ON WEDNESDAY, Marvel Comics will debut its relaunch of Ms. Marvel — in which she’s introduced as a Muslim American teenager from Jersey City — as part of a broader women’s initiative that the publisher is calling “Characters and Creators.”
With tomorrow’s debut of Kamala Khan, Marvel Comics seeks a greater diversity of readers. As part of the initiative, Black Widow, Elektra and She-Hulk will be spotlighted in their own books, and X-Men and Captain Marvel will see a new emphasis on women.
Even as Ms. Marvel takes a big step forward for diversity in comics, the “Characters and Creators” initiative has broader implications, as it aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for superhero comic books in America: women and girls.
Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, tells Comic Riffs that the stars of these new books “are not the big-breasted, scantily clad women that perhaps have become the comic-book cliché. They are women with rich interior lives, interesting careers and complicated families who are defined by many things—least of all their looks.”