Elise Bellin, Librarian of the Islamic Resource Center, wrote this book review as part of an ongoing series that focuses on a range of books within the IRC collection as a service to the community.
Ms. Marvel, a MARVEL comic series
by G. Willow Wilson, © 2014 – ISBN: 978-0785190219
Finding honest, authentic voices for minority superheroes (or even minority superheroes in general) can be something of a challenge in mainstream comic publishing. Those superheroes that have made it big have historically been predominantly white males. And despite what some publishers have claimed, there is a growing demand for minority voices in the field of comic books. Those of us that follow comic books are aware that in recent years Thor has become a woman, Spiderman has become a Black Hispanic, and Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, became the first widely recognized Pakistani-American Muslim superhero to really make it on her own.
What’s more, it has been stated that sometime after the Captain Marvel movie hits theaters next year Marvel Studios will be looking into producing a movie for Kamala Khan. After all, the superhero cinematic universes of MARVEL and DC have already seen significant blockbuster numbers to support this decision. Just look at the box office numbers for either Wonder Woman or Black Panther or both. Comic book heroes might just be looking at a new Golden Age, one of diversity and power for all.
If that is the case, maybe it is time to take a look at what is already in print. Written by New York Times Best-Selling Author G Willow Wilson, a Muslim convert from New Jersey, the Ms. Marvel series centers around teenage Pakistani-American Muslim Kamala Khan and her transformation into a super-powered heroine.
At the same time, it is more than a teenage girl learning to cope with new-found powers and doing what is right. It is the story of the varied experiences many Muslim Americans face every day. It is a rare burst of authenticity in what can so easily become clichéd and cheap. In short, Kamala Khan has a refreshing amount of depth.
Founded in 2010, the Islamic Resource Center (IRC) is the first Islamic public lending library in Wisconsin. The IRC aims to provide resources to educators, students, health professionals, interfaith groups, and any members of the Milwaukee community that want an accurate understanding of the Islamic faith, its practices, and its people.