In the world of comic books, female superheroes are few and far between. When they do show up, they tend to look a certain way: tiny waist, long legs, very buxom.
Then there's Faith Herbert. By day, she's a whip-smart reporter in Los Angeles. By night, she's a brave crime fighter... a brave, plus-size crimefighter.
Faith isn't new to the superhero scene. She's been around since the '90s, fighting with a group of super-powered teen outcasts known as the Renegades. They're featured in the comic book series Harbinger.
This particular Faith comic book mini-series, penned by Jody Houser, is Faith's first solo foray.
Houser spoke to Take Two host Alex Cohen about the joys and challenges of writing "Faith."
On how to describe Faith:
"I actually had to discuss that... a friend of mine pointed out the word fat in and of itself is not a negative, it's just a descriptive. It's only when people use it as an insult that it takes on those negative connotations. So, I feel like I'm sort of getting to the point where I can say she is a fat woman and I think it's more the intention behind the word, rather than the word itself."
On setting the story in Van Nuys:
"Well, L.A. seems likes a great place for a character who's setting out for that first-time adult life... and I specifically put her apartment in Van Nuys because you see a lot of times the young people on TV shows, they have apartments that are way too big for them to afford... so she's living in a nice studio but it's in Van Nuys so her rent is fairly affordable. And because she can fly its okay for her to get to her job in Mid-Wilshire, she doesn't have to worry about traffic."
On the response to Faith:
"Well, actually I think the most moving response I've gotten is from people who are so excited to see someone who looks like them in a comic and who's not being treated as a joke, an actual serious legitimate character. And I remember a friend of mine...she told me that she cried because she'd never seen a superhero that looked like her on the cover of a book before. And you know, to think of going through your whole life and not seeing a character that you can really identify with like that, I mean that's a really moving thing..."
On getting in Faith's mindset:
"I think I've mostly approached Faith via the things we do have in common. We're both lifelong geeks, we like a lot of the same TV shows and comics and movies. So I've sort of come at it from that angle... when there have been instances where I wasn't sure if something felt quite right I would talk to a friend of mine who has lived through that experience. And I think any time you're writing a character different than you, any time you're not sure about something the best thing you can do is do research or get someone's opinion. Because, especially in terms of someone like this, where there's very little representation you don't want to mess it up..."
"Faith" is a Valiant comics series. The latest issue, Faith #3 is out Wednesday, March 30.
To hear the full interview, click the blue play button above.