A few weeks after King Conan #3 hit shelves at comic stores around the world, Jason Aaron has issued an apology over the use of a name associated with a real-life Indigenous figure. In the story, a new supernatural sorceress is named Matoaka, the birth name of Pocahontas. In his apology, Aaron admits the naming choice was "ill-considered" and reveals the character's name will be changed in any future printings of the story.
"In King Conan #3, I made the ill-considered decision to give a character the name of Matoaka, a name most closely associated with the real-life Native American figure, Pocahontas," Aaron wrote in the latest issue of his e-mail newsletter. "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.
Furthermore, comic readers were alarmed to see the scantily-clad Matoaka barely covered with any clothing. Historians suggest the life of the real-world Matoaka was one that included rape and trafficking before being captured by English colonizers and forced into marriage when she was just 16 or 17. She died at just 21 years of age after being forced to travel to England as a captive.
Aaron's apology added, "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. The character's name and appearance will be adjusted for the rest of this mini-series and in all digital and collected editions."
Marvel has yet to issue their own comment on the matter, and King Conan is expected to run for six issues. As of now the next issue in the series, King Conan #4, is scheduled to hit shelves on March 23.