Marvel Comics recently announced that a female superhero would be the subject of a new series to be released in February, but the heroine is not just some ordinary superhero: she’s a Muslim teenager living in Jersey City.
Kamala Kahn will transform into Ms. Marvel in the series, and her backstory will be a big part of the story. Kamala’s family is from Pakistan, and in addition to fighting off villains, it’s reported that she will struggle a lot with her cultural and religious identity as a Muslim.
“Her brother is extremely conservative,” said Marvel editor Sana Amanat, who along with fellow editor Steve Wacker, created the original idea. “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.”
Amanat says that the idea came to them during a random conversation.
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“I was telling him some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American,” Amanat said to the New York Times. “He found it hilarious.”
Comic book writer G. Willow Wilson, who herself is a Muslim, was soon approached by Amanat and Wacker, and she immediately took to the idea.
“Any time you do something like this, it is a bit of a risk,” said Wilson. “You’re trying to bring the audience on board and they are used to seeing something else in the pages of a comic book.
"It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith,” she continued, adding that the series will definitely deal with how, “familial and religious edicts mesh with super-heroics.”
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Amanat says that they definitely expect there to be some negative reactions to their series.
“I do expect some negativity,” said Amanat, “not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.”
Still, it seems that many are thrilled that Marvel is expanding and adding more diversity to its comic books.