Comics are for everyone, including children. Because reading can influence young minds and shape them into the people that they will become, Marvel has made sure to provide plenty of role models that kids can look up to. While male heroes are in no short supply, there are many young girls who are comic book fans who wish to see themselves in comic books as well. With that in mind, I want to highlight 3 characters at Marvel who are great examples of strong role models for young girls. These characters and books are not only great stories, but they’re perfect for kids, especially young girls who want to see themselves as the heroes in the books they love.

6 Best Marvel Comics for Young Readers

Lunella Lafayette aka Moon Girl

role models
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #13, image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR is from Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos. The first thing I enjoy about this book is that every issue starts with a famous quote. The reader of the comic will become inspired, which is fantastic. A comic that entertains and teaches? Sign me up.

As to the actual premise of the series, it stars a 9-year-old African-American girl named Lunella Lafayette. Through the story, she ends up befriending a time-displaced T-Rex (hence the title) and having adventures with him. On top of that, we find out that she is the smartest person in Marvel Universe. That’s a great statement, where a little girl can pick up a comic book and say that her hero is smarter than Iron Man or Dr. Doom. I love the empowerment that gives a child.

Lunella doesn’t act like a typical 9-year old either, as she uses her intelligence to create a variety of gadgets. She was born as an Inhuman so she feels different from other children. This backstory could help children who feel they might not fit in.

The art and storytelling are very kid friendly for the series as well, with bright colors and cartoonish qualities given to the characters. That’s not to say this comic dumbs things down, though. Frequently through her monologing, Lunella talks about science and other subjects which in turns teaches the reader further. She often shows courage and an almost stubbornness in her character, not letting anything slow her down but also protecting the ones she loves.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR is an on-going series at Marvel!

Nadia Van Dyne aka The Unstoppable Wasp

role models
THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #6, image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Nadia Van Dyne was introduced in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY AVENGERS, but the series she really stands out in is THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP by Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier.

Nadia is the daughter of Hank Pym, the Orginal Ant-Man. When we meet her, she’s a teenager who has an extreme level of intelligence. She was kidnapped as a baby, hidden from her father, and was raised in the Red Room. For those of you who are not aware, the Red Room is where characters are trained from a young age using intimidation and fear. It is also where Black Widow was trained. Considering this, it comes as a surprise that Nadia is very cheery and optimistic. It’s a refreshing take that a character that comes from a horrible place doesn’t let it diminish their outlook on life.

Despite having a rough past, Nadia is very curious and bright. Her sense of optimism doesn’t come from a lack of understanding or naivety; she fully understands that she was put through torturous programs, but she doesn’t let that dimish her as a person. It’s a strong message for children, letting them know that even though bad things happen, it doesn’t mean you have to become cynical or scorn the world. Nadia represents that in more ways than one, as she tells us in the first issue that her name means “hope.”

Nadia Flies High

In THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP, Nadia starts a program for other young women named  “G. I. R. L.” She finds out that the current list of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe is out of date and might not recognize young women like herself and others like her. Nadia begins searching for extraordinary children. She believes that by finding these undiscovered gems, she can help show their genius to the world and get them the recognition they deserve. It’s a reflection of her upbringing as well, since someone can be genius though the world isn’t aware of it.

Like MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR’s habit of having an inspirational quote, THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP has sections labeled “Nadia’s Neat Science Facts” where she talks about scientific facts based in whatever she’s doing; whether it’s fighting a giant robot or working in her lab. These little tidbits are wonderful for sparking the learning centers of children who read them.

THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP has two trade paperbacks out now!

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #2 Review: All Dinosaurs are Big Babies

Valeria Richards

role models
Valeria Richards in RUNAWAYS #1, image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The last of our role models for young girls is Valeria Richards. Val is the second child from Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. While she has appeared in various volumes of FANTASTIC FOUR, I would suggest starting off with Jonathan Hickman’s run. It’s there where her personality really begins to grow and shine.

If Lunella’s feature is courage and Nadia’s is hope, then Valeria’s feature is being cunning. She is a pre-teen who happens to share her father’s intelligence. She is always thinking ahead of everyone around her. Valeria also tends to have a small bit of sarcasm to her. Even though she shows her intelligence to be just as high as Mister Fantastic or Doctor Doom, she doesn’t always speak her mind because she recognizes that she is a child and children aren’t always heard. What makes Valeria one of the best role models is that sometimes children need to see a child who is equal to the adults she is surrounded with. Just because someone isn’t considered an adult doesn’t mean their opinions aren’t valid or worth listening to. This is a point that is more important today than ever with students voicing their opinions about and fighting for gun control.

FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS VOL. 1 by Jonathan Hickman is a great starting point!

Marvel Role Models

All of these series and characters are a great way to get a young girl into reading. MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR shows that a character can be confident even if she doesn’t fit in, THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP shows that being smart is something to be proud of, and Valeria from THE FANTASTIC FOUR proves the smallest voice can be the strongest. They all provide strong role models and help spark both the imagination and learning parts of a child’s growth. Comics are more than entertainment. Comics should be able to stimulate the mind and help provide the right social tools for someone who is still becoming a person.

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!