When I decided to rekindle my interest in Marvel Comics, I knew I could always go back to Spider-Man, or any other flagship Marvel title. However, I wanted something different, refreshing. It took two unlikely characters to come rescue me from the norm. It's was the perfect opportunity for Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel to swoop in.
It began with Ms. Marvel. I stopped by a comic shop and a third printing of the first issue was on the shelf. Immediately after reading the first issue I knew I read something special. Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) instantly charmed me with her quirky personality and passion for Avengers fanfic. She was the type of character I wanted to invest my time and unique within Marvel Comics.
Writer G. Willow Wilson developed an interesting character who doesn’t just struggle with typical teenage problems, but has to balance her identity since she is not a typical run-of-the-mill superhero character. Kamala is the closest I’ve gotten to a character that represents myself in comics. This says a lot about comics in general. Kamala is a teenage Pakistani-American living in Jersey City. That may not mean much to most, but it’s significant for me. However, this is not about race or inner-city upbringing. If that was the case, this post could have easily been about Miles Morales (Ultimate Spider-Man), since I’m Puerto Rican, born and raised in the south Bronx. Relating to Kamala is about identity, dealing with conflicting cultural identities, family and societal expectations, and purpose. Something I don’t usually come across with the white, male characters dominating the medium.
Riding on the high of Ms. Marvel, I wanted more to read. It led me to Captain Marvel written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) is the opposite of Kamala Khan. Carol is confident, witty, powerful, experienced, firm in her convictions, and knows herself. She is the woman Kamala wants to become. DeConnick brings a personable touch to Danvers that shines when she interacts with her friends and other Avengers. She’s stronger than the obstacles thrown at her, reminding me of the strong women I’ve had in my life--my mother, sisters, even girlfriends. Women have more to do with the man I’ve become than any other influence. Having Captain Marvel on my pull list broke the superhero mold for my Marvel comic reading. Soon Danvers will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and everyone will know the strength of Captain Marvel.
My interest in Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel continues, and it's due to the writers my interest remains. These books wouldn't be the same without them. Without Wilson and DeConnick, my interest in the Marvel gals would have tapered off. They helped shape the characters on the page and brought a style I couldn’t ignore. Now I hold the monikers Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel close, right up there with Spider-Man. It's due to the work done by the marvelous Kelly Sue DeConnick and G. Willow Wilson who gave them new life and significance.