The newly released King Conan #3 is one of the latest Marvel comic book releases, and as a result, Marvel is receiving quite a bit of backlash. In particular, it appears that the comic’s use of Native American culture has some fans very upset. The issue reveals a new character named Princess Matoaka, who was famously nicknamed Pocahontas. The issue was created by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mahmud Asrar, and now the two have been targeted by cancel culture alongside Marvel for their depiction of Princess Matoaka.
It’s worth noting that Matoaka’s real name was hidden from English settlers, as believed by modern historians. In fact, it appears that they used her nickname “Pocahontas” as a means to protect her real identity among other reasons. Now with King Conan #3 blatantly using her real name, and offering the character as something of a romantic interest for the legendary barbarian, it starts to make sense that some fans would be upset.
I am truly AGHAST. How did you not have a sensitivity reader for this?? And you used her REAL NAME? You made this even WORSE? The writers, creatives, @Marvel – everyone involved – you should be donating everything made on this to #MMIW: I am truly just at a loss… the DISRESPECT
— Kelly Lynne D’Angelo ✨ (@kellylynnedang) February 28, 2022
The MMIW that she references is for the approximately 5,700 indigenous women that have been either missing or murdered. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the real-life “Pocahontas” would have actually most likely only been 11 or 12 by the time she met Smith. As such, it does seem quite strange that so many people continue to fictionalize and glamorize the experiences she endured.
Jason Aaron, the writer of the comic, issued an apology, saying:
“This new character is a supernatural, thousand-year-old princess of a cursed island within a world of pastiche and dark fantasy and was never intended to be based on anyone from history. I should have better understood the name’s true meaning and resonance and recognized it wasn’t appropriate to use it. I understand the outrage expressed by those who hold the true Matoaka’s legacy dear, and for all of this and the distress it’s caused, I apologize. As part of that apology, I’ve already taken what I was paid for the issue and donated it to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.”
King Conan #3 is yet another fictionalized and quite different version of Matoaka, with the character stranded on an island of the undead. Conan is similarly stuck on the island, and she tells him that her homeland is “a land of plenty, farther west across the many waters, where her people lived in great numbers, in grand cities built to the sun gods.” She continues to present herself with plenty of sex appeal, presumably manipulating Conan as a result.
As such, the character is drawn with much of her body on display, in extremely revealing outfits. As mentioned, it’s all quite different than what happened to Matoaka in real life, so it’s definitely somewhat disrespectful to use her name for such a scenario.