Skipping to… Ms. Marvel!

In geekdom, we see a lot of teasers. Sometimes it’s just an image or the name of a creator, other times it’s a trailer or a simple tag line. Whatever it is, it’s meant to get a reaction from you and start a discussion. Inspired by the anticipation and buzz caused by these teasers, we at Fantastic Fangirls present Skipping to Conclusions in which we speculate about the comics, movies, TV shows, or whatever we’re excited about but hasn’t come out yet.

Gabby: This week, news was released that Ms. Marvel is being resurrected! Not in Carol Danvers, mind you, as she is currently the star of her own title, Captain Marvel. (Sidebar: how amazing was issue 17? Pretty amazing, am I right?). No; this new Ms. Marvel’s name is Kamala Khan, and she is the first muslim character to ever headline a Marvel title. This is exciting on so many levels! We don’t know much about this heroine yet, but here is what we do know. She idolizes Captain Marvel, she is a high school student living in Jersey City with her Pakistani Muslim family and she develops powers overnight. Your not-so-typical coming of age story, then.

What are you most excited for?
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Sam: I have to say that I’m excited for how this is being talked about now. It’s getting a lot of mainstream press and that’s wonderful, because comics need more mainstream press andfemale characters in comics need it most of all. Plus, people are responding positively. And that teaser at the end of issue 17 (which was one of the best fan love letters ever) was so great. I love the idea of younger heroes, especially girls, being inspired by the women who save the world.

As for the book itself, wow. I don’t know! I’m excited to see a new story in comics. And with Carol heading off for the stars, I’m glad to know her legacy is kicking butt on Earth. I’m also pretty excited that a Muslim woman is writing the book. I don’t think you must be a woman to write women, or a gay person to write gay people, but it’s always nice to know that peoples’ personal experiences will color the story.

Gabby: Precisely, and I think you hit the nail on the head with that expression: “personal experiences”. In the two current series that I’m reading, which are Captain Marvel and the Buffyverse comics, I’m seeing character-driven stories that take time and effort to explore personal stories, motivations and interpersonal relationship. These are things that I connect with, and I’m very pleased to see that in Kamala’s case, they’re talking about her as a person first, and a superhero second.

Therefore, what I’m most excited about is really well articulated by G. Willow Wilson, one half of the creative team behind Ms. Marvel, in the above-linked article:

Kamala Khan, a high school student from Jersey City who struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family. So in a sense, she has a “dual identity” before she even puts on a super hero costume. Like a lot of children of immigrants, she feels torn between two worlds: the family she loves, but which drives her crazy, and her peers, who don’t really understand what her home life is like.

This is what drives me to read comics; the internal conflicts that superheroes struggle with, yes, between powers and “normal life”, but the personal conflicts that permeate their lives, too. Captain Marvel does it so well: do I feed the cat or babysit the neighbor? Oh wait. I can’t do either because dinosaurs are invading New York!

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Sam: I listen to a comic podcast that is very much down on what they refer to as the “coffee table moments” of the superheroes sitting around in between The Big Plot; the two big examples I can think of are New Avengers and the most recent run of Avengers Assemble. But that’s the stuff I love. Especially with teenagers. I talk about Young Justice (the original comics) a lot, but I loved when those kids were just being kids; it’s also why I loved Impulse so much.

I’d be tickled with a book about a teenager who, after school, goes out and saves the city. A lot like what they did with Nomad a few years ago, actually. Speaking of Nomad, I’ve seen something floating around tumblr of a dream team with Miss America, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Girl, and Nomad. Do you want to see Kamala join any teams, or stick it solo for awhile?

Gabby: I think she needs to be on her own, mostly. We need to get to know her as her own person, especially since we know she has “ties” with Captain Marvel’s Carol Danvers. Since both are already so linked, I think it’s important that she develops her own distinct personality and quirks. I’m all for guest stars, though! I love seeing superheroes interact with one another; it’s an insight into their super-secret club. I would love for younger superheroes to visit her, for multiple reasons. One, she could learn from them, get to know how to adapt to her powers as a high schooler. Two, they could learn from her, since the Marvel Universe isn’t the most diverse place.

Eventually, though, I’d love for her to join the New Avengers. Because I LOVE that team.
Any last words?
Sam: I’m looking forward to the next few months, as we learn more about Kamala and the cast of characters that will be having adventures with her. I’m remaining cautiously optimistic that this book will be as good as I want it to be. News like this makes me feel like it’s an exciting time to be a comic fan.