"So when you’re introducing new characters, you’re always going to have people getting paranoid about us ruining their childhood." - Bendis
It sounds like it was all Bendis’ idea. Artist Stefano Caselli is not called the co-creator in the TIME article that announced RIRI WILLIAMS to the world. If you didn’t know, the industry is quite sensitive when it’s a visual medium and the visual artist gets left without credit. I’m going to assume here that since the idea came from Bendis, he’s the “creator” and that once Invincible Iron Man hits shelves, people will properly note Caselli’s contribution to her style, design, persona, and the story’s actions or movement. There are doubts - just look up every reference to “Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther” with no mention of “Coates/Stelfreeze’s Black Panther.”
Anyway, the fans are showing immediate praise for the creation of Riri Williams, but as a fanbase that has been burned before, they are not without trepidation. Questions are already being posed about why it takes someone like Bendis to launch such a change to the Iron Man cast. Why not a team of women of color? Well, if it’s his idea, his pitch to Marvel, he should get to write it, shouldn’t he?
I would love to see Riri Williams launch with massive success! Then with a mega-solid fan base change the team of talent including the editorial if it’s not already under Sana Amanat who helms some of the Ultimates line (IIM seems to be under Tom Brevoort). A new team would have instant sales to support them coming out of the gate without any of that bullshit that a minority female character can't sell superhero comics.
So what my peers on Twitter are pointing out is that Riri Williams, like Black Panther, could be a hiring opportunity.
(also worth noting as pointed out: Bendis has two adopted children from African descent).