Cover Girl: The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #4

A purple space prince supports Kamala Khan as she reaches for the sky, with her parents looking on with concern in the background

Welcome to Cover Girl. Each month, we gather a team of WWAC contributors to analyze a new and notable comic book cover featuring one or more women. This month, Claire, Louis, Wendy, and Lisa look back at Minkyu Jung’s cover of The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #4 from Marvel Comics.

What is your initial reaction to this cover as a piece of comics art?

Claire Napier: I think this is great. As a cover, it’s a rare thing: an image that contains a narrative—a narrative that reflects the events of the story within. Our heroine is heroic and desired, the hot alien is hot and interested, the parents are like, “Hmmmmmm, not sure about this.” It’s basically perfect. Their hands on each others’ waists are clear indicators of attraction and mutuality, without either being devalued or overvalued in the piece. It’s not a Frazetta take-off, which is wonderful! It has the basic elements of that so-much referenced muscle-flesh melodrama—they’re on a rock and touching each other—but there’s nothing inappropriate to the context here. To put Ms. Marvel in the Classic Sexy Barbarian tableau would be to create a strange cocktail—she’s a teenager; her costume is adapted from a burkini; she’s not the character to cram into that same old mould. This isn’t John Carter or Conan. It’s Ms. Marvel. This cover is Ms. Marvel.

Lisa Fernandes: It’s adorable. I love Ms. Marvel, and I love how well this reflects Kamala’s personality. Her big grin, striding confidently out into the world—that’s her to a tee.

Wendy Browne: This is a conscientious cover that knows who the character is and what she represents. It’s not just a generic pose cover. It’s telling the story, and I love it. The use of colours and lines just blows me away. The melding of the primary colour contrast of her costume with the muted pastels in the background and in her partner. The way deep shadows and darker linework is used to draw the eye. The way the planet behind Kamala tilts along the lines of her reaching hand making it feel like she is the one giving it direction. This is a creative team that knows how to work lines and angles and guide the eyes.

As a parent, I am loving every inch of this cover. It’s a young person reaching to the stars, sharing her hopes and dreams with someone that seems to very much respect and support her. And then there are her parents in the background who are coming to terms with all the things parents of a teenager have to come to terms with. I love that they are present and clearly questioning and perhaps dreading, but they are not overbearing. Not interfering. These are parents who trust their child to do the right thing, but are still filled with all the doubt and fear that comes with knowing that you have to let them go. This cover pulls at my heartstrings and I want my daughters to read this book.

Louis Skye: WWAC Cover Girls usually elicit interesting (read: negative) reactions from moi. But this cover? I love it so much! This is the kind of cover I look for when I browse comics. The central character is joyful, hopeful, and powerful. That a teenage girl of colour is depicted in this stance makes me so happy. (Also, Kamala Khan is the absolute best!)

Kamala’s parents in the background are adorable. Look at their concerned and confused faces. They look like they’re wondering how their life has come to this, but also like they wouldn’t have it any other way. Awwwww.

As Claire and Wendy have noted, it’s great to see two characters grace a cover without a hint of hypersexuality involved. Just two buddies hanging out on a strange planet. I always want to love female comic characters, but some creepy dude writes and draws them for an audience that isn’t me, which is so alienating. This cover is calling to me, telling me I’m part of this universe. More covers like this, please, comics.

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Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.