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Even hero(in)es have the right to bleed
January 7, 2014 2:09 PM   Subscribe

G. Willow Wilson is the author of the new Ms. Marvel series that is coming out Feb. 5th. Wired interview here. The reboot places Kamala Khan, a shape-shifting Muslim superheroine from New Jersey at the heart of the series.

Wilson: At the very early stages, I [said] I did not want her to have stereotypical girl powers. Nothing’s going to sparkle; she’s not going to float. I wanted her to have something kinetic and physical that would look fun on the page. There was a lot of back and forth about what her power set should be, and we settled on making her a polymorph.


And if you wondered if this is some kind of stunt, well... plenty of superheros have faiths. (alternative summary link here). Hey it's tough carrying the weight of the world.

(Previously.)
posted by St. Peepsburg (64 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am super excited for this series, it cannot get into my hands soon enough.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:16 PM on January 7


Her costume is adorable. Definitely a rung above most comic book superhero designs I've seen.
posted by Redfield at 2:29 PM on January 7


plenty of superheroes have faiths

awesome link!

(no idea how well done or exhaustive. awesome = it exists.)
posted by jammy at 2:40 PM on January 7


I love that, at the summary link, under Unitarian-Universalist superheroes, we get:

Charles Darwin
Ethan Allen
Rod Serling
Alexander Graham Bell
Edvard Grieg
etc...

Farther down the list there is a grand total of one actual UU comic book character ("Peace-Lover." Really? Peace-Lover?), rather than just "random historic dudes who happened to be featured in 'Wacky Adventures #25' back in 1952."

Sigh. My guys get no love.

Anyway, I love the thinking behind making Kamala Khan a shapeshifter: "At the very early stages, I [said] I did not want her to have stereotypical girl powers. Nothing’s going to sparkle; she’s not going to float. I wanted her to have something kinetic and physical that would look fun on the page."

I love the 'double K' alliteration, which has a good solid pedigree: Lex Luthor/Lois Lane/Reed Richards/Matt Murdock/Peter Parker/Bruce Banner/etc

AND I'm loving her general character design and outfit, so I'm in.

Maybe she can encounter a UU hero sometime, and zie can be supportive and tolerant at her.
posted by Myca at 2:43 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute. How is Fin Fang Foom Buddhist? He pretty much just rampages, which is definitely not "Right Livelihood." Also, isn't he the Midgard Serpent or something?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:55 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Skadoosh! Given the short sample in the Wired article, I am looking forward to this title. I wish they'd opted to not do the legacy name thing but those are the breaks with the big two comics houses. Dresden Codak, in twitter conversation with Laura Hudson, had an interesting comment regarding shapeshifters and why it's an apt(?) choice for the new heroine, namely:

I think it’s even more primal than that: shapeshifters attack the concept of essentialism itself, undermining every prejudice.

So yay! More diversity in comics. The author's got a good track record outside of funnybooks and I'm a fan of the artist, so Marvel might weasel another book out of me.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:56 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I see she's a wisecracker. I'm tired of wisecracking superheroes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:57 PM on January 7


On the other hand, "This is a waste of quality used appliances" is one of the better lines to appear in a comic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: wait until you hear how many serial rapist / murderers have been Christian.
posted by idiopath at 3:05 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I like the idea of a shapeshifting superhero, too, and I applaud the direction this is taking. It looks like it'll be fun *and* maybe open up some spaces for representation on the comics page and in the Bullpen. I went to see her adventuring with Kate Bishop, befriending Anya Corazon, and taking selfies during her obligatory team-up with Spider-Man.

On the downside, the relatively recent Secret Invasion used the shapeshifting Skrulls as an unsubtle metaphor for religiously-motivated terrorists, what with all the "He loves you" dialogue and being led by a mad prophet queen. Shapeshifting can be anti-erssentialist, but also has a history of being used to suggest that The Other has no essence or is a sneaky, inauthentic fraud. That might make a good motivation for a villain in it, come to think.

Wait a minute. How is Fin Fang Foom Buddhist? He pretty much just rampages, which is definitely not "Right Livelihood." Also, isn't he the Midgard Serpent or something?

The humorous Fin Fang Four stories of the early 2000s had Foom, shrunk toy human size and depowered by the FF, trying to make it in modern-day NYC. Those stories revealed that he engages in Buddhist religious practices; maybe he only took it up after he couldn't rampage?

