Joshua Klein, Breitbart, March 11, 2022
After backlash over a female Indigenous Conan the Barbarian comic character that debuted last month, famed Marvel writer Jason Aaron (Avengers, Thor, Star Wars) issued an apology and vowed to alter the character’s name and depiction.
Marvel on Tuesday confirmed that a female character who appeared in the latest issue of the King Conan mini-series last month would undergo changes in all the comic’s future printings.
The move comes after the popular comic book publisher faced criticism for the new character who is alleged to resemble the historical Native American icon Pocahontas and carry her reputed name “Matoaka,” which some saw as offensive toward the Indigenous community.
“[D]isgusted isn’t even close to a word for it. how?? how is this okay??” wrote Kelly Lynne D’Angelo, a Native writer. “[S]he was a REAL LITTLE GIRL – to do this her, to us, over and over again… i am just at a loss. disgusting.”
“[D]oes she not deserve rest? reclamation? Honor?” she added. “[Y]ou colonizers make me vom[it].”
Calling the femme fatale “remarkably offensive,” one Twitter user urged Marvel to: “Please listen to indigenous voices.”
“THIS is why we need Native voices writing Native characters. We’re not show pieces to make your world even more noir,” another user wrote. “We’re not here for you to make money off our murders and suicides, even fictional ones.”
In a statement to Comic Book Resources (CBR), the company said that though the character who was revealed in the third part of the King Conan series: “The Princess of Golden Ruin” was neither based on real-life figures nor culture, her name would be changed in all upcoming issues, digital editions, and reprints.
The writer of King Conan, Jason Aaron, also issued an apology for his “ill-considered decision.”
“In KING CONAN #3, I made the ill-considered decision to give a character the name of Matoaka, a name most closely associated with the real-life Native American figure, Pocahontas,” he wrote.
“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,” he wrote, adding that the character’s name and appearance would be “adjusted” for remaining issues of the mini-series as well as in “all digital and collected editions.”
As part of his apology, Aaron said he has donated his pay for the issue to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a Native-led nonprofit that aims to end violence against Native women and children.