An Ode to Ms. Marvel

In my “About Me” page, I say the following:

I’m a huge Superman fan. There was even one point of time (well, a point of time that spanned 5.5 years) that I read Superman comic books. I used to get upset when I saw someone wearing a Superman shirt because I felt like I should question them to make sure that they actually knew something about Superman. I don’t get upset anymore. I’m better now.

Although I don’t read Superman comics regularly anymore, I do keep up now and then in regards to what’s going on with the character and I still consider myself a huge Superman fan. Also, I have this sickness where it’s hard for me to not buy something if it has a Superman “S” on it. For example, recently I was at the comic bookstore and I bought a lanyard with superhero symbols on it. Did I need it? Nope. But it had the “S” and I could… not… resist.

I fell away from reading comic books regularly, only finding myself reading Y: The Last Man and DMZ years ago, titles that had nothing to do with superheroes. Besides those monthly titles, my comics reading over the past years have included works by the comics journalist Joe Sacco and stuff like Scott Pilgrim and Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley. No superheroes with capes and tights.

But now, the one comic book title I do read is a superhero title: Ms. Marvel.

Ms Marvel 1

I started reading back in 2014 with Ms. Marvel #1, which featured the introduction of Kamala Khan, a Muslim-Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey as the titular hero. She was imbued with powers when she was covered in Terrigen Mist, an otherworldly substance of sorts that ultimately unlocks dormant Inhuman cells. In layman’s terms, powers that never would have manifested otherwise were activated.

Honestly, the only reason I picked up Ms. Marvel #1 was as a show of support: of the first major American Muslim character starring in a comic book from a major publisher, for the the writing of G. Willow Wilson (who I am a fan of), and of the Marvel editor, Sana Amanat, who was instrumental in getting this iteration of Ms. Marvel into fruition. I thought it was so cool that something like this was being produced and that it was getting a lot of buzz.

I didn’t know if buying Ms. Marvel would turn into a regular habit though. I figured I’d buy the first few issues and see how it goes.

It’s almost 30 issues later* and if anything, my love for Ms. Marvel has only increased.

Here’s a character struggling to do right by her powers while also juggling the responsibility of being a good daughter, sister, and friend. The comic can connect with the reader just on that level as so many people can relate to the idea of trying to live up to all of your responsibilities while still trying to be the person that your friends and family need you to be. What I love too is that the cultural and religious aspects of Kamala’s and other character’s lives are woven into the story – the way people talk, the way they dress, their practices – it just is what it is.

You may be thinking that Ms. Marvel is not worth reading because you as the reader have nothing in common with Kamala as she has had a different life experience -the child of immigrants and a member of a religion that has been vilified. But you would be doing yourself a disservice by not checking this out because Ms. Marvel is a good comic, regardless of your background. I have found it exciting and heartbreaking, have laughed out loud at moments, and have even gotten caught off guard at times (I’m pretty sure that I said a loud “NOOO!” at the end of the second to last issue that I read).

Ms. Marvel has gotten critical acclaim, winning a Hugo Award last year, and in the comics, Ms. Marvel herself has been gaining momentum as she is now even helping out with the Avengers, working with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. She will even be part of the third season of the animated Avengers Assemble on Disney XD, having already made her debut in one episode of the cartoon in this current season already:

Ms. Marvel has been collected in volumes and can be read a few comics at a time. Check it out. As for me, I’ll make my way to the comic bookstore every time a new issue comes out. You know what I need though? Some Ms. Marvel swag. Where’s Ms. Marvel’s Funko Pop? All I’m saying is that if they can make one for Agent 13, then there’s totally room for one based on Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel.

*The first set of Ms. Marvel comics is #1-19 and then it restarted due to Marvel relaunching titles. Ms. Marvel #10 was just released this past Wednesday so there have been 29 issues total.

2 thoughts

  1. I’m curious to see which actress will play her once her profile rises high enough such that she makes it into a live-action superhero movie.

  2. Even though I am not a comic book guy, I really wanted to buy these, as you said, as a way of showing my support and additionally, really loved G. Willow Wilson’s Butterfly Mosque, and since she’s the author – made it even more excitig and easy to want to have them. I have a feeling I’d love to follow the series as it progresses. It was never in stores at least when i was searching for #1 awhile after it had come out (I prefer that to Amazon if possible, plus you get the joy of finding it on the shelf), but more recently, I did start seeing it at Powell’s, but never picked up a copy.

    While I have so many books on my to-read shelf, I think both as a point of pride that we have a kick-ass Muslim female character out there – I wouldn’t mind just buying all the ones I find all at once! So I may start soon – given the atmosphere over the last few years, it’s been such a great project by Marvel.

    Must be even more awesome for you ladies to have someone like her in a comic book.

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