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You Thought The Non-White Spider-Man Kicked Up The Racists? Wait Until They Meet The New Muslim Ms. Marvel.

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | November 5, 2013 | Comments ()


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I’m not very well qualified to take on the legions of comic book purists (read: racists) who have lost their collective sh*t over recent modernizations in the DC and Marvel universes. That sort of battle requires both a sassier tongue and a deeper appreciation for comic history than I possess. So I will point you to two of my favorite pieces from our site: this brilliant intervention from Brian Byrd and, of course, this absolutely crushing and weary screed from TK. This gist, racis-I mean, purists? Can it.

The nonsense over Miles Morales was pretty devastating. (“wats [sic] his main superpower, shoplifting?”)

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So I cringe to think how the world will react when they hear that the new Ms. Marvel is a Muslim teenager from New Jersey. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe nobody will care. Maybe Ms. Marvel is marginal enough that it won’t matter. In case you don’t know, Ms. Marvel usually looks like this:

Ms. Marvel V2 01 page 01.jpg

Which is fine, I guess, though not at all that distinguishable from DC’s Barbie Doll knock-off, Power Girl. The original Ms. Marvel (aka Carol Danvers) is a pretty cool lady who first appeared in the 1960s and was an officer in the Air Force. Rumor has it that Ms. Marvel will be involved in The Avengers sequel and that Emily Blunt and Ruth Wilson are being considered for the role. (Though the internet, unsurprisingly, favors Katee Sackhoff and Yvonne Strahovski.) In the Marvel universe, Carol Danvers has taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel. Which leads us to…

The new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan. She’s an American with Pakistani parents and has shape changing abilities. A Marvel editor explains: “Kamala will face struggles outside her own head, including conflicts close to home. Her brother is extremely conservative. Her mom is paranoid that she’s going to touch a boy and get pregnant. Her father wants her to concentrate on her studies and become a doctor.”

This is the first image Marvel has released:

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Pretty rad. I can’t wait to see that cosplayed. Marvel has also wisely hired a young female Muslim writer, G Willow Wilson, to write Kamala’s story. I, for one, am thrilled to see the universe expand in this way and would hope that of all people, comic book nerds would understand the need to open their arms to a marginalized and often misunderstood portion of the population. If not, well, they can meet Kamala’s fist.

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(via Bleeding Cool)



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • cgthegeek

    I'm glad Marvel is amping up the Ms. Marvel love because it's a nice "fuck you" to DC and that warms the cockles of my cold dead why-the-fuck-is-jason-todd-alive-do-you-know-what-i-went-through-to-kill-him heart.

  • manting

    if you guys remember the golden age of comics ended because comics were too progressive. Comic book heads were dragged in front of senate subcommittee hearings are were berated and threatened. If that never happened comics would have been far more inclusive a lot earlier.

  • John W

    Cool.

    I could live with either Blunt or Wilson as Captain Marvel but yeah if I had to vote on it I would probably choose Strahovski or Sackoff.

  • BlackRabbit

    Problem is, the first questions people are going to ask is: 1) was this done for a good reason, or just to make news, and 2) how long is she gonna stick around, given the commitment to status quo in comics?

    I'm happy they're doing this, and it's the right move to break out a B-lister for a change. I'm just too cynical to think this is a legit move.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    Look, I can begrudgingly deal with an "ethnic" Spider-Man or Ms. Marvel, but a porcupine superhero? Is nothing sacred in this search for more diversity, Marvel?!

  • bastich

    You know it's just another cynical marketing move on Marvel's part.

    The new porcupine superhero (I call him "The Pointy Fister") will someday join Rocket Raccoon and Spider-Ham in the eventual "Animal Avengers" movie.

  • NateMan

    Wait wait wait... Are they actually going to show a female superhero in relatively modest and functional clothing?? I might have to buy this one!

  • idiosynchronic

    Let's hear it for G. Willow Wilson! One of the biggest under-rated writers in comics right now. Kelly Sue DeConick, the current writer of Captain Marvell, is no slouch, so Willow's going to have to bring her best work.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi...

  • manting

    G. Willow Wilson sounds like a superhero name by the way.

  • I like this a lot.

    Since Carol is Captain Marvel now (another decision I highly appreciated), the position of Ms. Marvel is up for grabs, and it is nice to see Marvel trying to diversify both sides of the fourth wall. It really highlights their new mentality. And she has powers and an identity that differentiates her from her predecessor.

    As soon as I can, I am checking this out.

  • Robert

    Marvel has started some really smart campaigning for Ms. Marvel and inclusion in the Marvel universe. There's a project some of their writers started that basically says buy two copies of female-led comics--specifically Captain Marvel, though the campaign started with the Ms. Marvel reboot--and give the second copy to a friend. They have Women of Marvel panels at all the huge conventions where they have a panel of female writers, artists, and editors discuss what's happening with female characters--NYCC revealed exclusive art for the new She-Hulk and Black Widow series. At NYCC, a call was put out for Captain/Ms. Marvel cosplayers to show up and about two dozen of them made it into the panel; more were on line and didn't get in. I knew something was up because they called Captain Marvel Carol Danvers the entire time after they said they can't tell you everything that's happening with Ms. Marvel.

