Hollywood really likes superhero movies right now. For the past 30 years or so, they’ve been an indelible part of the blockbuster market, but since the X-Men became big moneymakers at the turn of the century, it seems as though every studio has tried its hand at building its own slate of heroes. Now, in a post-Endgame age, the market is simultaneously more crowded than ever and more consolidated.
Sure, we get a lot of superhero movies every year, but chances are they’re all coming from two or three studios, each with its own expanding cinematic universes and increasingly bonkers business stakes. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the smaller heroes of indie comics, the more esoteric figures who have been quietly revolutionizing comics for the past several years and pushing boundaries in representation. Surely there is room in this highly saturated market for a more low-key approach to heroism that’s centered on a truly unique figure, one we could sorely use during these dark times?
Enter Faith Herbert.Faith has been around for a while. One of the main figureheads in Valiant Comics (the company founded by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter), Faith is a geeky woman with an irrepressible sense of optimism and abilities of flight and psychokinesis. She made her debut in Harbinger in the '90s, but it's only in the past few years that she's emerged as a major fan favorite. Writer Jody Houser's run on Faith was highly acclaimed and a major best-seller for Valiant. Indeed, it became one of only a handful of comic series from the past decade to reach a fifth printing.
Faith Herbert is also fat.
This shouldn’t seem as revolutionary as it does in the world of comics and pop culture at large, but Faith remains something of an anomaly in an industry and society obsessed with smallness. Faith is a gorgeous fat woman who is never mocked or derided for her size; nor does it hinder her life or abilities as a hero. She is never drawn as “acceptably curvy” in the way that plus-size characters are often reduced to. Instead, she has a double chin, a noticeable belly, and isn’t a perfect hourglass shape. Given how superheroes are typically defined by their sharply defined eight-packs and sinewy forms, seeing a heroine who is fat and thriving and is bloody delighted by it is both comforting and highly radical. Our own S.E. Fleenor put it best when they wrote about the beauty of superpowered fat people in pop culture:
"Faith, of the Valiant comics, has been an empowered fat superhero for a while now, and her story is being adapted to the big screen. She’s even a female hero who looks like a real human being, wears clothing that is comfortable, and has a body that ascribes to normal human anatomy, meaning that she doesn’t contort herself into the tired comic book trope of the boobs-and-butt pose. Faith is incredible because she knows who she is, she’s powerful, she’s sexy, and she has no time for fat shaming."
The appeal of Faith goes beyond her size — she is warm and determined, a pop culture fiend with a strong moral code, and in possession of a sharp wit, which helps with her day job at a BuzzFeed-style site where she writes about the hottest actors named Chris (truly a woman after our own hearts here at SYFY WIRE FANGRRLS) — but it would be foolish to pretend that her being a fat superheroine wasn’t a major and important part of why fans love her so much. We just don’t see characters this layered and heroic who are fat. Once you get over a certain size in pop culture, you usually morph from hero to villain, or a creature to pity because fatness is coded as laziness, greed, and something decidedly not heroic. Faith busts all those stereotypes and is a badass character superhero cinema could use more of.
And clearly Sony Pictures sees that potential, because in June 2018 they picked up the film rights and announced that Maria Melnik would be penning the script for a big-screen adaptation. There hasn't been much in the way of further announcements since then, so as with all projects in the early planning stages, anything could happen. But we would like to put forward a case to Sony for the casting of Faith Herbert. Seriously, trust us on this one.
Sony Pictures, please cast Aidy Bryant!
Sony, should it choose to move forward with Faith, has a real opportunity to add much-needed new layers to the superhero genre. Pop culture could sorely use a fat heroine whose size is not the butt of every joke or a declaration of their bad character, and Faith’s narrative also signals a refreshingly warm-hearted approach to the genre that centers being a good, happy person above all else. So give us a call, Sony, and let’s do it!