We’re at a time, not only in comic books but in all forms of media, where people are craving diversity in their characters. Luckily for us, Marvel is listening. In the form of Ms. Marvel, we get a new protagonist; a female, teenaged, Muslim Pakistani-American girl from New Jersey, by the name of Kamala Khan.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone; the times are a-changing, and fast. They’ve introduced a new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, over the past few years, a young man of African American-Latino descent. With the character being well received, it’s not so shocking that Marvel would want to branch out even further to reach all of the diverse population that make up their fan-base.
G. Willow Wilson, the writer of the new Ms. Marvel comic, described her inspiration in making the new character and some of the challenges she’d face, which really aren’t much different than what we all face at some point in our lives.
I wanted Ms. Marvel to be true-to-life, something real people could relate to, particularly young women. 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.
Even while the movies continue to focus on powerful white guys, we’re being promised by Joss Whedon himself that women heroes, like Black Widow, will play pivotal roles in forthcoming movies, and there are talks of a Black Panther movie being in the works. Diversity in characters can only reach new audiences, but really, I’m not sure that is what people look for in their characters. Something like, it doesn’t matter who they are underneath, but what they do that defines them. I don’t know.
NB readers, have you ever felt unable to connect to one of the popular Marvel heroes because of race, gender, or sexual orientation? What do you think of this new spin on an old character?