Ms. Marvel

Diversity in Comics: It’s About Time!

Did you know that just over 46% of comic book readers are women?! That’s right, Geek Gals. We are representing and are a viable audience! As a result, recent offerings in the comics world have not only been more inclusive of women, but new Asian, Black, Latina and Muslim protagonists are emerging as well. In this article, I list out diverse super-heroines we all know and love. 😉

Marvelous Captain Marvel!

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel
Credit: Marvel Entertainment

In a huge accomplishment for women-led superhero movies, Captain Marvel made its big screen debut last month and has already made over $900 million dollars worldwide at the box office. It also has the sixth biggest global opening ever!

This proves that not only can a female superhero carry her own movie without any other characters from the Marvel universe in the movie, but that women superheroes deserve their own platform and origin stories. And it was marketed as the must-see warm-up for Avengers: Endgame with the coda to Avengers: Infinity War having Nick Fury frantically using an old school beeper as a beacon to hail Captain Marvel. Fans will definitely see Marvel back in action in Avengers: Endgame as the latest trailer reveals Carol Danvers not even flinching as Thor summons his hammer right beside her head! CANNOT WAIT for APRIL 26! Geek Gal reviewer Jessica Garver will have that review right here for you guys!

And the Kinetic Kamala Khan…

Kamala Khan
Credit: Marvel Comics

Kamala Khan is Ms. Marvel and is a Muslim teenage girl living in New Jersey. This character was created by two women, also of the Muslim faith,  G. Willow Wilson and Sana Amanat in 2013 and is still going strong. After the success of Captain Marvel, Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios President, has confirmed that a movie featuring Khan is in the works and Brie Larson is already campaigning for Khan to appear in a Captain Marvel sequel.

Moving on to Asia…

Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi
Credit: Marvel Comics

Marvel is also looking for an Asian director to direct the debut of Shang-Chi, an Asian superhero who originated in the 1970s and is a martial arts master among other things. Marvel would like to replicate the success of engaging Black audiences with Black Panther, but with Asian audiences. Marvel announced this last December 2018, but no dates have been attached as they are seeking Asian writers and filmmakers to stay true to the Asian American experience and away from Orientalist stereotypes like the former character Fu Manchu.

War of the Realms

Cover of the "War of the Realms" comics series
Credit: Marvel Comics

In April, Marvel will release the War of the Realms comics series,  a crossover event that will feature appearances by the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and Wolverine. It will also feature a superhero team made up of Korean-American superhero Amadeus Cho, a.k.a. Brawn, Shang-Chi, Korean-American heroine Silk, and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jimmy Woo. It will include the debut of a new Filipino heroine named Wave and two Chinese superheroes, Aero and Sword Master.

And! Wait! There’s More!

"Surviving the City" graphic novel
Credit: Portage & Main

Also debuting this month is the graphic novel Surviving the City, which features a pair of Indigenous girls, Miikwan and Dez who navigate a world not known for being kind to Brown people. Not only does it feature the closeness and sisterhood of Miikwan and Dez, but it also touches on the sad truth of the ignored missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada and the US. It’s set in Canada and features Canadian tribes and their struggle to fit into the urban, modern world. Written by Tasha Spillet and Natasha Donovan, the story weaves old traditions, legends and language into a gorgeous, women-centered narrative.

Are Your Spidey Senses Tingling?

Miles Morales from "Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse"
Credit: Marvel Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation

Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse not only won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature this year, beating the big Disney favorites, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Incredibles 2, but has also raked in over $370 million worldwide at the box office. And it was groundbreaking in featuring Miles Morales, a half Black and half Puerto Rican character as the famed Spiderman, a far cry from the very white Peter Parker. It also included Spider-Ham, SpiderMan Noir, and Peni Parker, all diverse characters that inhabit the Spider World. This film not only championed the idea that we all can be superheroes, regardless of race or sex or origin, but did so while being funny and appealing to major audiences. A sequel is already planned, in addition to a spin-off movie featuring Gwen.

Not to be a Debbie Downer about DC…but…

"New Age of DC Heroes" comics
Credit: DC Comics

In an answer perhaps to the stunning diversity emerging over at Marvel, DC Comics launched “New Age of DC Heroes” in January, and welp, hate to tell you, but out of the eight featured titles, none have women writers or artists, and the hero lineup also features a bunch of white men. Sigh.

Let’s Focus On The Positive!

So, Geek Gals and readers….it’s a pretty amazing and colorful and multicultural world that is emerging in our beloved comics. And perhaps, this new rainbow world is doing what comics originally set out to do…transport us to different times, places and let us experience what it’s like to be a hero…a superhero!

Sound out Geek Gals! Are there any other new, exciting and diverse happenings in the comics universe?

Featured image credit: Marvel Comics

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