    And don't you worry. CBS news has all the racists crawling out of the woodwork to complain about a Muslim superhero even if they can't spell Ms. Marvel. Fox News will jump on any second--another featured rant for new morning show host Elizabeth Hasselback?--and then the lies will start about her character and Marvel's attempts to turn our youth into terrorists or some bullshit like that.

    But until a day ago, none of those people cared about Ms. Marvel. The same way none of them cared about the Thor universe until a black man was cast to play a Norse god. Or how none of them cared about Spider-Man casting until a black actor was in the running for the role. Or how none of them cared about the Fantastic Four until a black actor was in the running for The Human Torch. Or (switching companies) how none of them cared about The Green Lantern until he was a gay man. You get the drift.

    There are comic fans who will be in tune with Ms. Marvel and criticize the decision. It's totally natural. There is a long history of established canon and if the character is not handled well, the reaction won't be pretty. Knowing the people involved in the project, I have a lot of faith. These creators are passionate about the property and want positive representation, not just visibility. There's a difference.

  • the dude

    Well, now the comic has to be good. It can't just be something new.

  • Hell yeah!
    I mean, I haven't read comics in over a decade, and I care very little about what goes on in them or why, but... hell yeah!.

  • Ben

    I'm more upset she has shape changing powers then anything else. If you're going to completely change her power set she may as well just be a different hero.

  • foolsage

    Wellll, "Skrull Girl" didn't test well with the target demographics. ;)

  • Quatermain

    When I was in middle/high school and on, my interests revolved around football, wrestling, chicks, guns, cars, and books on famous battles. Then, in my late twenties I got trapped by a storm in a tiny motel room whose TV only got the public TV channel. Which was running a Doctor Who marathon. Which cut off just as the Fifth Doctor was regenerating into the Sixth Doctor. After that I was hooked, which led me to other nerd icons like Star Trek, Firefly, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and comic books.

    So I came to the nerd game fairly late in life, which means that I don't have a lot of nerd cred. It also means I don't have a lot of the nerd baggage, either, and it always kind of mystifies me when people have rage-induced seizures when someone else suggests that maybe a bustier and hot pants are not the ideal crime-fighting outfit. Or when movies and TV shows are adjusted to more accurately reflect a changing world.

  • koko temur

    With all that revamping, i might finally start reading comics.

  • fracas

    There was also a lot of specifically anti-Muslim sentiment a few years ago when DC created a Muslim Batman character. Ms. Marvel is much less popular than Batman, so it's possible nobody will care, but I don't want to underestimate the desire of bigots to throw a tantrum.

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    I refer you to the Heimdall issue.....Heimdall.

    Who even knew who that was!?

  • semiotheque

    Not only that, but Idris Mothercussing Elba! He can have all the damn roles.

    If he wanted to play Prince Whitey Albinossen, last scion of the very very northern European country of North Whitistan, THEY SHOULD GIVE HIM THE ROLE BECAUSE HE IS AWESOME.

    (I have ... surprisingly strong thoughts about this, it turns out.)

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    I'm right there with you.

  • Leland Eidson

    I feel it necessary to apologize in advance for the online legions who make intelligent comic fans look bad. This book is just the push I need to start reading a current Marvel title. I can't promise I will love or even like it, but I'm excited to see it. More importantly though this is an extremely positive step for main stream comics, which have historically been very white and very male. The fact that Marvel hired Wilson is the icing on the cake, and shows the company really wants to capture a particular voice. They I've never read her work before she can almost certainly provide a character that is more fully realized than DC's Simon Baz, a recently introduced Muslim character (who was naturally immediately assumed to be a terrorist) who inherited a Green Lantern ring.

  • calliope1975

    I had to quit comics several years ago because I am poor and was spending way too much each month, but I might have to risk the rabbit hole just to support this idea.

  • Ben

    They allready had a pretty decently handled muslim chick (At least in the run I read) in X-men. Dust was a Suni Muslim girl who wore a traditional Niqāb and could turn into sand. She was generally handled pretty well aside from artists depicting her with an extremely form fitting Niqāb a fair bit.

  • NateMan

    Agreed. The character was well done, and her powers helped create some beautiful art. But yeah, it's amazing how much T&A they still managed to suggest.

  • BlackRabbit

    There was also a Muslim lady in Excalibur who was pretty likable.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    i took a class about gender in comics, and part of the materiel involved comics from all the different portrayals of Carol Danvers throughout the years, culminating in Kelly Sue DeConnick's version starting in 2012. Ms. Danvers got a boss costume and that run was one of my favorite finds from that class. Kamala's got a great role model to look up to.

  • Leland Eidson

    Very well said, I'm not much of a Marvel fan, but I've always had a special place in my heart for Ms. Danvers.

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