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I love comics, but they can be downright terrible at creating realistic images of the human body. The men often have monstrously huge biceps and rock-hard six pack abs, the kind unseen in even the best Olympic athletes, and the women are often impossibly thin, with waists narrower than their thighs and breasts larger than their heads. It’s enough to get you genuinely discouraged about the medium.
But, all hope is not lost: there is a growing push in comics for characters with diverse body types, and creators are listening. Body-positive characters are popping up in more and more books, and they are being treated not just as punchlines, but as real people with real interests.
With that in mind, Book Riot brings you five plus-sized comics characters who are are not defined by their size.
Etta Candy was originally a co-ed sorority girl at Holiday College who became Wonder Woman’s best friend in man’s world. Etta and the Holiday Girls even followed Diana to Europe, and Etta once liberated a prison camp armed with nothing but a box of candy. In post-Crisis stories, Etta has been reimagined as an African-American Air Force officer romantically-linked to Steve Trevor. But the original Etta isn’t totally gone: she’s reappeared recently in The Legend of Wonder Woman by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, where she and the Holiday Girls once again helped Diana save the world. Etta will be played by Lucy Davis in next year’s Wonder Woman movie.
It’s not easy being the child of a supervillain. You have basically three choices: follow their footsteps into a life of crime, change your name and hope no one ever connects you to them, or take up the hero’s mantle to put right what your parents once put wrong. Eugene Patilio, a/k/a the Fabulous Frog-Man, chose the last path to try to make up for his father’s criminal career as Leap Frog. “Borrowing” his father’s old frog suit, Eugene has fought crime alongside Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and others. He might not be the most competent superhero, but I guarantee any story where he appears is going to be a lot of fun.
If Frog-Man is comedic relief, Amanda Waller is all business. Waller was working for Congress, when she discovered the secret history of the Suicide Squad. Like a total badass, Waller then convinced the president not just to relaunch the Suicide Squad, but to put her in charge of it. Though she occasionally got caught up in scandals—and even spent some time in jail during Lex Luthor’s presidency—Waller has always bounced back, usually with even more power than before.
Earlier this year, Waller was portrayed by Viola Davis in the Suicide Squad movie.
One of Asgard’s Warriors Three (with Fandral and Hogun), Volstagg has fought alongside Thor for centuries. Although he was in the past marked by cowardice, more likely to flee a battle than to engage the enemy, he has more recently overcome his fears, though Volstagg still enjoys a good feast when the battle is over, especially if there is an ample supply of mead to go with it. But through it all he has a deep sense of justice, and will offer his help when situations seem most hopeless.
Volstagg was portrayed in Thor and its sequels by Ray Stevenson.
Faith Herbert, a/k/a Zephyr, is a psionically gifted “psiot” working with the Harbinger Foundation to fight crime and save the world. Using her psionic powers, Faith can float effortlessly above Los Angeles, keeping an eye out for anything amiss. But that’s not all that makes Faith cool; she’s also a geek a heart. Faith loves sci-fi, and has been known to throw the occasional Firefly quote into her banter while throwing supervillains. Plus, she’s got an awesome day job as a journalist, so she can fight injustice on two fronts (when not stuck making yet another listicle about cat videos). Faith first appeared in 1992, but she’s gained renewed focus over the past year with the launch of her own self-titled series.