First plus-size female superhero soars into her own comic book, 'Faith'

Dimensions Magazine

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Random Heroine
Oct 20, 2010
St. Louis

The same week that Mattel unveiled three new body types for its iconic Barbie doll — including "curvy" Barbie — has brought another ripple in the cultural zeitgeist: a new comic book starring a plus-size female superhero.

"Faith," just out from Valiant Comics, is named for Faith Herbert, a superhero-loving fangirl who, despite her plus-size figure, can make herself lighter than air and fly.

Her heart is light as well. "Personality-wise she's very much like myself and any of my geek friends, albeit far more optimistic and far less snarky," Jody Houser, the comic's writer, told

Known as Zephyr when she's doing super stuff, Faith was introduced in the early '90s as part of a superhero team and has been one of Valiant's most popular characters ever since — "the moral compass of Valiant's universe," according to editor-in-chief Warren Simons.

"You don't need to look far to find a comic book featuring a grizzled antihero who kills without remorse," Simons told "Faith is the antithesis of that."

Her solo comic comes amid a renaissance for female superheroes. Supergirl is flying high in her own CBS series; Wonder Woman is about to make her big-screen bow in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," followed by her own movie next year, and Netflix's well-reviewed "Jessica Jones" has been renewed for a second season.

"We saw a trend of increasing female readership at least 10 years ago," said Gerry Gladston, co-owner of Manhattan's biggest comics stores, Midtown Comics. "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Thor — it's a lady carrying the hammer these days — Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Supergirl and Black Canary are just a few of the incredibly popular female characters."

But her comic is not for women only, Houser points out. "Faith is really for anyone who loves superheroes and wants to see a fun twist on them, sort of the way 'Galaxy Quest' was a twist on the sci-fi genre.

"Just like Wonder Woman, Faith is driven to help others in large part due to her compassionate nature," she said. "I think the two of them would get along very well."


Dimensions' loiterer
Sep 29, 2005
The great white north, eh?
Well, first printed comic from a substantial publisher -- don't forget Fatgirl33's online comics (you can find links to them here, if you search!)

But still, cool to see. I might have to pick up an issue just to do my bit to boost sales.


waiting for spring!
Feb 8, 2014
if you get the chance, read squirrel girl. it is a bit goofy, but a fun book.

i am glad they are coming along in the bbw superhero area. the only 2 i was aware of were big bertha or atom eve...both of who didn't even stay bbw. i will have to look into. luckily hub is a comic geek and was aware of her, so he can find some books for me.

thanks for the posting!!

fyi..hub mentioned there are 2 bbw characters that are well done. they are both in the gem and the holograms series. one of the holograms from gem and the holograms comic and the other one is in the misfits. he is going to find me those as well.


Sep 30, 2005
Faith's original stories from the 1990s were anything but size-friendly.

In Harbinger #1 she first appeared as a comic book store employee geek who was "pushed" mentally by Peter Stanchek into developing her powers, which didn't manifest right away like with the others.

But if you look at the COVER of #1, you will find a relatively thin girl flying around!

Furthermore, she was often referred to by the others (and sometimes even by herself) as... Zeppelin.

This became magnified in the Parody Press comic, "Headbanger" in which everyone has a musical theme and she is called Led Zeppelin. Here, she is not only drawn thin on the cover, but in the comic she actually eats bad guys made of food, and burps afterwards.

It seemed to take quite some time for her to be drawn on the cover at her actual size. But by that time, the writers were not the same people, and the decision was made for her to regularly be closer to a thinner ideal. This lasted about a year, then suddenly she was drawn as fluffy as before, preparatory to a big climactic battle with the main villain, Toyo Harada.

Once said epic battle took place, Faith and her friends (without Peter, missing and presumed dead) now joined the Harbinger Foundation (Harada's old company) and she was point blank ORDERED to lose weight. By the time the original comic came to a close, she was barely plus size if that.

Earlier, in the Unity crossover, many characters from many time zones met and interacted. Faith of the distant future appeared, in which case she is again leading a resistance against the Harbinger Foundation. She is much older and has retained her somewhat barely plump size.

This is what the comic audience seemed to accept about her. In the letters page they might say "It's cool to have an overweight character" but nobody would flat out say how beautiful she looked. Even I didn't, and I got every issue when they came out (and it was damn near impossible to get #1 at the time!)

Valiant Comics was supposed to be Jim Shooter and Bob Layton, two creative giants with a huge epic world to tell the tales of. Once they had a falling out, everything was doomed. The sale to Acclaim was the final straw and earned it a vote of no confidence. Faith, the positive message her original self sent, and the efforts of David Lapham and others who worked on the book, all fell by the wayside in the name of video game marketability.

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