Today is Election Day in the United States. And the choice couldn’t be clearer for the millions of voters heading out to the polls. We’re either going to wake up tomorrow playing R.E.M. or Beyoncé. Later this month, Marvel Comics will be releasing Ms. Marvel #13 in which the book’s titular hero will be urging the citizens of the Marvel Universe to similarly exercise their inalienable rights to vote.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve contributed anything, but with the news that Iron Fist has a showrunner and also with Donald Trump wasting our time and being overtly bigoted, I thought it was an opportunity to look at the importance of introducing more POC characters in our fiction, and the importance of identity, on a wide range of levels.
I have been asked some variation of the following question more times than I can count: “Which comics or graphic novels would you recommend that are by people of color, or address people of color in a holistic way, and also books for people who may not ever read a comic or graphic novel?” This is a very hard question as there is just so much out there that is great. There are books that I have taught in my classes that are neck and neck with the books I’ve bought as gifts for people who I am trying to convert to our four-color ways. While the below list is in no way comprehensive, they are my go-to books for whenever I’m asked the question. Please feel free to add your own picks.
Originally posted at Black Nerd Problems
When you read the guest list of a comic convention, what do you see? Usually I notice the big names first, maybe a few iconic, and then a spatter of new faces whose work drew my attention in the past year. I skim the headshots and begin to add unrecognizable faces to their recognizable names, and as I browse through the photos and my eyes begin to blur, something strange happens: it begins to look like a Magic Eye puzzle we used to play with in 3rd grade. The pictures merge to show a single representation. That’s when I look away, shake it off, and start looking for my favorite women.
And lately, that’s becoming easier to find.
The 16-year-old superhero has hit #1 on the digital comics charts, proving that readers around the globe want to see comic book heroes reflect the world we live in. We begin with Kamala’s origin story, Metamorphosis, the first of five tales of her superhero beginnings.
(BTW — hard copies are dope, but digital joints are $2.99! And the artwork by Adrian Alphona and coloring by Ian Herring are top notch, and it’s nice to see Marvel has gone all out to honor writer G. Willow Wilson’s vision for the series.)
The opening scene is one that’s close to my heart. We’re at a deli in Jersey City, where Kamala and her friend, the proud, beautiful Nakia, stop by their friend Bruno’s shift to smell the forbidden BLTs just within Kamala’s reach. I remember staring at pepperoni pizzas as a kid and being jealous as hell of my pork eater friends. And, any vegetarian will tell you — often the thing that breaks ’em down is bacon.
After months of anticipation, Ms. Marvel #1 officially hits comic book store shelves across the country today! We’ve been discussing Kamala Khan a lot here at the NOC, so it’s nice to know people can finally get their hands on the book.
We hope to bring you our own take on the first issue soon. In the meantime, we scoured the ‘net for some of the Nerdosphere’s first impressions.
I admit: I’m a lightweight comic book geek. I was always down for X-Men, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I just watched The Wolverine and Man of Steel* on an ultra-long international flight. My biggest gripe (don’t worry it wasn’t Henry Cavill)? Every story revolves around white men saving the world. So, when I heard that Marvel Comics’ new series, Ms. Marvel, features a 16-year-old Pakistani-American Muslim superhero, I was elated.
In the series, set to debut February 2014, Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old from Jersey discovers her latent superpowers — she shape-shifts — setting in motion her meteoric transformation into Ms. Marvel.
At the heart of it though, she’s just a regular teenager, right?
Yesterday, Marvel Comics made a splash by announcing the launch of Ms. Marvel #1, written by G. Willow Wilson with art by Adrian Alphona (best known as the co-creator of Marvel’s Runaways). And while launching another Ms. Marvel book isn’t usually big news, the reason for all the attention this time centers around the teenaged girl assuming the mantle — Kamala Khan. In order to process this announcement from Marvel, we convened a “roundtable” of fellow Nerds of Color to talk about their thoughts on this new series from Marvel.
Borne from the childhood experiences of Marvel editor Sana Amanat — who will also edit the new series — Ms. Marvel will tell the story of Kamala, a Pakistani American teen from Jersey City who idolizes Carol Danvers (the original Ms. Marvel who now goes by Captain Marvel). Kamala takes on Danvers’ old codename after she discovers her own shape-shifting super powers. The new Ms. Marvel is part of Marvel’s ongoing quest to spotlight more women and characters of color in their books. After all, Ms. Marvel is coming out on the heels of Mighty Avengers and the all-female mutant X-Men. Overall, I think it’s a net positive to have a high-profile book be fronted with a teenaged girl of color who is also Muslim. Whether or not the narratives inside the pages fall victim to old stereotypes remains to be seen, but I think Marvel deserves credit for making the continued attempts to diversify their superhero roster.