UPDATE 11/5/2013 11:00 AM PT: This article has been updated with the “Ms. Marvel” series artist and release month.
Last month, Marvel Comics teased a “Ms.” joining their ranks as part of their ongoing All-New Marvel NOW! promotional and editorial initiative. Tuesday, the New York Times revealed the publisher’s new “Ms. Marvel”: Kamala Khan, a teenage Muslim shape-shifter.
The character will star in a series debuting in February 2014 written by G. Willow Wilson, known for comic book work including “Air” and her World Fantasy Award-winning novel “Alif the Unseen,” and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, the original “Runaways” artist recently seen on “Uncanny X-Force.”
“Any time you do something like this, it is a bit of a risk,” Wilson, who documented her conversion to Islam in her 2010 memoir “The Butterfly Mosque,” told the Times. “You’re trying to bring the audience on board and they are used to seeing something else in the pages of a comic book.”
Kamala Khan will be depicted as a Jersey City resident with family from Pakistan, and a major fan of Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel and current Captain Marvel. The origins of the character, the article states, began in conversations between Marvel editors Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker about Amanat’s experiences growing up as a Muslim-American.
“Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Wilson is quoted. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.'”
The “Ms. Marvel” team is quoted as expecting the book to receive some negative reaction from multiple sides. “I do expect some negativity,” Amanat said in the article. “Not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.”
While Marvel has been criticized in the past for a lack of female-led titles, “Ms. Marvel” further boosts the amount of such books in their lineup. “Black Widow” and “Elektra” series were announced last month at New York Comic Con, along with a relaunched “Captain Marvel.” A new “She-Hulk” series was unveiled in late September.
Keep reading CBR News for more on “Ms. Marvel” and All-New Marvel NOW!.