The New Ms. Marvel

Carol Danvers may have changed superhero identities, but the world still needs a Ms. Marvel.

On Tuesday, Marvel Comics announced a new Ms. Marvel title, launching in 2014, starring a new character, New Jersey resident Kamala Khan.

The New Ms. MarvelAny comics fan with a Tumblr account knows that Captain Marvel (Danvers) has a huge internet following known as the Carol Corps, due to her current book written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. The new book however, will feature the creative team of G. Willow Wilson (Cairo, Air) and Adrian Alphona (Runaways, Uncanny X-Force). Khan will be part of the Corps, with Cap being her role model, her “ideal,” according to Wilson. Eagle-eyed fans have even spotted Kamala in awe of Carol in July’s Captain Marvel #14.

In an interview with Newsarama, Willow stated that the book will be “about the universal experience of all American teenagers, feeling kind of isolated and finding what they are.” That certainly is a universal experience, for some more than others. And as a Muslim living in America, especially the New York City area, Khan will have plenty of that to deal with. Her namesake may have the standard super powers of speed, strength, and flight, but as Stephen Colbert joked, “[Muslims] are on the no-fly list.” Instead, the new Ms. Marvel is a shapeshifter. Time and again through the series, I’m sure she’ll be faced with the question: If you could change the way you look to avoid persecution, would you?

Speaking of appearances, Ms. Marvel’s costume was designed by Jamie McKelvie, who recently created new looks for Captain Marvel and Loki.Ms. Marvel's Costume Designed by Jamie McKelvie Those little scarfy/capelets in the back will be a problem in a fight, but overall a nice, clean costume. Reverent to the old lightning bolt bathing suit, but modern and, presumably, a reflection of Kamala herself.

Ms. Marvel joins the already announced Black Widow, She-Hulk and Elektra as Marvel attempts to add more female-driven titles in the new year. Ms. Marvel will, however, be one of only two books at Marvel starring a person of color, the other being Ultimate Spider-Man. (No, She-Hulk does not count.)

And in what I must assume is a special twist just for me, the new character makes her home in Jersey City, New Jersey. That’s right. The first Ms. Marvel is from Boston, where I grew up. Last year DeConnick and Terry Dodson even set a Captain Marvel/Spider-Man team-up there, which I’ve written about. And the new one is from Jersey City, where I live now. Kamala lives in Bells’ Kitchen! I think I may decide to become her #1 fan.

Kamala Khan - Fighting a Hulked PorcupineWilson also spoke of “[The] particular culture in New Jersey. It’s defiant against being seen as where you live when it gets too expensive to live in New York City. I really tried to do homage to New Jersey through references to Kevin Smith films I grew up with, as well as all sorts of cultural references of Jersey worked in. Ms. Marvel is a love letter to an overlooked state.” As someone who moved here because New York City is too expensive (and because NJ has grocery stores, and a Target, and less noise, and fewer urine puddles), I can’t wait.

Ms. Marvel #1 will be released in February.

Boston: Get Out and Love This City

I was flying from Denver to Dallas when all the shit when down yesterday.
The guy next to me asked, “You have a connection to catch?”
“Yeah, heading to Boston.”
“What’s going on there?”
“It’s home.”
“I got an email from my son, who lives there. All he said was ‘I’m fine.’ Didn’t know what he meant.”
I pulled up Boston.com and read all about it. And kept reading as I took the SkyLink through the airport and caught my plane. To Logan, which you may remember as an airport of … infamy?

These are hard times. Every time a person, or a group, or a giant squid attacks a city, its citizens near and far bond together. But it’s not a time to shut down.

Stop crying. Get off your couch. That’s what these assholes want, whoever they are. And that’s not what Boston does. You love this city? Find someone you care about, hold their hand and get out and fucking love this city.

What can you do?

Boston, baby!

From Avenging Spider-Man #10 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Terry Dodson.

Kitchen readers have heard of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Carol Danvers AKA Captain Marvel before. Carol is Boston’s premiere superhero. So on a more serious note, Tumblrer Flatbear has called on the Captain Marvel’s fans, collectively known as the Carol Corps, to donate to the Red Cross. A similar campaign was undertaken by DeConnick and husband Matt Fraction for Hurricane Sandy relief. Part of this is entering a special name in the “Make this Donation in Honor of” box. For Sandy, the code was “I’m Great at Boats.” For Boston, it’s “Carol Corps.” Donate money. Donate blood. Donate what you can.

There were a lot of feelings going through my head as I flew back to Massachusetts yesterday. Confusion. Anger. Disappointment. And I may be what you call “emotionally unavailable,” but I didn’t even think to be scared. I’m from Boston.

Terry Dodson’s Boston FOLLOW UP!

Last month, I appreciated Terry Dodson’s drawings of Boston in Avenging Spider-Man #9. Well, issue #10 came out yesterday and I am very excited. Anyone who has driven across the Zakim has seen a large banner with a Celtics logo facing the Garden. Despite a number of Google searches, I can’t quite tell what the building is. Celts’ offices? Not related at all? I don’t know. But it’s iconic. To me.

I did a Google search for a good picture, but why not let Dodson show you?

Celtics Logo at Lovejoy Wharf

My Boston Celtics. Avenging Spider-Man #10.

I’m a bit iffy on the building on the left. I’m pretty sure that should either be the Garden or not exist. But I won’t complain. The Celtics got some ink! Ray may be gone, but I’m excited to see Paul, KG, Rondo, and all the rest again in a couple months.

Go Celtics.

Terry Dodson’s Boston, as Seen in Avenging Spider-Man #9

Writers and artists often talk about how the setting of their story, whether it be Gotham, Hell’s Kitchen, or the blue area of the moon, becomes a character. A good book will teach the reader about these places, even if they’re fictional. So when Kelly Sue DeConnick and Terry Dodson’s Avenging Spider-Man #9 was going to take place above the skies of Boston, it was exciting. (The new Captain Marvel is one of the few Boston natives in comics, [Who else? Emma Frost?], so you take what you can get.)

Then I hit the following page:

Spider-Man and Captain Marvel Above the Zakim Bridge, BostonI’ve driven over that bridge, the Zakim, a thousand times. But if you were to ask me if there was water under it, I’d have said no. I’d have said, “Nope. Just some train tracks and Boston Sand and Gravel.”

I did a little Google mapping and sure enough. The Charles does in fact flow under the bridge. (Of course it does. How else would the Charles go west into Massachusetts?)

I would have liked to see the Garden in one of the backgrounds, but still, Terry Dodson, a dude from Oregon, has taught me something new about the city I grew up in. Yeah comics!

NOTE: Special thanks to Comic Book Resources. I stole their preview photo.