Ms. Marvel and Representation

Now in the last year I have definitely gotten more into comics in a major way. The other day I found myself browsing through a bunch of comic book t-shirts trying to pick one to purchase. There are a lot of characters I am very passionate about, but somehow even though I LOVE Captain Marvel, and Wasp, and Valkerie, there was no question. I was buying the Ms. Marvel shirt.

No regrets, just superheroes.

No regrets, just superheroes.

Now Ms. Marvel has only had one issue so far. And yet, I care about her so much more than any other comic book character already. And I am not the only one who feels this way. Ms. Marvel’s first issue sold out in its first week and it topped the digital download charts. There is also already a very passionate fan group, the Kamala Korps, an off-shoot of the amazing Carol Corps. (I am a proud member of the Carol Corps, and have the badge to prove it.)

So what is it about Kamala Khan? She is hugely significant in terms of representation, as a young teenage Muslim Pakistani girl from New Jersey. And even as the whitest girl in the room, I appreciate that and can relate to her. Here we have a teenage girl, trying to figure out who she is, and oh yeah she has super powers. What isn’t to love?

So I realize this isn’t the most insightful post I have ever written, but I have just been thinking about what Kamala means to me, as a white 21 year old Jewish girl from Manhattan. I am in the midst of a job hunt, trying to figure out what I am doing with my life now that I have graduated. Plus there is my constant questioning of my personal identity in terms of my cultural upbringing and Jewish-ness, among other things. So it is refreshing to see this reflected in some way on the page of a comic book.

Also, this Noelle Stevenson comic about comic book gatekeepers has been circulating around the internet, which has caused a lot of people to tell there stories about meeting similar hurdles. I have had a similar problem when getting into comics, so it is very easy to have a very pessimistic view of comics right now. But the release of Ms. Marvel has also brought around a number of stories of women, including a number of Muslim women, going to comic book stores to buy their first comic and having a lovely experience picking up this issue. And that is important.

So readers, what character – from a comic book or other media – have you personally felt a personal connection to, and felt that is was important that this character exists?

Also, everyone my zine is now available for purchase for $5, HERE.

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