There is a new superhero joining the Marvel Comics family, and she is a Muslim-American teenager named Kamala Khan aka Ms Marvel. The character is just your typical teenager, battling self-identity issues, family problems and supervillains.
Khan, who is Pakistani, will be portrayed as a teen who looks up to Captain Marvel (another Marvel character – blonde-haired, blue-eyed Carol Danvers) as a role model, and when she discovers she has her own superpowers – shapeshifting – decides to take on the former mantle of her idol.
Editors at Marvel, Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker were inspired by Amanat’s own childhood experience as a Muslim-American. Amanat told the New York Times of the social problems Khan will face while trying to fight crime:
Her brother is extremely conservative. 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.
Although superheroes tend to be of the white and male persuasion, this not the first comic to add diversity to the roster. The Huffington post reports:
Marvel introduced niqab-clad Sooraya Qadir, code-named “Dust,” as part of the X-Men universe in 2002. DC Comics gave Lebanese American Simon Baz the Green Lantern ring in 2012, and anew Pakistani television series features “Burka Avenger,” a girl fighting against misogyny and corruption in her society. Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa has even dreamed up a whole universe featuring mainly Muslim superheroes called, “The 99,” which banded together with The Justice League in 2010 for a six-issue crossover miniseries.
Nevertheless, it is a first for Marvel Comics. Beyond her background, Khan will be a spokesperson for all teenage girls. Writer G. Willow Wilson explained in a press release:
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. It’s for all the geek girls out there, and everybody else who’s ever looked at life from the fringe.
Image: The Huffington Post