First Black Woman of Marvel Makes Headlines After 2009 Comic Resurfaces

by Xara Aziz
Credit: Marvel

A Black English model who would end up becoming a pioneer in the comic book industry of the 1960s era has resurfaced after it was found she appeared in another comic book years later.

Jill Jerold first appeared in issue #47 of the Millie the Model comic book, a story following the adventure of a woman who left her small hometown and moved to the big city in hopes to become a model.

 At the time, she was one of many new talents hired by the Hanover Agency, owned by Millie Collins. The comic debut would be the first time a woman of color had a reoccurring role in a Marvel comic.

It has been noted that it took illustrators several tries to get Jill Jerold’s skin color the right shade. According to a 21Ninety report, “her skin tone was a deep brown on the cover of her first issue. But inside the book, she appeared a bland grayish tone. This in-book coloring issue wasn’t corrected for several more issues.”

Jill Jerold’s appearance in Millie the Model was released at a time when the portrayal of Black characters in comic books was far and few in between. It was in 1966 when Black Panther made his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52. And it was not until 1969 when The Falcon Lee made his debut in Captain America #117.

While Millie the Model ended its run in 1973 with a total of 207 issues, the comic’s main character returned in 2009 for an appearance in the comic book series MODELS, INC. Many fans reveled to find that Jill Jerold was portrayed as a close friend to fellow model Millie Collins.

“Despite her being a pioneering figure, Jill Jerold remains a lesser-known character in comic history,” the report further reads.”

In a Popverse article, fans are celebrating Marvel for creating “iconic women of color, including Monica Rambeau, Storm, Misty Knight and Shuri.”

To Jill Jerold, thank you for carrying the torch for the countless other Black women who have since followed your footsteps, working to serve as role “models” in the comic book industry.

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