As an American-Muslim, it’s so important to feel represented.
And G. Willow Wilson does just that through her characters.
I’ve always been a massive superhero fan. Aside from Kamala Khan, some of my other favorite superheroes include Iron-Man, Spider-Man, Batman, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many others. I started reading Wilson's first Ms. Marvel book, “Ms. Marvel: No Normal,” a couple of years ago and since then, I’ve read her work as much as I could. It’s one thing to read these comics, but it’s another to actually get to briefly meet the co-author behind it.
But, representation is key. Wilson's characters show the spectrum of practicing Muslims in Islam: for instance, Kamala does not don the hijab and Nakia does. This isn’t your typical comic and I love that Kamala has a family that’s supportive of her. She still learns the “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra but she’s also learning how to be herself and be a superhero. She deals with usual friendship issues, her unbreakable bond with Bruno, what being a Muslim means to her, and fighting villains.
G. Willow Wilson came to Princeton University on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at the Princeton Art Museum. Wilson is a revert to Islam and she currently lives in Seattle. One of the most memorable parts of this event was getting the opportunity to tell her how much I adore her comics and that I’ve written about Kamala Khan for Muslim Girl. Some fun facts about the co-author are that her first novel is called “Alif the Unseen,” she’s written a Wonder Woman comic, and at the Q & A session of her appearance, she gave each response a thoughtful answer.
Here’s why I love Kamala Khan and why I think you’ll love her too:
1. She’s a Super Immigrant.
Her parents are originally from Pakistan and so she is an American Pakistani Muslim Superhero. I liked that G. Willow Wilson was able to incorporate a character who is Muslim with two living parents dealing with having superpowers.
2. Kamala Khan works together with Miles Morales.
Fans of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” will be thrilled to know she teams up with some of the other superheroes.
3. Kamala is trying to navigate the ups and downs of being a High School student.
4. Kamala is a gamer and a writer.
5. She teams up with the Avengers (Captain America, Iron-Man), her idol Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers), Wolverine, and more!
6. She’s also a fangirl at heart.
What I love about Kamala Khan is that she’s from Jersey City and as a reader, you can see parts of Jersey City and New Jersey references throughout the comics. Kamala stands up for injustice in her own neighborhood and she shows girls/kids everywhere that you don’t have to have a traumatic past to be a superhero.
One outstanding quote from G. Willow Wilson (Ms.Marvel/Kamala Khan) is: “There's this ayah from the Qur’an that my dad always quotes when he sees something bad on TV. A fire or a flood or a bombing. 'Whoever kills one person, it is as if he has killed all of mankind... And whoever saves one person, it is as if he has saved all of mankind.' When I was a little kid, that always made me feel better. Because no matter how bad things get there are always people who rush in to help. And according to my dad, they are blessed.”
It’s the little things such as using verses from The Qur’an in a comic to help readers understand what makes Ms.Marvel/Kamala Khan stand out. Kamala is a force to be reckoned with and although it is sad that G. Willow Wilson is leaving the realm of Kamala Khan and a new Muslim writer will be picking it up; I will miss Wilson’s wit and lessons packed into a single comic. I’m eager to see what’s in store for both Kamala Khan and G.Willow Wilson as they go their separate ways. Wilson recently came out with a fantasy novel called “The Bird Song” and Kamala Khan will now be written by Saladin Ahmed.
“I think she’s really the face of everything that’s new and fresh and exciting and ‘21st century’ at Marvel, and with superheroes in general. To be given stewardship of that is a big deal to me,” Ahmed tells EW! Entertainment. “It’s always thrilling being given responsibility for a beloved character. It’s particularly meaningful for me to be taking over from Willow. She’s an incredible writer, and she’s a friend. I’ve only been in comics for a couple of years, I come from fiction and poetry and stuff like that, and Willow has been one of the folks who’s helped me figure out this whole craft and business. She’s my sister, and it’s very cool to be taking the baton from her. There’s something meaningful there."