Street artists in San Francisco are using Kamala Khan (aka Marvel's Ms. Marvel) to block out bus ads from the "American Freedom Defense Initiative" that compare Islam to Nazism. The art pasted over the ads features Kamala saying things like, "Calling all bigotry busters," and, "Free speech isn't a license to spread hate." The protest was organized by the group Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power, which runs the Facebook page where photos of the improved ads appeared, Street Cred - Advertising for the People.
I'm not excited for Sam Wilson as Captain America, and I'm not excited for a female Thor.
Now, I don't think these are totally wrongheaded things to do. I admire the impulse behind these changes, and I believe they come from a good place. In the abstract sense, I love the idea of Marvel featuring, in big, bold style, the adventures of a black man and a woman against the hordes of iniquity. I believe at least part of the motivation behind these changes is genuine in its altruism, and that it is not entirely invalidated by profit-seeking impulses. I want to believe in this initiative. I want to be excited. I do not want to be the curmudgeon in the corner, needlessly nitpicking everyone else's good time to pieces.
But it feels like a gimmick, and functions like a gimmick, and that’s because it is a gimmick. I give it perhaps two years — two years that only the most hard-core aficionados will end up able to recall, alongside their recollections of the foil covers era and that one time Doc Ock was Spider-Man.
Next month Marvel will release the much anticipated Ms. Marvel #1, the new series from creators G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, and edited by Sana Amanat. It is a rarity in the industry: you can practically count on one hand the number of titles published at Marvel and DC combined that have starred a woman of color. Further, the new Ms. Marvel -- Kamala Khan -- is a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager, the first Muslim character to star in a monthly solo series at Marvel. As such, the title has received significant attention, and rightfully so; it's obviously early in the year, but it's no stretch to say that this may be the most important comic published in 2014.
And if not the most important, so far I'd say it's the most anticipated. Before the first issue has even hit stands, it has already received the type of media attention seldom afforded a super hero comic, and that type of attention breeds curiosity. With that in mind, Amanat has set up the Ms. Marvel tumblr, which gives people looking forward to the title a peek behind the curtain at the process of putting the book together, as well as explaining a few things you may have missed.
The New York Times broke news today of a new solo superhero title launching from Marvel early next year -- and this one comes as a welcome change of pace for readers who want to see more diversity in their super-books.
Ms Marvel #1, from writer G. Willow Wilson (Cairo) and artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways), introduces the world to the young Muslim woman who takes on the mantle of Ms. Marvel formerly held by Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel. The new Ms. Marvel will be the first Muslim character to get her own ongoing solo series at Marvel, one of a growing number of female solo leads, and the only person of color headlining a solo book in the Marvel Universe.