Marvel to have Ms. Marvel become a teenage Muslim girl

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Marvel has recently announced that its superheroine character, Ms. Marvel, will now be a young Muslim girl from New Jersey. Now before everybody gets their panties in a bunch, she is not replacing Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel.

In the new Ms. Marvel series, Kamala Khan is a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who discovers that she has superhuman powers including shapeshifting. She’s a huge fan of Carol Danvers, who is now Captain Marvel, and has decided to take on the moniker, Ms. Marvel.

If she’s a fan of Carol, I wonder if she asked Carol permission to use that name? If she doesn’t, would Carol be upset that somebody else is using her name.

G. Willow Wilson (Air, Alif the Unseen) will be writing with Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force) as the illustrator.

So why did Marvel decide to go for a Muslim angle?

“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,” said series editor Sana Amanat in a news release. “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.”

Wilson converted to Islam and wanted to bring her background to light with this series.

“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.

“It’s for all the geek girls out there and everybody else who’s ever looked at life from the fringe.”

Kamala Khan isn’t the first Muslim to be a superhero in comics, but she is the first to star in her own series.

So what kind of powers does she have exactly? How about the ability to “grow and shrink her limbs and her body.” Once she truly discovers her powers, Wilson said she’ll be able to shape shift.

The idea came about initially when Amanat and senior editor Stephen Wacker, who are both Muslim-Americans, talked about how their lives were when they were growing up.

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So what other Muslim characters are out there? There’s Dust in the Marvel Comics universe. She’s a mutant from Afghanistan who has the power to control sand. She was saved by the X-Men team and is one of the few mutants who still retained her mutant powers after the events of House of M. DC Comics has Nightrunner, a French-Algerian Muslim and hero.

There are similarities between Kamala and Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.

“Kamala is not unlike Peter Parker,” said Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso. “She’s a 16-year-old girl from the suburbs who is trying to figure out who she is and trying to forge an identity when she suddenly bestows great power and learns the great responsibility that comes with it.”

When can we expect the new series? Expect Ms. Marvel to be released in February 2014. You’ll get to see her before in January’s All-New Marvel NOW! Point One.

Via Hero Complex

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