The new “Ms. Marvel” was a media sensation months before her first adventure was published: Kamala Khan, the girl behind the superhero’s mask, would be Marvel’s first Muslim character to star in her own title.Umm, they just explained the situation - it's a media sensation, not an audience sensation.
But what shape her comic book series would take, and whether sales would match the hype, remained to be seen.Oh, they matched the "hype" alright. It sold only 50,000 at best, though they're going out of their way to pretend it's a blockbuster on a movie level by doing a second printing, probably so they can clutter up the bargain bins. Must be common practice in modern comics publishing.
“People love to talk about new and different,” said “Ms. Marvel” writer G. Willow Wilson. “They don’t always love to buy and read new and different.”They like new and different so long as it adheres to sanity and honesty, along with respect for civilized values. Something lacking in today's medium.
The fear in debuting such a risky character, series editor Sana Amanat said, is always: “If we do something like this, is it a gimmick?”The answer is yes. Whitewashing the Religion of Peace, refusing to be open about the Koran/Hadith's contents, presenting a serious subject without transparency, that's what I call a gimmick meant to alienate the wider public, including members of 9-11 Families.
As “Ms. Marvel” No. 1 heads to a third printing and next month’s No. 3 approaches, early indications are that the teenage Kamala’s story has resonated with readers – and drawn new customers into comic stores. The debut issue, released in February, sold out its first printing and finished in the top 25 of more than 400 titles on Diamond Comic Distributors’ chart of sales to comic shops for the month. And Marvel said it was the publisher’s top digital comics seller last month, besting even issues of “All-New X-Men” and “Superior Spider-Man.”I don't suppose they'd be willing to give us those exact sales numbers? I've said it before, and I'll say it again, anyone who takes a good look at those sales charts will laugh at how low they sell compared to movies and music tapes, and I'm skeptical the numbers were very high for Marvel's digital sales either if they didn't give exact figures.
At the center of the series’ story is 16-year-old Jersey City, N.J., Avengers fan fiction writer Kamala Khan, a daughter of Pakistani Muslim immigrants who loves the smell of bacon – “delicious, delicious infidel meat,” she jokingly calls it – but abides by the rules of her faith and doesn’t eat it. She is an American, but has a different background than her classmates and struggles to find a sense of belonging.Ah, here we again have the reason not all Muslims are bound to be enthused. Even if she doesn't devour it, the line about merely checking its aroma is only bound to meet with dislike by the most hardcore Islamists. Simultaneously, using the term "infidel" is insulting because of the inferiority status it implies for non-Muslims.
...the writer notes that polymorphs in comics are most often shown as bad guys, a la the mutant villainess Mystique.Tell us about it. As I noted before, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, Mr. Fantastic and even Dr. Strange could count as polymorphs, so her argument falls totally flat.
“It made sense that if were going to attack one set of stereotypes, we might as well take on them all,” she said.
Alongside “Captain Marvel,” “She-Hulk,” “Black Widow” and the upcoming “Elektra,” “Ms. Marvel” is part of a wave of Marvel superheroine titles that are born of a growing, enthusiastic female comics readership, one that fills room after bigger room at boisterous Women of Marvel panels. Their stories are more character exploration, less exploitation.If they're going to flood their output with company-wide crossovers, that's disputable, and besides, not only did Marvel succeed in alienating much of the casual readership over the past decade, they alienated plenty of women too. Destroying the Spider-marriage and banishing Mary Jane Watson from prominent stardom was one of the biggest straws that broke the camel's back.
Hers and Alphona’s series was in for some expected heat upon announcement because of sometimes intense feelings about Islam in America, but it also was not going to be immune from criticism from Muslims.Well at least they're honest about her writing's chances of turning off devout Muslims too. But not about using religion to avoid getting jobs, since in Europe - and in the USA too - there are Muslims who've lived off welfare, based on their religion's and its advocates' approval, and many have no problem with their children doing it either. Which makes Wilson's argument in the story a falsehood.
Kamala’s family dynamics could have been a touchy issue, though each individual member is ultimately treated sympathetically. Her father complains that her very devout brother is using religion to avoid getting a job; her mother, too, worries that Aamir will be a “penniless mullah.” And there’s Kamala’s curiosity about that forbidden bacon.
“I think people, especially in the Muslim community, are rightly cautious any time you hear, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a Muslim character,’” said Wilson. “People’s guard immediately goes up because often what are portrayed in the media as ‘sympathetic’ characters end up rehashing the same stereotypes and racist baggage that all of the unsympathetic characters have reflected.”
But, she said, she and Amanat were confident that “when the book actually came out and people saw how the characters were represented in the series, that they would be reassured. That’s pretty much what happened.”Sigh. Another falsehood.
In addition to having Kamala figuring out origin-story stuff, Wilson said the first arc will set up a potential supervillain adversary. Amanat added that they have big plans for the next year of “Ms. Marvel,” including bringing Kamala more into the Marvel Universe story and exploring her being an Inhuman (the mist that transformed Kamala is from that superpowered race’s Terrigen Bomb, seen in Marvel’s “Infinity” event), plus guest appearances in the title.Oh, so now they're going to tie her in with the Inhumans? Right, that's just what we all need. I think we're better off not knowing who the villain will be either. Wilson's sounded no differently here than in any of her other interviews.