The "he's the Midgard Serpent" thing was retconned by Steve Gerber, who really wanted to tell a Fin Fang Foom story in Legion of the Night #1-2.

My own favorite incarnation of Finny is either the goofy Gojira-ripoff from Nextwave or the version who fought gargoyle-like aliens using kung-fu in a 1970s issue of Astonishing Tales that's memorable for all the wrong reasons.
posted by kewb at 3:07 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I only logged in to say that Kamala means lotus and is not at all a muslim name, no matter that khan was kubilai's title back in china. Suomi for pedantry.
posted by infini at 3:08 PM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Myca: "Farther down the list there is a grand total of one actual UU comic book character ("Peace-Lover." Really? Peace-Lover?)"

Holy crap, that's cool! Too bad info seems pretty sparse. My mom is a UU (and I was raised as one), so I'll have to give her a heads up.
posted by brundlefly at 3:09 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The Hulk is Catholic? Huh. Who knew?
posted by jquinby at 3:15 PM on January 7


I don't see Captain America on that front page of superhero religions... and I hope I never do.

Cap plainly isn't an atheist, but I would very much like for Cap to be part of the "It's none of your business" crowd.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:22 PM on January 7


The Hulk is Catholic? Huh. Who knew?

Good lord. Just imagine the poor schmuck priest who has to hear his confession.
posted by Myca at 3:23 PM on January 7 [6 favorites]


I hope the new Ms. Marvel gets a visit from Monica Rambeau, who gives her a pep talk on some of the struggles she'll face as a woman of color with that super hero name....
posted by lord_wolf at 3:26 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


That religious list is suspect. It has Willow as a Wiccan and Magneto as Roma. Magic use in Buffy!verse is not associated with religion and Willow was Wiccan for like a minute and only in her transition of full blown witch.
posted by nooneyouknow at 3:32 PM on January 7


I was so happy when I heard that Willow was getting her own series at one of the Big 2. We used to LARP together at BU back in the day. (CLAN TREMERE 4 EVAH)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:33 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


We used to LARP together at BU back in the day. (CLAN TREMERE 4 EVAH)

Oh shit, now I have to subscribe. Goddammit.
posted by Myca at 3:36 PM on January 7


This is SO awesome.
posted by Kitteh at 3:50 PM on January 7


Why do I read the comments? Why did I read the comments? Why the fuck did I read the comments? Curse my traitorous brain.
posted by Errant at 3:50 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


I don't know, nooneyouknow, Wiccans tend to claim Willow for their own, at least on the kind of superficial pop-culture level that this list represents.
posted by Sara C. at 3:51 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


I am suddenly very excited about this. G. Willow Wilson! I read about half of Alif the Unseen before getting it for my dad for xmas last year. Which he then lost, which means I should quit whining and just get another copy.

I hate buying individual comics, but I think I may have to break for this one.
posted by Hactar at 3:54 PM on January 7


Dunno. Not onboard with the lack of costume... It's Marvel. There needs to be elaborate headwear, belts, harnesses, and items that are devices or pouches or both attached to them, and fancy buckles that are also logos, and none of the colors match. As it is, she looks like a reboot of "Zot!" - women can have ludicrous superhero outfits that aren't exploitative, and more, they should. T-shirt and jeans is a bit blah.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:57 PM on January 7


The Hulk is Catholic? Huh. Who knew?

Good lord. Just imagine the poor schmuck priest who has to hear his confession.


You wouldn't like me when I'm feeling guilty.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:00 PM on January 7 [10 favorites]


The Hulk is Catholic? Huh. Who knew?

Good lord. Just imagine the poor schmuck priest who has to hear his confession.

You wouldn't like me when I'm feeling guilty.


That's my secret. I'm always guilty.
posted by Myca at 4:02 PM on January 7 [14 favorites]


*claps*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:03 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


slap*happy-

I thought the same thing until I saw this great image from the Wired article.

Awesome.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:07 PM on January 7


Dunno. Not onboard with the lack of costume.

You need to look at the preview pages in the Wired interview. That cover is sorta like a shot of Peter Parker wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt; it's not her actual uniform.

