Fans — often women and often Muslim — often come up to G. Willow Wilson, the writer says, to tell her how Ms. Marvel (i.e. Kamala Khan) is the reason they became comics fans at all.
Daily Beast explains the phenomenon behind the Ms. Marvel character that Wilson co-created: “A gawky and winsome Pakistani-American teenager (and the first Muslim character to headline her own Marvel Comics series), Kamala Khan has appealed to readers beyond the regulars at comic-book shops from the start. Way beyond: collected volumes starring the breakout character cracked the New York Times bestseller list four times since her 2014 debut; she’s become an Avenger, a playable video-game character, an animated cartoon.”
And Wilson is about to tackle another comic book icon — Wonder Woman, at rival publisher DC Comics. Wonder Woman #58, now on sale, pairs Wilson with Eisner-winning artist Cary Nord. Daily Beast describes the story-line as “an arc that at once reexamines the values Diana Prince stands for and challenges her with a fraught situation where ‘good’ guys are virtually impossible to tell apart from the bad: 21st-century warfare.”
In this interview with Daily Beast, Ms. Wilson discusses all. Here are some snippets:
— “What is really, really fun to me is the emails and the messages that I get from comic book retailers who are really excited when girls in hijabs come into their store and ask for Ms. Marvel. And then they get to recommend, ‘Oh, if you like this there’s this other book that I think you should read and there are these things and that,’ and now instead of being one book in isolation, it’s a community of people. And the fact that more young Muslims, especially young Muslim women, have a place in that community and feel that they’re heard and are becoming readers is just incredible to me. And that would’ve happened with or without Ms. Marvel.”
— “When I came on board to write the character, [Marvel editor] Sana Amanat and I thought we would be lucky if we got to ten issues. And then maybe, maybe at some point, Kamala would show up as a sort of sidekick in some bigger books, and that way, she would go on in the Marvel universe. We had not a lot of expectations. And now she’s a phenomenon. She’s in cartoons and she’s been on the Avengers and she’s in a bunch of other books. And we’re going into the tenth trade paperback of a series that we thought would only last ten issues. (Laughs) So I think at some point it will become clear that Ms. Marvel has become bigger than me and that there are other amazing storytellers who can take her places that I can’t… And whatever my role is in her life going forward, I will be a fan for life.”
— “You know, there’s a certain backlash against me but at the end of the day, the average troll is kind of afraid to harass me—for good reason, because I’m pretty well resourced but the average reader is not. And I noticed at the beginning, if I got into it with a troll, it would inevitably cascade into the timeline of fans and readers who would either try to jump in and defend the book or try to speak rationally with this person or people who were not interested in having a rational conversation. And that really disturbed me. I did not want that blowback to cause major distress to readers and in that vein, that did change how I behave online. I don’t shy away from talking about important issues, but I know what key terms the trolls might be searching and I avoid those terms.”