Comics You Should Be Reading: Faith

Last weekend, my spouse and I made a short pilgrimage to a local comic shop that specializes in back issues, mostly acquired through customer trade-ins (at least, as far as I know). We took huge advantage on the store’s single issue sale and also decided to take advantage of their trade paperback deal. We even picked up a Christmas gift for my mom (if you’re reading this, I promise I didn’t get you a comic book, Mom!) and honestly just had a really fun time poking through boxes and talking about things we’ve been reading and things we want to read. Toward the end of the trip, when we were wrapping up, I realized I hadn’t looked for the only trades I’ve wanted to pick up all year: Valiant Comics’ Faith series, starring bonafide fat superhero Faith Herbert.

I mentioned Faith in a piece for The Mary Sue about the desperate need for more fat superheroes, but had only read a few panels at that point. When Sony more recently announced that they are developing a movie adaptation of the Faith comics (which I asked Bethany Kay about in an interview for Fatventure Mag), I realized I still hadn’t picked up any of her issues. Now, I’ve read the first two Faith trades and can say with total conviction that you should absolutely read this comic.

From Valiant’s website:

In a city under siege by robots, aliens, monsters and even worse… celebrities, there is only one woman the people of Los Angeles can count on: the stratospheric superhero called Faith! Aspiring reporter by day and dedicated crime-fighter by night, Faith has tackled every obstacle in her path with confidence – like those crushing deadlines at work, the long-distance boyfriend half a world away, and the missing back issues that plague her comics collection! But, unbeknownst to her, Faith is about to collide with the one force she never saw coming: an up-and-coming super-villain bent on snuffing her out once and for all! But who is lurking behind the mask of her new foe…and could they just be the one person capable of rendering Faith powerless?

The Faith series is, first of all, absolutely delightful. It’s fun, well-paced, and interesting; it also incorporates other parts of the Valiant universe without requiring textbook knowledge to dive right in. Faith as a character is smart, witty, strong, and incredibly likeable, though the series also deals with her faults, which not many superhero comics are willing to embrace.

Faith is a fangirl with superpowers; she hides her identity as an entertainment journalist in L.A., plays DND with a co-worker and his girlfriend, and has a full life that isn’t defined by her fatness. She’s also really good at what she does, to the point that a character in-game wants to cosplay her at a fan convention. Faith fights the good fight, day in and day out, and has no time for anyone whose values don’t align with hers—even (maybe especially) her ex-boyfriend, who seemingly wanted to be a hero just to be famous.

I am always nervous when I see fat characters in mediums I enjoy, because we are so often the butt of the joke. Faith proves that fat people can carry the weight of a comic series and be literal superheroes without any need to drag toxic diet culture into the narrative. I’m really impressed with this series and can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the trades… and to dive into other parts of the Valiant ‘verse, because now I’m so invested in Faith that I want to read everything I can.

If you’re looking for positive fat representation, Faith is your girl. Now that I’ve read the comics, I’m even more excited for the movie to come out—and I’m dreaming of the day when I put together a Faith Herbert cosplay of my own.

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