Friday, June 25, 2021

Marvel wastes more resources on a 4th Muslim Ms. Marvel volume

Marvel refuses to let go of what's been a colossal joke for 7 years now, both artistically and sales-wise. In this Entertainment Weekly interview, they talk with a woman who's been assigned to write a miniseries starring easily their most politicized product of modern times:
Kamala Khan, the Muslim American superhero known as Ms. Marvel, is already a big part of author Samira Ahmed's life. The author tells EW that her group chat with her South Asian cousins routinely employs the acronym WWMMD: What would Ms. Marvel do?

"A lot of it will be about food, because we can all relate to Kamala on that level," Ahmed says. "Sometimes it will be about bigger things in life. She looms large in my familial culture."
I'm afraid relating based on food isn't so simple when the character's religious background still pretty much defines the character.
Ms. Marvel has felt like a big deal since the moment she first appeared in 2014 (first in an issue of Captain Marvel, and then her initial ongoing series by co-creators G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and editor Sana Amanat). As the first Muslim superhero to headline her own Marvel comic, Kamala has meant a lot to readers around the globe. In the years since her arrival, she's become so embedded in the Marvel pantheon that it feels like she's always naturally belonged there. Kamala starred in the recent Avengers video game, and will soon be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where she will be played by newcomer Iman Vellani).
Really? I miss the part about sales figures, something which, I just noticed, specialty sites like ICV2 don't seem to give clear access to anymore. The chart I linked to has no sums in digits, only cover prices for the books, some of which are indeed 4-5 dollars at this point. So who's EW trying to kid here? And as for "naturally", it just so happens that over the past several years, beginning under Axel Alonso, they've practically been forcing her into almost every other possible series and story in a cameo, recalling she had one in Amazing Spider-Man 3 years ago, when Nick Spencer took up helming the series. No mention is made of what a failure the Avengers video game was (and the talk of loot boxes practically bores me), and if the Islamic background is kept intact for the cinematic franchises, that's all you need to know just how far the producers behind those films have fallen in just a few years.
Ms. Marvel comics have only been written by Muslim writers so far - first Wilson, and then Saladin Ahmed starting in 2019. But Samira Ahmed will be the first South Asian female writer to write a Ms. Marvel series, and so feels a particular connection to what Kamala represents.

"For kids of color, Muslim kids, there was literally zero representation when I was growing up," Ahmed says. "Just the fact that Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman was brunette and from someplace outside America was like, 'Wow, that's amazing!' So when Sana and Willow announced Ms. Marvel, I was just so stunned. My heart soars for all the kids who will have Ms. Marvel comics as part of their childhood. For me, what's cool about her is that she's a girl like all the other girls. She's balancing all this stuff: Parental expectations - which I can 100 percent relate to now even in adulthood - plus school, crushes, and then this extraordinary side job. I feel so much that that is teen life, where you're struggling to balance all those things and find your voice and where you fit in."
I think this is something of an exaggeration too, recalling Bill Mantlo made a questionable introduction of Arabian Knight in the pages of Incredible Hulk in 1981 (and what actually insulted my intellect wasn't just that the character was a polygamist, but that his wives wore chadors). And all coming from somebody who besides whitewashig the Religion of Peace just wants to perpetuate the ludicrous leftist narrative that pop culture's not inclusive enough. Without even asking whether leftists themselves were responsible, if such a thing actually were a problem in past decades. Of course, nobody asks why there's no Armenian representation in these corporate-owned products, or why it's such a big deal there be representation by identity politics instead of ensuring there'll be a merit-based story. It's also pretty apparent even this upcoming miniseries will never provide any focus on Islamic honor murders, let alone Islamic antisemitism.

And wouldn't you know it, the newly hired writer comes from the embarrassingly bad young-adult book industry:
Ms. Marvel will be Ahmed's first comic. She's previously been known for YA novels like Internment (a dystopian story set "15 minutes in the future" of the United States where Muslim Americans are rounded up into camps, inspiring 17-year-old Layla Amin to begin a revolution) [...]
I'm sure it's no accident she was chosen to write this upcoming story that's little more than another tired attempt to keep the politically structured creation "relevant". But all this demonstrates is that the Islamophiles who've been running Marvel for some time now are still obsessed with using Khan as a propaganda-pushing vehicle, and C.B. Cebulski's pretty much in the same boat. This amounts to little more than an example of wasting tons of monetary resources on products that don't sell, all so they can stuff the bargain bins with the comic equivalent of spam letters. I hope anybody who'd spent time on the live action Marvel movies and TV shows up to now will bail out, now that they're going a propaganda route in that category to boot.