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)

Burka Avenger: Teacher by Day, Superhero by Night

Burka Avenger, Pakistan’s first animated female superhero, is on a mission for girls’ education. Donning a burka and using pencils and books as weapons, she fights villains intent on shutting down her school, including corrupt politicians and an evil magician. The show promotes the value of women’s education in a region where the Taliban continues to attack female students and schools in an attempt to suppress their education. Just earlier this month, Malala Yousafzai spoke before the UN, urging world leaders to fight for education.

The show’s creator, Pakistani pop star Haroon, funded the Urdu-language cartoon with the help of an anonymous donor. Orphaned children outside of Islamabad were shown a sneak peek of the show and responded positively to its mix of slapstick humor and resounding messages.

Responding to questions about the choice of burka as superhero costume, Haroon said, “It’s not a sign of oppression. She is using the burka to hide her identity like other superheroes. Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn’t have worked in Pakistan.”

Here’s the English-language trailer for “Burka Avenger.” The show airs in August on Geo TV.