I like how they've taken the sash Carol Danvers used to wear and turned it into a scarf.
posted by straight at 4:07 PM on January 7


The preview images weren't showing in the mobile version apart from the cover... Critique withdrawn, save for that the colors match.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:13 PM on January 7


Isn't Captain America standard bland civic Christian?
posted by michaelh at 4:16 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]




Oh, man. The Jewish superheroes. Shaloman, Matza Woman, Seraph, Acidic Jew, Sabra, Sabraman, and... Wiccan (who looks kind of like Vincent Valentine).
posted by Redfield at 4:23 PM on January 7


Don't forget Ben Grimm and (in some continuities) Magneto.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:48 PM on January 7


And Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) who has just started talking in Yiddish for some reason.

I'm looking forward to checking out Ms Marvel, but I have been a biggish fan of the more recent Captain Marvel series.

It's Marvel. There needs to be elaborate headwear, belts, harnesses, and items that are devices or pouches or both attached to them, and fancy buckles that are also logos, and none of the colors match

It's not the 1990s anymore.
posted by Mezentian at 4:59 PM on January 7


They have advanced Jamie McKelvie technology now.
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on January 7 [5 favorites]


It's not the 1990s anymore.

Characters can even have feet now!
posted by asperity at 5:37 PM on January 7 [2 favorites]


As it is, she looks like a reboot of "Zot!"

I would dearly love exactly that, as long as McCloud is at the helm. Zot! was fantastic.

- women can have ludicrous superhero outfits that aren't exploitative, and more, they should. T-shirt and jeans is a bit blah.

Keep in mind that Kamala is a 16-year-old girl operating without any official or parental sanction and thus doesn't have much in the way of a budget.

This is a good step for Marvel, as the list of Marvel Muslims who've had more than a cup of coffee in print and aren't screamingly stereotypical is pretty much Dust and Faiza Hussain.
posted by delfin at 5:48 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


But there is no market for female fronted stuff. None at all. Nope.
posted by Mezentian at 6:13 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Points thumb at Warren Ellis, smiles and nods.

Keep at it Marvel.
posted by djrock3k at 7:04 PM on January 7


I went to see her adventuring with Kate Bishop, befriending Anya Corazon, and taking selfies during her obligatory team-up with Spider-Man.

Punching out dinosaurs with one America Chavez, please yes thank you.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:10 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Wait, I'm confused. I like this lots, but I thought Captain Marcel just got rebooted with Carol Danvers? I remember seeing a picture of her flying in a practical looking one-piece uniform. Right, here it is. What gives?
posted by happyroach at 12:12 AM on January 8


That leaves Ms. Marvel available.
posted by Artw at 12:21 AM on January 8


Also, under the new Marvel regime it's All New #1s all the time!
posted by Mezentian at 12:43 AM on January 8


I've been getting into TPBs and collections and such lately, and I think this might be the title that finally makes me start buying single issues. I love that final page in the Wired preview. If I were a teenage superhero hucking a car at a giant robot, I'd totally yell "Skadoosh!" while I did it!
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 8:01 AM on January 8


Captain Marcel

How... how... will he get out of that invisible box? Next month, true believers, for "Mime Enemy, Mimeself!"
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:32 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


All-New Marvel Now, a beginners guide.
posted by Mezentian at 8:26 PM on January 8


Is Young Avengers The First Mainstream All LGBT Superhero Team? It's Bleeding Cool linkbait, but it remains curious.

I bagsy Kate Bishop. She's mine.
posted by Mezentian at 3:20 AM on January 9


I've got mixed (though mostly positive) feelings upon reading that. I mean, awesome that they managed to get all these characters together, who just happen to be some flavor of queer (with the possible exception of Kate Bishop, but you know, between America and that bit with Madame Masque in the Hawkeye annual, I'd believe it). But on the other hand, being like OKAY WE'RE ALL QUEER NOW KTHNKSBYE seems kind of like a cop out.

On the other hand, all the Amerikate shippers are in a mixture of shock and elation. Aww, little crack ship that could.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:20 AM on January 9


Andrew Wheeler on Loki's bi-ness... Though frankly he takes a much gloomier view than I would.
posted by Artw at 7:55 AM on January 9


How am I supposed to enjoy a comic book without a single heterosexual character for me to identify with and/or crush on?
posted by straight at 9:21 AM on January 9


Having the bisexual character be a tricky trickster isn't all that great for representation, considering common stereotypes about bi people. The solution isn't to have him be straight, though, the solution is to just have more bi characters.

