Meet the All-New All-Different Ms. Marvel. The next character to hold the name goes by the civilian ID of Kamala Khan, a teenager from New Jersey who also happens to be Muslim. She was born of a conversation between editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat, the latter being a Muslim-American woman.
G. Willow Wilson will write the series, announced Tuesday afternoon by the New York Times. "Anytime you do something like this, it is a bit of a risk. You're trying to bring the audience on board and they are used to seeing something else in the pages of a comic book," Wilson told the NYTimes.
Just like her real-life tumblr following (#CarolCorps), Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers (who used to go by Ms. Marvel) has a devoted fanbase in the Marvel Universe, including Kamala. The young girl will discover she has shape shifting powers, possibly amongst others, and takes the left-behind name of Ms. Marvel as a tribute to her hero.
"Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for," said Wilson. "She's strong, beautiful, and doesn't have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and 'different.'" Amanat clarified that "it’s also sort of like when I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani Amber Thiessen" from Saved by the Bell.
"I do expect some negativity," Amanat said, "not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light."
While being Muslim and a Pakistani-American is a definining part of her character, Wilson said that's not the only focus of the young hero. The book will be "about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are."
Wilson will draw from Amanat's experiences, as well as her own as a convert to Islam. While the Times did not announce the artist or release for the series, Newsarama has confirmed via Marvel Comics that Adrian Alphona will join Wilson as the artist for the creative team. Alphona has a history with teenage heroes, having co-created the Runaways for Marvel with Brian K. Vaughan. Ms. Marvel #1 will ship in February 2014, but the character will first appear in January's All-New Marvel NOW! Point One special (she's presumably the blacked-out character on the cover to the left).
Kamala Khan is the second legacy Muslim character to show up in mainstream comics recently. Simon Baz, an American of Lebanese descent, took over as Green Lantern of Earth at DC Comics in 2012.