exercise. Recent science has thrown the belief that fat is inherently unhealthy into question and there’s plenty to debate about whether or not this character is actually healthy, but I’m not going to. Because Faith is not a person in our universe, she’s a made up person in Valiant Universe and in a universe where people can have psionic powers like the ability to fly or move things with their mind, we’re going to just assume someone can’t be overweight and healthy?

If we will humor the concern trollers for a moment and assume it is legitimate worry for this nonexistent person’s health, where’s the outcry about other superhero’s unhealthy habits? Anyone demanding Wolverine stop smoking cigars? Iron Man and The Punisher have some serious alcohol abuse issues. Most superheroes are not a paragon of health, so why are we so worried about this one? This hypocrisy of holding this new female, overweight superhero to a different standard than the others needs to be examined.

There’s also the argument that she’s a bad example or role model for children. Again, with the smoking and the drinking and that time Captain America took a bunch of meth on accident? Superheroes often demonstrate not great behaviors and it’s a parent’s responsibility to be aware of the media their children are consuming and have conversations with them about what they’re seeing and hearing. No character, on TV or in movies or books, has more sway than a parent or guardian with a child. This argument, in all of its many forms, is always nonsense because it is not the rest of the world’s job to censor itself because you don’t want to have a conversation with your child. And if your concern is just a general, “Oh think of the children!” bit of nonsense, go ahead and shush your face.

I personally enjoyed reading Faith and I read it to my six-year-old, Claire, as well as my almost-seven-year-old niece and they liked it, too. I had thought about how I might answer any questions they had about Faith’s weight or body type before we read it but those questions never cropped up. They were more curious about plot issues and some one-liners that went a bit over their head. In the end I don’t think anyone gets to shame someone else for their weight, especially when that someone else isn’t real. If you’re 100 or 300 pounds, and you’re happy and you’re doing you, then go for it. Humans do come in all shapes and sizes and colors and all of it deserves to be represented. Plus the comic itself is a fun, tongue-in-cheek exploration of many comic tropes and cliches. I say read it if you like funny superheroes that kick ass.

  1. The term used in the Valiant Universe to describe those with special powers. 

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  • *slow claps* This was a great read. I need to get a copy of this comic as it sounds pretty good. I especially love this line “Most superheroes are not a paragon of health, so why are we so worried about this one? This hypocrisy of holding this new female, overweight superhero to a different standard that the others needs to be examined.” because it’s so true.