Minorities in comics and animation: Wiccan

Wiccan
From “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” #1 (July 2010). Art by Jim Cheung.

This week’s entry is Wiccan (real name: Billy Kaplan), a teenaged Marvel superhero. Wiccan first appeared in 2005’s “Young Avengers” #1 (2005). Billy was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung.

Background

Billy, who’s Jewish, was bullied often as a child, but was a fan of the Avengers, particularly the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). One day, Billy finally met Wanda, and a few weeks after the encounter, found himself manifesting super-powers for the first time.

Billy initially named himself “Asgardian,” before settling on “Wiccan.” He soon joined the Young Avengers, an off-shoot of the Avengers consisting of younger heroes. (The team was created during an emergency.)

Subplots involving Wiccan included possibly being the reincarnation of the Scarlet Witch’s children’s souls (long story). There’s also Billy’s ongoing relationship with his fellow teen hero, Hulkling. Hulkling’s the offspring of Kree and Skrull parents and possesses both superhuman strength and shape-shifting powers.

Billy’s powers consist of various spellcasting abilities, which seem to be potentially quite vast.

Wiccan and Hulkling have gone on to become the two most popular characters from the Young Avengers. The “Young Avengers” comic won the GLAAD Media Award for outstanding comic book twice, in 2006 and 2014. The book’s positive portrayal of Wiccan and Hulkling’s relationship won it the prize.

Other media

Billy’s appeared in the video games “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3,” “Marvel Heroes,” and “Lego’s Marvel Avengers.”

(Updated 11/14/16)

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