Get Ready For A New Ms. Marvel: Ethnic, Diverse And Still As Badass As Ever!


“You can’t be what you can’t see” has got to be one of our favorite quotes. It was said by Marian Wright Edelman who is the founder & president of the Children’s Defense Fund. This quote was also used in the popular documentary Miss Representation which echoed the media and entertainment has a huge responsibility to show diversity and accurately portray and represent women from the real world, otherwise young girls grow up with a skewed sense of belonging.

Well here’s something pretty darn cool in the journey to balancing out all the negative and harmful images young women consume in their daily media. If you read comic books and have often wondered if the way girls are represented would change, then you will especially appreciate this.

Marvel has just released a new series of the popular ‘Ms. Marvel’ comics featuring a very different heroine than she is traditionally known as. The original Ms. Marvel was Carol Danvers and she burst onto the comic scene in 1968. Two more women, Sharon Ventura and Karla Sofen were the next round of reincarnations in the 70s and 80s. And now we have a fourth Ms. Marvel who is remarkably different from the rest.

Her name is Kamala Khan, and she is a 16 year-old Pakistani-American teen from New Jersey, where as all the other women were adults. Yep, she is the first Muslim character ever for Marvel, and the first one to get her own comic series. This is pretty radical, and it was all made possible by Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker, two editors at Marvel.

Kamala, whose family is from Pakistan, has devotedly followed the career of the blond, blue-eyed Carol Danvers, who now goes by Captain Marvel, a name she inherited from a male hero. When Kamala discovers her powers, including the ability to change shape, she takes on the code name Ms. Marvel — what Carol called herself when she began her superhero career.

Sana says the quest to create a diverse character was something especially personal to her. Growing up as a Pakistani teen herself in America, she never found any role models who were like her.

“When I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani-Amber Thiessen from ‘Saved by the Bell’.”

And we have no doubt she is not the only girl who grew up watching TV and movies where she never saw accurate reflections of herself. In fact, women and girls in general were traditionally not the target audience for Marvel. But now that more and more of the audience share of geek-ery is undoubtedly female, it just makes sense that a brand would progress with its product the way its audience demographic does.


The other major point about the new incarnation of Ms. Marvel is that they are steering away from the typical sexy woman we’re used to seeing. Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, told the Washington Post that the stars of these new books “are not the big-breasted, scantily clad women that perhaps have become the comic-book cliché. They are women with rich interior lives, interesting careers and complicated families who are defined by many things—least of all their looks.”

“What people want are heroes. They want fascinating stories with compelling characters, regardless of gender.”

Both Marvel and DC Comics are upping the ante to show their female fans they want to cater to them also. So far DC Comics has a total of nine female-led books, while Marvel has only seven, including Ms. Marvel and the all-female X-Men. When the female X-Men series was first released in May 2013, it was Marvel’s top selling comic that month. Pretty hard to argue with the facts and numbers.

Jeanine Schaefer who is the editor of the all-female X-Men comics says more and more female readers are emerging and they are looking for content they can relate to.

“There are women here and there — always have been,” Schaefer says of the comic-book world, both on the creative side and within the fan base. “And we’re trying to make our voices heard.”

Check out this video of Sana Amanat talking about the new incarnation of Ms. Marvel and how monumental it is for the comic book word and female representation:


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