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Meet Faith, the Plus-Size Superhero We Can All Admire

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Faith is an awesome, crime-stopping superhero. Under her secret identity, Zephyr, she can fly and perform telekinesis. And, oh yeah – she just happens to be plus-size.

Faith isn’t a new character – since 1992 she’s been part of the Harbinger story, a comic book series from Valiant – but now she’s getting her own series, thanks to a pitch from writer Jody Houser.

“Faith has always been plus-size from the very beginning, and that was the genius of the creators,” Dinesh Shamdasani, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Valiant, tells PEOPLE. “The original Valiant offices were about 50 percent female. Some of them looked like Faith, and they looked around and wanted to create something that reflected the world that they see when they looked in the mirror.”

Valiant comic <em>Faith</em>
And now that Houser is giving Faith her own story, she wants to emphasize that Faith will always be a superhero first, who just happens to be plus-size.

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“Her size has never been portrayed as an issue, or anything that other people really have a problem with,” Houser tells PEOPLE. “It’s definitely not something that she has a problem with. She’s very comfortable with herself. I’m not going to ignore her size, but I don’t want it to be a big issue or a big plotline with her, and I think it would be out of character to make it that.”

“I wouldn’t call her a plus-size superhero, she’s a superhero who is plus-sized. And I know it’s a very fine line there, but I think it’s an important distinction.”

Valiant comic <em>Faith</em>
Houser hopes that spotlighting Faith will make her a role model for kids to look up to.

“It just makes [her size] very normalized, especially for younger readers coming in,” Houser explains. “When they’re introduced to Faith at that age it helps open up their world a little bit, and they can say, ‘Oh, these people are just like me, they like the same things as me, they can be superheroes too.’ And I think that, in itself, is a very powerful thing. ”

Though the first issue doesn’t come out until January 27th, Houser says she’s already getting appreciative reactions from readers.

“I’ve been hearing from women who are in their 20s and 30s and 40s who have been reading comics for decades who have never seen a woman on the cover of a comic that looks like them,” she says. “And I think that makes people feel like they’re welcome in comics, and that this medium is for them, when, maybe they’ve always loved comics but they haven’t felt welcome before is a huge thing.”