Marvel is standing behind their controversial female superheroes

It’s not a stretch, or a surprise, to say that comics are definitely geared towards guys. The majority of comic superheroes are male, and the creators behind these comics are male. That’s just how the comic industry has been for the last fifty years, but slowly things are changing. Female superheroes who were previously underrepresented — without their own stand-alone issues — are moving towards the forefront. It’s awesome. Finally, things are starting to change, as Marvel and DC realize that girls read comics, too.

This past year, Marvel has done a lot for their female superheroes. They not only introduced a brand new all-female Avengers team (yes), but also brought us Ms. Marvel, the first Muslim superhero (YES). Oh, and then they made Thor a woman, too, when Jane Foster — who you’ll know from the Thor movies — picked up the hammer one day, and became worthy enough to wield it (!!!). It’s these last two changes to the Marvel universe that have brought a little bit of controversy with them, but Marvel supports both these stories 100%.

A new Time article, breaks down just how far female-led comics have come over the past three years: In 2012, there were no female-centric comics. Now, in 2015, Marvel has published 16. Well, that’s a huge, and welcomed, step in the right direction.

The decision to turn the Thor character into a female led to a lot of fan backlash. But it’s important to understand what it means, in the Marvel universe, for the Thor character to become a woman; it’s not like one day Thor wakes up and he’s suddenly a woman. The title of “Thor” belongs to whoever can lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. One day, old Thor can’t lift it — but Jane Foster can.

As Marvel’s editor in chief, Axel Alonso, explained to Time, “I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before.”

While there was backlash in the beginning, there’s always backlash when something beloved changes. Woman Thor has actually increased sales by 30%, which is fantastic. On top of that, all the worry about Ms. Marvel has gone away, and it continues to be one of the most well-received comics in recent history.

“I thought they were going to need an intern to open all the hate mail,” Ms. Marvel’s writer, G. Willow Wilson (who happens to be Muslim herself) explained to Time, “Now I have people you would least expect–like this giant, blond, bearded guy I met in Denver–telling me how they connect to Ms. Marvel because they were made fun of in school for being different.”

In short, female superheroes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Marvel fully supports them, and with the positive reception their now receiving, they’re only going to pave the way for more lady power comics in the future. And that is truly super.

(Image via Marvel/Disney.)