A Filipino-American girl is Marvel Comics’ new heroine. Her name is Ari Agbayani, whose character is inspired by the iconic Captain America.
In a tweet on Sunday, her creator Alyssa Wong shared that Arielle or Ari’s character reflects the Filipino-American community she grew up with.
“It means the world to write a character who reflects my community. I’m honored by the support and kind words we’ve seen about Arielle! And as a Fil Am kid who didn’t see many characters like me, I’m glad that’s changing and I hope we’ll continue to see many more in the future!” she said.
Good morning! I woke up to a big response to our new Fil Am hero, and I’d like to thank you for sharing your voices with us.
I’d also like to clarify something about her full name, which is Arielle Agbayani. She’s named after a few Fil Am friends, with help from my Fil Am fam.
— Alyssa Wong 🍓🌈 (@crashwong) June 5, 2021
Wong also thanked the public for their feedback regarding the Asian hero who is an addition to Marvel’s prestigious roster of characters.
“Good morning! I woke up to a big response to our new Fil-Am hero, and I’d like to thank you for sharing your voices with us. I’d also like to clarify something about her full name, which is Arielle Agbayani. She’s named after a few Fil-Am friends, with help from my Fil-Am family,” she said.
In an article from Marvel, Wong recalled that when the editor approached her for a new local Captain America, she knew she needed to create a Filipino-American girl.
“I just aren’t very many of us in comics! I grew up without a Filipino-American community for the most part, so every time I see a Filipino character, I get excited. And getting to create one—a Captain America, even!—feels incredibly special,” she said.
Marvel earlier announced on June 4 that Ari is a female college student who fights for justice in her local campus with similar ideals as the Captain America.
The long-time comic book writer further explained her backstory.
“Ari Agbayani is a scholarship student at a small, private university. When she finds out her best friend is being victimized by a wealthy legacy student, Ari is determined to make things right. But what can she do when her college is only concerned with keeping its donors happy, and half the build,” Wong said.
“Like the other Caps, Ari has a strong sense of justice and admires the ideals Captain America embodies. But the Captain America she’s inspired by isn’t Steve Rogers–it’s Bucky Barnes. Someone who hates bullies as much as Steve does, but is willing to use sneakier, shadier tactics to deal with them. Ari’s a vigilante, and she knows that you can’t always win by playing by the rules,” she added.
She also thanked her co-creator Jodi Nishijima for bringing Ari to life in the comics, especially Ari’s costume.
“Bucky’s influence is reflected in her costume, designed by the incredible Jodi Nishijima. Jodi has done such a great job bringing Ari to life. Her art is so playful, charming, and fun. It’s been an honor to co-create Ari with her!” Wong said.
The new character would be part of their comic series “The United States of Captain America.”
She will appear on issue #4 that will be released on September.