Marvel Entertainment is introducing one of the first ever female
Muslim comic book superheroes in an effort to explore what it means to
be a Muslim growing up in modern America.
The character Ms. Marvel, who had her debut in the late 1960s, is
being brought back as Kamala Khan, the 16-year-old daughter of
Pakistani immigrants living in Jersey City.
Marvel has always attempted to make its characters relevant to
contemporary audiences and to reflect the times in which they are
living. But the new Ms. Marvel also reflects a growing diversity among
comic readers and will no doubt appeal to American Muslims.
Other Muslim superheroes have appeared in recent years. In 2011,
Marvel’s rival, DC Comics, introduced Nightrunner, a young French
Muslim hero of Algerian descent. And last year, the Arab-American
character Simon Baz took over as DC’s Green Lantern.
Marvel editor Sana Amanat said that the new Ms. Marvel series sprang
from a “desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an
authentic perspective” while also telling the story of a teenager
struggling to fit in and dealing with superpowers.
The new Ms. Marvel has been compared to Peter Parker, a teenager
trying to find his own identity, whose alter ego is Spider-Man.
Writer G Willow Wilson said: “I wanted Ms. Marvel to be
true-to-life, something real people could relate to, particularly young
“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
Ms. Marvel will have the power to grow and shrink her limbs and her
body, and will eventually be able to shape-shift into other forms.
1. What are the benefits of having a diverse range of genders and
ethnicities represented in comic books?
2. What effect will this new superhero have on Marvel Comics as a
3. Discuss other ways that comics can help society?
4. Some people argue that comic books aren’t “real literature”. Explain
whether you agree or disagree with this statement.