Marvel Introduces Black Teen Superhero in 'Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur'

August 17th 2015

Laura Donovan

Marvel is introducing Lunella Lafayette, a Black teen superhero in the upcoming comic "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur." The character Lunella is inspired by a short-lived Marvel classic released 40 years ago called "Devil Dinosaur," which told the story of a T-Rex and his male friend. This new take on the previous comic will surround the dinosaur's friendship with Lunella, which Entertainment Weekly describes as "a pre-teen super genius."

Speaking to EW, Marvel assistant editor Emily Shaw said the idea for Lunella was born after the creative team realized Marvel lacked characters that all ages could relate to.

"[Editor Mark Paniccia] and I were talking about how whenever people come in with young kids, or even just for Mark’s own kids, we don’t have that many publications that we can give to people that have that broad reach,” Shaw explained to EW. “Generally, we’re skewing a little bit older with a lot of our titles and we wanted to create something that adults and kids could really love, like a Pixar feel. That’s where the tone jumped off for us.”

Writer Amy Reeder told EW that Lunella is like a “female Inspector Gadget—only this time, she also knows what she’s doing. Moon Girl is definitely a type of personality that I had in my mind for a long time, that hopefully people can identify with in different aspects,” she admitted. “We all feel isolated or left out at times. So it’s been a joy to try to create something like this.”

Reeder added that this is a positive change of pace for Marvel, which will pay close attention to Lunella's life.

"Emily and Mark very strongly want this to be a book that tells you a bit about her life, that shows her in school, that shows her interacting with people,” she said. “It’s not all about the Marvel continuity. It’s about people, and that’s something that I’m really excited about it. It’s something that I actually didn’t expect working for Marvel, but I’m super excited about it, and I [think] people are just going to love it. It’s going to have a lot of heart because it’s all coming from a good place.”

Artist Natacha Bustos said she was "tremendously honored" to create the diverse comic as a "half Afro-Brazilian and half Chilean" individual.

“For decades now, we have seen more independent publishers taking a gamble on diversification, but always within the underground scene,” Bustos said.

“It’s really important that the mainstream throws up new references like these and it’s an honor to be a part of that change that Marvel is bringing to the comic book creative landscape. A greater number of readers are looking for characters they can identify with, and above all, with the aim that any reader, whatever their background or lifestyle, is capable of transcending their own identities to see themselves in a mirror of entertainment for 20 or 30 minutes without any difference,” Bustos said.

Here's how others reacted to the news about "Moon Girl:"

Another new female, super hero character landing in mainstream entertainment is "Kara Zor-El," played by Melissa Benoist, in the upcoming fall CBS show "Supergirl." The show producers tell the Wrap that fans shouldn't expect the Man of Steel to make appearances on the show.

“He will be a factor in her life but you won’t see him exactly on screen,” DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns told the Wrap. “He’s gonna be more in the background.”

“We’re very excited that this series is very much the adventures of Supergirl,” executive producer Ali Adler told the Wrap. “And as much as we respect the history of Superman, it’s very much her point of view.”