Ms. Marvel reinvents herself – as a Muslim woman
by Adam Kozak
Superman – move over. There’s a new hero in town, and you may never have seen anything quite like her.
Kamala Khan will be the newest character in the Ms. Marvel series – and will be the first Muslim woman to showcase her own comic book. A 16 year-old girl who was born and bred in New Jersey, her parents are from Pakistan and has a conservative older brother. Initially, she won’t wear wear the headscarf.
The writer for the comic is G. Willow Wilson, and is illustrated by Toronto artist Adrian Alphona.
Zahra Noorbakhsh, a female Muslim comedian who hosts a one woman show titled “All Atheists Are Muslim”, says the timing of the book being published is surprising.
“I feel like this is pretty huge. I mean, I can’t believe this is even coming out and I can’t imagine this having coming out even two years ago.”
Noorbakhsh goes on to say women have it tough enough, and to combine growing up a a Muslim, who also has superpowers, makes this a trifecta of tough challenges that’s full of potentially great storylines.
“There are so many possibilities and I’m glad that the creators themselves are Muslim. It makes me optimistic.”
The focus on being Muslim will be a part of the storyline, but not the centralizing focus, which is intentional, said Wilson. She told comicbooktherapy.com she didn’t want to “write some grim manifesto about a Muslim girl in America.”
Still, with just the first issue coming out Wednesday Feb. 5 , some young Muslim girls tell Humber News they can already relate.
Zahra, a 16 year-old comic book lover from Illinois, said she could relate to the first issue’s conundrum between Kamala and her parents. In it, Kamala is not allowed to go to a party with her classmates because her parents won’t let her, something Zahra said she could relate to.
She also said having a series itself is a step in the right direction for Muslims in America.
“I love it. It’s a positive representation of Muslims is rare these days,” she said in a phone interview.
“I think this is a big deal because she has her own book. There is a lot of comic book Muslim characters, Kamala has her own book which is huge to me, and she is taking the name of a really big character,” Zahra H says.
Zahra Noorbakhsh, from San Francisco, told Humber News she is delighted with this idea of a Muslim female starring in her own comic book series.
“The place we are in the media right now is we’re either homeland, terrorist, or we’re seducing poor innocent white boys. Any degree that takes us away from that edge is great.”