Marvel has a proud history of creating iconic women of color, yet their first reoccurring black female character has been largely forgotten. Before Monica Rambeau, Storm, Misty Knight, and Shuri, there was Jill Jerold.
Co-created by Denny O’Neil, one of the most influential writers in the Bronze Age of Comics, Jill was a model who primarily served as a supporting character in Millie the Model, Marvel’s longest-running female-led title which ran from 1945 through 1973, although she also once found herself in a love triangle with the Human Torch and Hercules. As the first black woman to have a reoccurring role in a Marvel comic, Jill broke down barriers, and looked fashionable while she did it.
To truly appreciate how historic Jill Jerold was, it’s important to look at what things were like before her introduction. Marvel’s publishing predecessor Timely Comics seldomly included black characters in their stories, and when they did the results could be charitably described as offensive.
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