‘Ms. Marvel’ Becomes Finalist for First-Ever McDuffie Diversity Award

 

We couldn’t contain our excitement back in 2013 when Marvel introduced 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager who is also known as the superhero Ms. Marvel. Khan is not only an Asian American superhero who can kick butt, she’s a woman we can look up to and relate to.

To highlight the fact that Ms. Marvel battles issues faced by many Asian Americans, comics writer G. Willow Wilson says that Kahn “struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family. Like a lot of children of immigrants, she feels torn between two worlds: the family she loves, but which drives her crazy, and her peers, who don’t really understand what her home life is like.”

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Photo courtesy of thenerdsofcolor.org

Much to our excitement, it was recently announced that the Ms. Marvel series is a finalist for the first-ever Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity.

“The nominees for the first ever Dwayne McDuffie Award reflect the best of what a comic book can be,” said Matt Wayne, the Director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. “[They] reflect Dwayne’s aspirations for the comic book industry. They are diverse, inclusive and forward looking.”

Dwayne McDuffie was an accomplished comic book writer and television writer & producer who co-founded Milestone Media. He also worked on comic book titles such as DC’s Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Justice League of America and Marvel’s Fantastic Four. Although he passed away in 2011, this Diversity Award hopes to continue his vision of superheroes that can reflect all readers.

“I am so proud that my husband’s personal mission to include a more diverse array of voices — both in content and creators — is able to continue now through this award in his name, by encouraging others who share his vision of comics, characters, and the industry itself better mirroring society,” said Dwayne’s wife, Charlotte McDuffie.

The winner of this award will be announced at the first-ever Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity ceremony which will be held at Long Beach Comic Expo on Saturday February 28th.

Feature image courtesy of www.themarysue.com

 

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Ms. Marvel Steps Into the Real World to Combat Anti-Islam Ads

 

It looks like Marvel superheroes can exist in the real world after all. Citizens of San Francisco can now see Ms. Marvel, a Pakistani American Muslim teen named Kamala Khan, fighting against racism. How exactly is she doing this? By fighting back against Anti-Islam bus ads.

It all began when the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group that is sometimes classified as an extremist anti-Muslim hate group, purchased some offensive bus ads which correlated Muslims to Nazis.

You may be wondering why these ads weren’t taken down immediately. Apparently, despite countless complaints from the public, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) could not take the ads down because of freedom of speech. In fact, Muni is even running it’s own campaign against the ads.

In the meantime, are citizens supposed to sit around patiently and just put up with the racist ads? Absolutely not. San Francisco street artists responded to these ads with none other other Ms. Marvel. The ads have been blocked with strong pictures of Ms. Marvel as well as statements such as “Calling All Bigotry Busters,” “Free Speech Isn’t a License to Spread Hate” and “Stamp Out Racism.” This brilliant response even caught the attention of G. Willow Wilson, the creator of Ms. Marvel.   


So who says superheroes can’t exist in the real world? Ms. Marvel is certainly doing a good job with it.

 

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Photos courtesy of http://www.pastemagazine.com/

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Marvel’s New Pakistani Superhero

Lets face it– the presence of Asians in American media is not as prominent as we’d like. In fact, this number gets even smaller when we look at specific categories like the comicbook world. Luckily, this seems to be slowly, but surely changing.

We had put together a list of Asians in Comics to celebrate the Asian creators and characters who are making strides in the comicbook world and it looks like we have another big addition to make on this list.

Recently, Marvel Comics has revealed their reimagined version of the character, Ms. Marvel. Much to our delight, this hero’s alter ego is not a white, male millionaire. The new Ms. Marvel is 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager.

Comics writer G. Willow Wilson says that Kahn “struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family. Like a lot of children of immigrants, she feels torn between two worlds: the family she loves, but which drives her crazy, and her peers, who don’t really understand what her home life is like.”

Creators say they will stray away from the “token minority” character and instead deal with some very deep personal struggles.

Of course, creators recognize the risks that accompany Khan’s character. Will others be against her ethnic background and religious beliefs? Will Pakistani or Muslim individuals feel a misrepresentation with this character?

The comic’s editor Sana Amanat admits, “I do expect some negativity, not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.”

But creators have decided to be brave and go through with the character. In fact, they claim they will address the various labels that society places on Kahn and show how such labels affect her sense of self.

Kahn is the first Muslim character to headline a book at Marvel. Ms. Marvel will launch in February 2014 and we simply cannot wait.

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(source)