A new age of comic book heroes are culturally diverse
In another giant leap for comicbooks - with regards to equality and inclusion – the 1968 character, Ms. Marvel, will return as Kamala Khan: a 16-year-old Muslim girl living in Jersey City to Pakistani immigrants.
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Marvel comics have long been criticised for being stuck in the past; their key characters – central to their universe – strike a homogenous bunch. Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Wolverine are all Caucasian males, and aren’t exactly representative of the wider society we live in today.
"[We have the] desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective," editor Sana Amanat said. "I wanted Ms. Marvel to be true-to-life, something real people could relate to, particularly young women," added writer G. Willow Wilson.
“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... It's for all the geek girls out there and everybody else who's ever looked at life from the fringe." (Yahoo.com)
Kamala – and we’re not sure if even this isn’t subtly racist – is a shape shifter, manipulating her limbs into any position she wants. Of course, the street performers of Pakistan, famous for their emphatic contortions, would have had nothing to do with this. But comic books are doing one thing, and that’s diversifying their characters.
Dust is a young Afghan woman capable of controlling sand and dust, while Nightrunner – a young Muslin from Algeria living in Paris - was introduced in 2010. Simon Baz is an Arab-American Muslim was also added to the Green Lantern series recently, a hero who was reintroduced by the DC universe as gay himself.
"Kamala is not unlike Peter Parker," Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso said. "She's a 16-year-old girl from the suburbs who is trying to figure out who she is and trying to forge an identity when she suddenly bestows great power and learns the great responsibility that comes with it."