Ms. Marvel for Everyone

I’m well into the series and really enjoying the story of the new Ms. Marvel who is a young Muslim girl superhero living in Jersey City.

I find it a little bit puzzling that the series has stirred some controversy, on both the Muslim side and the comic fan side. Aside from the obvious supernatural superpowers, this girl seems to be living a fairly normal teenage life, and the fact that she comes from a Palestinian Muslim family doesn’t seem to me to be any more distracting than any other back story. Could be an Irish family, an Italian family, an LGBT family, a Tongan family, etc. – she has to come from somewhere. Her somewhere happened to come from the mind of award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson, an American woman from New Jersey who converted to Islam.

Then I realized – of course there has to be controversy, because it could never satisfy everyone.

It seems to me that the common theme across the controversy is the demand that this story be different. So in effect, we are looking at one story to represent the multiple points of view of a huge and diverse group of people. There is no way to win if the expectation is for one character and one story to speak for everyone.

It’s unfortunate that there are so few Muslim stories in comics – but that also means there is a great opportunity to say something that has never been said!

Right off the bat I can think of 3-4 comics that offer different perspectives on the lives of Muslims and different character types.

Looking for a story of growing up in a Muslim country? Try Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi.

Looking for a fantastical love story? Try Habibi by Craig Thompson.

Looking for journalistic realism? Try Palestine by Joe Sacco.

Looking for a Marvel type male superhero? Try Buraaq

There are endless possibilities for more variation, and so I think we just need more stories and more storytellers.

“If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.”
― John Steinbeck

Comic Book Religion

Zingh

I stumbled onto the site comic book religion and found a list of Sikh superheros.

Or rather, I found the place where the list of Sikh superheros would have been if any existed. There was one from Raj Comics listed as “uncertain” called Fuzobaba, who has not been verified, apparently.

In contrast, there are 5 Sikh comic book supervillains listed. 5 from Marvel:

In “Moon Knight” in 1985 there was the villain “Sadhul Singh” and his assassins named “Blade”, “Fist”, and “Gun”.

In “Marvel Knight” the villain “Zingh” appeared.

There are all types of good and bad people, in fiction as well as real life. But I’m thinking a little balance couldn’t hurt…

And then if you take a look at Latinegro’s blog post about comic diversity you might get the idea that times are finally changing. maybe.

Beginning to get ready to start!

It’s August 4, 2014, and the Super Sikh comic project is finally in motion!

There is so much to do in order to launch, it’s a bit overwhelming. Here are a few things in progress, right now:

– Logo design
– Connecting with our target Charities
– Setting up Twitter and Facebook
– Setting up the website – ah, wait, I will check that off the list 😉

But I’m so encouraged by seeing the character art from Amit!

I’ll share some with you soon…

-Eileen