Coming to the expanded Marvel Universe is the new title "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur," from co-writers Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare, and artist Natacha Bustos, which pairs Jack Kirby’s original creation, the red Tyrannosaurus Rex (Devil Dinosaur) with teenager Lunella Lafayette, a character described by Reeder as a "female Inspector Gadget – only this time, she also knows what she’s doing."
Hoping to attract readers of all ages, the comics creators tell Entertainment Weekly: "[Editor] Mark [Paniccia] and I were talking about how whenever people come in with young kids, or even just for Mark’s own kids, we don’t have that many publications that we can give to people that have that broad reach," assistant Editor Emily Shaw said – a broad reach that I assume includes those of us who’d like to see more characters from so-called under-represented groups represented more widely in Marvel’s universe of characters.
Adds Marvel Comics newcomer, Bustos, who’s excited about the possibilities of working on a project starring a female lead of African descent: "It’s great to be a part of the creation of something which can mean something special to so many people… I myself have come up against this dilemma – I’m half Afro-Brazilian and half Chilean besides being Spanish – of finding few or no cultural references, especially in Spain, a country where there is isn’t any community comparable to the African American community in the states. You end up ironing out your differences and you need to work hard on this aspect to be able to continue maturing as a person… It’s really important that the mainstream throws up new references like these and it’s an honor to be a part of that change that Marvel is bringing to the comic book creative landscape. A greater number of readers are looking for characters they can identify with, and above all, with the aim that any reader, whatever their background or lifestyle, is capable of transcending their own identities to see themselves in a mirror of entertainment for 20 or 30 minutes without any difference."
The creators say that they working on something that adults and kids would love, "like a Pixar feel."
"That’s where the tone jumped off for us… The character lives in this world where people don’t really get her," Reeder said of Moon Girl. "That her brain just works a little differently than all of the other kids her age really resonated with us, and that idea of feeling sort of isolated and on your own during that very early time of life we thought was really compelling, and could really resonate with a lot of readers."
Montclare adds: "You’re going to have a 30-foot dinosaur interacting with a three-and-a-half [ft] tall girl…I can’t think of any other book that’s kind of like that… you have these kind of crazy things that are going to be very different to work on. But if everyone can pull it off, it’s going to be a unique type of storytelling."
The original "Devil Dinosaur" series took place on an alternate universe where dinosaurs co-existed with caveman humanoids. The plan with "Moon Girl" is to bring those adventures into modern life – specifically, New York City.
“Something that’s hallmark of a Marvel Hero is that they’re gifted with a power they may see as a curse,” Paniccia said. "Their hero’s journey is to discover how to use it to help others. Lunella is a little genius with grand plans on going to big schools, but she’s got an Inhuman gene, unpredictable alien DNA inside that—once triggered—could take her life in a wildly different direction. She’s determined to control that change. I think that speaks to struggles we all experience as kids and will make her story resonate with young and older readers alike.”
So, say hello to Marvel’s newest superhero – Lunella Lafayette, aka Moon Girl.
No ETA for the comic announced yet…
The obvious next question is – Moon Girl movie or TV series next – whether animated or live action?