Marvel Comics Censors King Conan #2 Artwork Following Native American Cultural Appropriation Accusations
In light of the backlash of a new King Conan character sharing the same name as Pocahontas’ historic private nickname and scantily clad appearance, Marvel has officially edited out the first comic book depiction of Jason Aaron’s creation, altering it. . wardrobe in an effort to both alienate her from Native American cultures and desexualize her appearance.
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Introduced by Aaron and artist Mahmud Asrar in King Conan Vol. 2 #2, the controversial character in question first made herself known to readers on the issue’s last page, watching the titular barbarian from atop a mountain as she finds herself intrigued by the possibility that he may survive one night among the legions of undead who inhabit his home island, the Golden Ruin.
In it, the then-unnamed character is seen wearing little more than a metal bikini, a puffy fabric ornament at his pelvis, and a headdress adorned with bird feathers.
While the character’s debut caused little uproar, her subsequent appearance in the next issue – and more specifically the exposition given regarding her backstory – would.
After finally meeting Conan, the mysterious woman gives her name Princess Matoaka and explains that she began living in an unspecified fictional kingdom in South America, before her love for an explorer of the similar fictional country of Acheron failed. leads to his home being raped and plundered by his compatriots for his treasure.
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Blamed for the ruin of her people, Princess Matoaka was then exiled, adrift at sea with a heap of treasure, and cursed to serve, wherever she landed, as a diversion for any would-be invaders of her home. .
Although the entirety of Aaron’s story depicts fictional characters and locations, the Avengers writer has come under fire on social media after some readers took offense to the princess sharing a name with the Real-world Pocahontas, who later in life privately went by the name Matoaka and her depiction as a victim of white explorers.
“This is active violence against us and our community,” wrote Final Space and My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Choose Your Own Ending Writer Kelly Lynne D’Angelo, whose tweets in response to the character reveal were most widely cited by those who proclaim the problematic character. “The sexualization of a real young girl who was raped and killed young affects our murdered and missing Indigenous women TODAY. you are backward, sick and should give every penny you earned creating this to #MMIW”.
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Eventually, this backlash would lead Aaron to issue an apology, writing in a March 2 statement to Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston, “I made the rash decision to name a character Matoaka, a name most closely associated with the true- Native American figure, Pocahontas.
“This new character is a millennial supernatural princess from a cursed island in a world of pastiche and dark fantasy and was never meant to be based on anyone from the story,” he said. “I should have better understood the true meaning and resonance of the name and recognized that it was not appropriate to use it.”
“I understand the outrage expressed by those who hold the true legacy of Matoaka to heart, and for all of this and the distress it has caused, I apologize,” he concluded. “As part of this apology, I have already taken what I was paid for the issue and donated it to the National Resource Center for Indigenous Women. The character’s name and appearance will be adjusted for the remainder of this miniseries and in all digital and collected editions.
Keeping that promise, Marvel has now officially edited out the princess’ appearance in the digital release of King Conan Vol. 2 #2, replacing her golden outfit with a loose tunic and her feathered headdress with a simple one decorated with nondescript blue hair.
As of this writing, it’s unclear what the princess’s new name will be, as Marvel has yet to update their digital version of King Conan Vol. 2 #3.
What do you think of this modification of King Conan’s work? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments below!
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