With Carol Danvers ascending to the title of Captain Marvel as perhaps the most prominent female superhero in Marvel's pantheon, we've now got someone new stepping up to the plate to take on her legacy mantle of Ms. Marvel, according to the New York Times. Her name is Kamala Khan and she's a Muslim-American of Pakistani descent living in Jersey City.
The new series, the brainchild of Marvel Editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, will be written by G. Willow Wilson – an Islam convert herself – and she says the new series due out in February will be "about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are," albeit through the lens of being a Muslim-American with super powers. The artist will be Adrian Alphona of Runaways and Uncanny X-Force fame.
Khan will be a young girl who idolized Carol Danvers, and then discovers she has her own special abilities, including shapeshifting. “Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Wilson said. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’” Amanat knows that feeling well. “It’s also sort of like when I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani-Amber Thiessen."
While Wilson admits this is (sadly) a risk, challenging what comic fans are used to, and Amanat expects some dissent not only from the prejudiced but also from Muslims who don't agree with their particular take on the character, Wilson says "this is not evangelism. It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith.”
Amanat adds “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.”
Score another one for Marvel as far as making an effort to diversify, in addition to giving more female-led books a shot – with new titles from She-Hulk, Elektra and Black Widow on the horizon alongside Captain Marvel, Fearless Defenders and X-Men. Let's just hope the series is good, and that it gets the support it needs.
Check out this Sara Pichelli cover for the first issue.
“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.” Willow says. “It's for all the geek girls out there, and everybody else who's ever looked at life from the fringe.”
Amanat clarifies "The inspiration for the new Ms. Marvel series stemmed out of a desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective and yet, this story isn’t about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American. Those are just cultural touchstones that reflect the ever changing world we live in today. This is ultimately a tale about what it means to be young, lost amidst the expectations bestowed upon you, and what happens when you get to choose.”