August 17, 2022

Marvel Comics got flak recently for the name and design of a character seen in the book miniseries “King Conan.”

The comic empire released the third part of the series on Feb. 16 and received hate over the portrayal of a certain figure that was reminiscent of a Native American woman stereotype.

The character was a skimpily dressed princess named Matoaka, who looked similar to Pocahontas. (In real life, Pocahontas’ actual name was Amonute, and she also had the more private moniker Matoaka, according to a 2017 article in Smithsonian magazine.)

The comic, written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Mahmud Asrar and Matthew Wilson, describes her as coming from a “land of plenty, farther west across the many waters, where her people lived in great numbers, in grand cities built to the sun gods.”

Members of the indigenous community blasted the comic for being hypersexualized and perpetuating stereotypes of the historical figure.

One reader tweeted their thoughts about the comic, calling it “disgusting.”

“Disgusted isn’t even close to a word for it,” they wrote. “How?? how is this okay?? she was a REAL LITTLE GIRL — to do this her, to us, over and over again… i am just at a loss. disgusting. does she not deserve rest? reclamation? honor? you colonizers make me vom,” she wrote.

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They added, “This is active violence against us and our community. the sexualization of a real young girl that was r*ped and killed young affects our murdered & missing indigenous women TODAY. you are backwards, sick.”

Another person chimed in, “Hey @Marvel and @jasonaaron, did it ever occur to you that using the name of an actual victim of colonial violence (the kind that is still being perpetuated today against Indigenous Americans) for your male power fantasy comic was insensitive, distasteful, and deeply offensive?”

Aaron issued an apology and said in the statement that his use of the name Matoaka was “ill-considered.”

“This new character is a supernatural, thousand-year-old princess of a cursed island within a world of pastiche and dark fantasy and was never intended to be based on anyone from history,” he continued.

Princess Matoaka is shown on the cover of “King Conan,” issue No. 3.
Marvel Comics

Aaron concluded, “I should have better understood the name’s true meaning and resonance and recognized it wasn’t appropriate to use it. I understand the outrage expressed by those who hold the true Matoaka’s legacy dear, and for all of this and the distress it’s caused, I apologize.”

Aaron also asserted that he had already donated what he was paid for the issue to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

According to CNN, a Marvel rep said Matoaka’s name and physical look would be altered in future issues.