It's why it doesn't really bother me in the YA context, but if Marvel's actually pushing him as their Bi Male Character* ... yeah, that would make me wince a bit.

Also, why I'm super glad that G Willow Wilson is straight up saying that she's not trying to make Ms. Marvel some sort of representation character.

*Which, I don't know if they are?
posted by dinty_moore at 9:48 AM on January 9


If Marvel's actually pushing him as their Bi Male Character

Not really, TBH. Someone asked a question on Tumblr, Al Ewing gave an answer that TBH is pretty obvious given the characters background.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on January 9


Having the bisexual character be a tricky trickster isn't all that great for representation

Adult Loki has usually been portrayed as being "above" or "beyond" (or "below") sexuality - it's a tool to be used, not an identity. His recent "marriage" to the Disir seemed to be entirely about power.

Kid Loki's relationship with Leah seemed genuine, but (especially given their ages) it seemed more like a friendship than anything romantic or sexual. And he's dead.
posted by straight at 12:55 PM on January 9


Not really, TBH. Someone asked a question on Tumblr, Al Ewing gave an answer that TBH is pretty obvious given the characters background.

Ah, and then YA 15 came out, so to speak, hadn't read it at the time of posting.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on January 10


Also the Marvel Now preview comic has a short Ms Marvel story - it's breezy fun, my favorite part probably being the art and how they use the shape-changing power, which is really nicely done. Not so sure about the Pakistani culture 101 bits - they feel a tiny bit forced to me, but I'm sure that'd be less of a problem in longer form.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on January 10




Yeah, I noticed the similarities when I was reading Black Widow - it feels very much like the opposite bookend to Hawkeye, just to Black Widow's tastes. From the very short explanation on the title page (I was half expecting to it end with 'this is what she does when she's not being an avenger), to the emphasis on red/black in the palette and the mid-century cinematic quality to the art. It's still a very different book, because Hawkeye and Black Widow are very different characters, but it seems to be the equivalent.

And it makes sense for the characters to be paired like that - 'the work wife', after all. I don't know if I want to see this done for every Marvel character, but I really like it for these two. Also, I could look at Phil Noto's art all day long. He did the coloring too, right? It's a super pretty book.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:33 AM on January 11




Ms. Marvel Comics a lightning Rod for Islamophobic Intolerance

If PSH's death was the most surprising headline of the week, this is the least.

(I haven't read Ms Marvel, just the few preview pages, and it did seem like clunky "oh, and I am Pakistani" every few panels, but I kind of expected that. I mean, it's a 20-page-a-monthy comic. Not everything can be Runaways good, and one expects clunky exposition early up. I didn't see anything that made me want to eject -- not that I saw too much that made me want to stay).
posted by Mezentian at 6:27 AM on February 3


Well I'm getting #1 now for sure.
posted by Artw at 6:40 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Did you?
It was an interesting read.
There was a lot of but-I-am-a-muslim bludgeoning in there (which is probably to be expected given the nature of the medium and the need to introduce a new character), and there's not much of a story so far (I gather this is called decompression).

I dig the artwork, but the same artists did Runaways, and he was a cartoony but very human style.

Oh, and do read the letters page, or of not at least the last letter.
posted by Mezentian at 2:41 AM on February 6


I really liked it – sure there was a lot space spent on setting character: who she is, who her family is, who her friends are, what her problems are – and a lot of that is tied into the fact that she’s Pakistani-American, because her heritage sets who her family is, what her problems are, and (to a lesser extent) who her friends are. But it’s a first issue of a (four part?) origin story, so that’s kind of expected.

The dorky teenage girl sections made me even more happy, though – or rather, the combination of the Pakistani and the dorky teenage girl sections. The Avengers hallucination page is a great example – yeah, the color choice and poses were definitely emblematic of Pakistani art, but the other choices – Iron Man with the sloth and the BIRDS WITH HATS and the one bird that was mockingbird … it makes me ridiculously happy just thinking about it.

It’s a great intro, the art was just the right amount of adorableness, and I really love the characters so far. I’d really love to see where the plot goes after the origin story.

I did not read the letters page.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:57 AM on February 6




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