It looks like Marvel's emphasis on reaching a female audience may be paying off for Ms. Marvel.
The first issue of the teenaged superhero's series debuted last Wednesday to a chorus of critical acclaim, just one day after Marvel editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso spoke with The Washington Post about the publisher's enhanced focus on female characters and creators -- along with Ms. Marvel, new series have been launched (or will be launched) featuring female heroes Black Widow, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel and Elektra; under the "All-New Marvel NOW!" initiative. "While we don't have any market research, the eyes don’t lie," Alonso said in his interview. "If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to."
Marvel may not have had any hard data to back up Alonso's thoughts when the interview was conducted, but six days after the first issue of Ms. Marvel went on sale, the theory appears to be receiving support from the area where it matters most: Sales. While the issue's critical acclaim is nice -- CBR's review gave it 5 stars -- as of this writing, Ms. Marvel #1, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, is listed as Marvel's digital comics top seller. Marvel's first comic book starring a Muslim-American teenaged girl as its title character is outselling the latest issues of New Avengers, All-New X-Men, plus the debuts of Loki: Agents of Asgard and the new Wolverine #1. While it's unlikely anyone expected a comic starring a brand-new character to be Marvel's best-selling digital offering, the publicity and goodwill the series received since its announcement has apparently paid off.
Based on comiXology's overall ranking, the only digital comic outselling Ms. Marvel #1 right now is the Geoff Johns/David Finch powered DC Comics juggernaut, Forever Evil #5, which also went on sale Feb. 5. On the physical media front, Marvel announced on Monday that a second printing of #1 will be out on March 19. While it may be too early to call the series an unvarnished success, all signs so far indicate a very strong start.