Adam WarRock “Marvelous” (download)
Mon: “Norrin Radd”
Tues: “The Fist of Khonshu”
Check out All-New Ms. Marvel #1
There’s been a lot of talk about diversity in comics, whether that means race/ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, or whatever other identity categorization you care to frame that word around. “Diversity” has become sort of a buzz word in most media, from the multiracial Benetton-like ads that corporations plaster everywhere, to forced-but-necessary debates on certain topics of varying levels of controversy and import. As the personal blueprint of the world continues to become more varied, more delineated, more diverse, it runs the danger of becoming a means to an end of appearing more aware of these issues than actually giving a damn about any of it.
A part of me asks: so? Not to say that any means justifies any good end, but speaking as someone of a minority community, I kinda…don’t care if it’s all for the appearances of diversity. That is, so long as the media being created is…y’know, GOOD. And take it from an Asian American person who grew up loving Jubilee as his favorite X-Man, these things matter. Seeing a representation of yourself, mirrored in your favorite pop cultural media – more importantly, seeing it presented in a way that’s not insulting, demeaning, degrading, belittling — not just lip service. It means something. It’s deeply affecting, and in a lot of ways life changing.
This is all to say that having the new Ms. Marvel be a Pakistani Muslim American can be accused by many as reading like a ploy, to tick off a bunch of boxes in any corporate diversity training program. And…well, I don’t care. Because the book is good; and if the book’s good, then it becomes less about Ms. Marvel being Muslim, and more about the fact that “it doesn’t matter that Ms. Marvel is Muslim.” or the fact that she’s Pakistani. And that, as much as a book that focuses on the fact that Kamala Khan is a kid, who deals with kid stuff, and gets these superpowers and tries her best to do good with them. Like any other superhero. And isn’t that a bit weird to say, that she’s “just like any other superhero,” being that superheroes are fantastical and amazing in their own right.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you any of this. You can read about the reaction to G. Willow Wilson’s new book here, and here, and in almost every other news outlet taking their swing at why it’s important. Other than the fact that the comic itself, at the core of Wilson and Amanat’s creation is good, and that Alphona’s art is great in and of itself.
It’s just another example of what comics are capable of doing: starting a conversation. Being a hero can’t be easy. See: every superhero story of all time. We ask these heroes to do what’s hard, because we know they can. It only seems natural we can ask them to help some people show that whatever religion, sexuality, gender, race or ethnicity you are, whether you’re an alien or a mutant or a robot or whatever: we’re all not that different.
See? It sort of sounds like an after-school special. There’s really no way around it. So just listen to the song, and I hope you dig it. Go read Ms. Marvel. I think it (and what Marvel has been doing lately) is everything that’s right about Big Two comics right now.
Tomorrow: Ghost Rider…IN A CAR!
April 16 - Columbus, OH – Packrat Comics
April 17 - Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Comics
April 19 – AwesomeCon – Washington, DC (link) Opening for Andrew WK
April 23 – Greensboro, NC – Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema
May 3 – FREE COMIC BOOK DAY - Hattiesburg, MS
Hub City Music & Southern Fried Comics
May 9 – Baltimore – Live Band Concert! - The Sidebar Lounge
May 10 – Orlando, FL – Ongaku Overdrive – The Haven Lounge
May 13 – Pittsburgh, PA – Pittsburgh Comics
May 15 – Northampton, MA – Modern Myths