Marvel’s new superhero a Muslim girlNEW YORK - Marvel Comics is bringing Ms. Marvel back as a 16-year-old daughter named Kamala Khan of Pakistani immigrants living in Jersey City.
The character - among the first to be a series protagonist who is both female and Muslim - is part of Marvel Entertainment’s efforts to reflect a growing diversity among its readers while keeping a hold on the contemporary relevance that has underlined its foundation since the creation of Spider-Man and the X-Men in the early 1960s.
Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, working with editor Sana Amanat, say the series reflects Khan’s vibrant but kinetic world, learning to deal with superpowers, family expectations and adolescence.
Amanat calls the series a “desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective” and what it means to be young and lost amid expectations by others while also telling the story of a teenager with amazing powers.
“I wanted Ms. Marvel to be true-to-life, something real people could relate to, particularly young women. High school was a very vivid time in my life, so I drew heavily on those experiences - impending adulthood, dealing with school, emotionally-charged friendships that are such a huge part of being a teenager,” said Wilson, a convert to Islam whose previous comics work includes the graphic novel “Cairo” and series “Air” from Vertigo.
“It’s for all the geek girls out there and everybody else who’s ever looked at life from the fringe.”
This Ms. Marvel can grow and shrink her limbs and her body and, Wilson said, ultimately, she’ll be able to shape shift.
The idea came after a discussion with senior editor Stephen Wacker as he and Amanat, a Muslim-American, compared stories about growing up. From there it germinated into a “character for all those little girls who are growing up now the way you are growing up,” she recalled.