Ms. Marvel is Marvel’s newest addition to their line-up of heroes, but she’s still got a long way to go to be like the ones she’s modeled herself after. Luckily, she’s about to meet some of her idols. In next week’s Ms. Marvel #6, the Jersey girl Kamala Khan is set to team-up with one of Marvel’s signature heroes, but he’s far from an ideal role model: Wolverine. Series writer G. Willow Wilson tells Newsarama she’s wanted to write the mutant hero since childhood, and this issue brings an opportunity to show him and Kamala in a new light. In addition to that, Newsarama has learned that Ms. Marvel will cross paths someone Kamala has a “huge emotional parallel with” according to Wilson, Spider-Man himself, in October’s Amazing Spider-Man #7.
Last month’s Ms. Marvel #5 marked the end of her “origin” so to speak as she’s finally stepped up into her role and figured out her costume, but #6 and beyond is primed to show her transitioning from becoming a hero to acting like one – with not-so-perfect results says Wilson.
Newsarama: Willow, you now have five issues of Ms. Marvel on the stands and I’d wager you’re two or three issues ahead, at least, in the script. What’s it like now being in the thick of it? Has the new-ness worn off yet, and if so, what is it replaced by?
G. Willow Wilson: It's a whole other beast! I have a novelist's love of three-act structure, so to see the series open up---to go from the confines of an origin story to an ongoing book--is a leeeetle bit scary. Fortunately, my editor Sana Amanat and I planned out a bunch of story arcs way back in the development phase, so we have tons of ideas. Of course, all of this is complicated in a very interesting way the evolving nature of the Marvel Universe, and we have to be on our toes to make room for the larger forces at work.
Nrama: A few issues ago, we saw Kamala reveal her superhero identity to Bruno, and also officially take up the moniker of Ms. Marvel. To some that might be the end of a superhero’s “origin story” – but what would you say to that?
Wilson: Yes, in a sense. I think Ms. Marvel #5 wrapped it up pretty definitively--she has her costume, her name, her mission, and a big reveal of a totally off the wall enemy. From here, we really start to branch out. There's a lot more action.
Nrama: Unlike most comics, Ms. Marvel didn’t get to her “final” form in terms of costume as seen on the covers until last month’s Ms. Marvel. Can you talk about showing her get up to steam, so to speak, on what her first real costume is?
Wilson: In Ms. Marvel #5 we see the finished costume and the explanation about how it got to be the way it is. We really wanted to give this a DIY feel--Kamala is not a hero who just appears out of nowhere in a high-end molded latex outfit. So we put a lot of thought into where she could get the materials, what they would be like, etc etc.
Nrama: People think of superhero books as action books, but Spider-Man for example plays with action, drama and a lot of humor – humor you have in spades with Ms. Marvel. I can’t go without asking you, in particular, about that sleep mask in #4 and just in general about humor as a facet of the book for you?
Wilson: We had two ways we could have played this series: as a very earnest, serious set piece for Diversity, or as a very down to earth, self-consciously funny, relatable book. We went with the latter, because really, why wouldn't you. It's so much more fun. Adrian Alphona and I try to make maximum use of Kamala's environment, both to set the stage for her adventures and her friends, and also to add humor, often in the form of Adrian's brilliant sight gags.
Nrama: This month’s Ms. Marvel #6 promises a team-up with Wolverine. Tell us about that.
Wilson: I've been wanting to write this character since I was ten years old. I think people who are used to seeing him in his element will be surprised and amused--I hope in a good way--to see him in Kamala's.
Nrama: OK, so we know Kamala’s favorite superhero is Captain Marvel. In the solicits for #7 it mentioned Wolverine is in her top 5 – could you tell us who are the other three in contention for those other top spots on Kamala’s superhero fandom?
Wilson: Probably Captain America, Storm and Reed Richards. She really goes for paladin types. (And failing that, geeks.) Plus, all those characters are semi-local…she would literally have seen them flying around, appearing in the tabloids, saving the city next door--if she was living in the greater New York City area, these characters would be fixtures of her childhood. That's what I try to keep in mind.
Nrama: Marvel seems to have a thriving teen hero team contingent between the Jean Grey kids, New Warriors, the All-New X-Men kids, Young Avengers, Avengers Undercover, and a couple others. Kamala’s a teen – could you see her at some point joining a team of like-aged heroes?
Wilson: I totally could. I think she would get along really well with a lot of the kids in the teen Marvel contingent.
Nrama: I think one of the reasons people enjoy this book is the fact it’s a second generation hero in some regards. I’m not talking about the lineage, but about the idea of a fan of superheroes looking to become the thing they idolize – acknowledging superhero fandom, to some degree. What would you say about Kamala’s reasons here for becoming a hero and her roots as a fan?
Wilson: Her idea of what a hero should be--and probably no small portion of her bravery--comes from being a fan. She's already invested in this world. There is no question in her mind that when you see something going wrong, and you have the means to help, you must help. And that comes from having these other characters in her life, if only on her computer screen and the posters on her walls. Kamala is really the next logical step in the Marvel U--she's a superhero who grew up with superhero culture; she's an American growing up in a changing America. I think that's why so many different people love her. I know it's why I do.