Robot 6

In Pakistan, hopes are (mostly) high for the new Ms. Marvel

"Ms. Marvel" #3, by Jamie McKelvie

“Ms. Marvel” #3, by Jamie McKelvie

Since the new Ms. Marvel was announced in November as Kamala Khan, the 16-year-old daughter of Pakistani immigrants, there’s been a lot of discussion about the significance of the character, both to Muslim readers and to comics. But journalist Shehryar Warraich takes the conversation a step further, by soliciting the opinions of Pakistanis.

The United Press International article is an interesting read, as Warraich, who’s based in Lahore, Pakistan, found reactions to be largely positive, although at least one woman expressed concerns that the Marvel comic might be part of “a conspiracy to discredit Pakistani society.”

However, the vast majority of the others quoted in the piece seemed quite hopeful about the potential effect of Kamala, both on Pakistani girls and on the country’s image.

“Pakistanis will feel proud to see their girl helping people and playing a positive role,” author Mobarak Haider told UPI. “Kamala Khan is not only representing her compatriots in this role, but Muslims as a whole. Her character could have a great impact on Muslim families living in the U.S. The concept will make parents understand that by giving girls confidence, they can build a fabulous future.”

The article also provides a good opportunity to link to the Ms. Marvel production blog, which features exactly what you would expect: character designs, process pieces and the like.

Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, arrives Feb. 4.

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Comments

3 Comments

Pakistan is at such a crossroads. Relatively small (if very dangerous) minorities of violent extremists and nonviolent reactionaries are doing their best to drag that nation (especially its women) backwards. But so many people there want to find ways to move forward, to balance the old and the new. And remember that despite the zealots and the strongmen, women have twice risen to levels of power that are almost unheard of in the rest of the Third World.

As a Pakistani I think it’s great. It’s always been a bit hard to relate to the majority of the current superheroes… socially speaking. As long as they don’t make her a caricature or try to make it too political i’ll be happy. Fingers crossed this works out.

Sounds like a lot of cautious optimism, which I think is appropriate.

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