Kamala Khan was brought to life in 2014 by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie and has claimed many titles since, including a Hugo Award for best graphic story for Ms. Marvel: No Normal. Sales of the first volume of the series topped the charts and earned No. 2 spot on The New York Times Best Seller list. But who is Kamala Khan and why does writer Adrienne Resha love her so much?
When did you first meet Ms. Marvel?
The first issue, Ms. Marvel #1! I don’t remember how I found out about it, but I was in my last semester of college when I picked up the book digitally. I’ve been subscribed to it, and reading monthly, ever since.
What is the character up to now?
Kamala Khan is currently starring in Saladin Ahmed and Minkyu Jung’s The Magnificent Ms. Marvel and Eve Ewing and Simone Di Meo’s Champions. In the former, she’s about to team up with Marvel’s first Arab American superhero, Amulet, and, in the latter, she’s about to go up against CRADLE in the aftermath of Outlawed, which I reviewed for WWAC in March.
What would the character have meant to you if she’d been around earlier in your life?
A big part of me feels like she debuted at the exact right time, both for me and generally speaking, but I would’ve loved to have had her around when I was a teenager. Writer and co-creator G. Willow Wilson has talked about her Ms. Marvel being a love letter to Millennials, and I am a Millennial (while Kamala is not, she’s a Zoomer now), so I still felt like it spoke to me, but I had already been accepted to graduate school when the first issue came out in 2014 and six years later Kamala is still a high school student. Because of comic book time, I would’ve eventually aged past her, anyway, but I also would’ve gotten to grow up with her, even for a little while.
How do you feel about Ms. Marvel’s evolution since her introduction?
The biggest changes to Ms. Marvel have been outside of her solo series. I’ve followed those without paying too much attention to the crossovers or guest appearances she makes in other comics, but I know she’s an important part of the greater Marvel Universe, and that’s incredible. So is seeing Ms. Marvel in other media. In animation, she’s been on TV since 2016, and she’s set to make her live action debut on Disney+ in a few years. I’m really excited to see what showrunner and head writer Bisha K. Ali and her team do with Kamala’s origin story.
Ms. Marvel had a few writers and artists work on her main books and major appearances. How do you feel about the efforts of the creative teams when it comes to appropriately representing her and her culture and religion?
I think one of the not often enough acknowledged heroes of Ms. Marvel and Magnificent Ms. Marvel is the colorist, Ian Herring. Herring has worked on almost every issue of the three series. He brings a consistency across styles through his colorwork, making sure that Kamala looks like Kamala whether her pencils are done by Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, Nico Leon, Jung, or the other artists who have drawn her in her title series. I also think editor and co-creator Sana Amanat, who is (like Kamala) Pakistani American, and writers Wilson and Ahmed, who are Muslim American, make the comics on which they’ve worked feel authentic. That being said, the Kamala of the comics still has not been written by a Muslim woman of color, which feels long overdue, especially as she appears more frequently outside of them.
You’ve had the opportunity to meet one (or more?) of the Ms. Marvel writers, but what if you met Kamala Khan herself? What would you talk about? What are the burning questions you’d love to ask her?
I’ve met both Ms. Marvel writers! I am very privileged to have attended a book signing Wilson did last year while on tour for The Bird King and to have met Ahmed a year before that. I also got to talk to Amanat at NYCC this past fall, and I think I’d have to ask Kamala the same question I asked Amanat about her, inspired by one of Kamala’s few appearances before Ms. Marvel, “what’s next?”
Where do you go from Coles Academic High School? From Jersey City? Where do you go from the Avengers and the Champions? (What about the alternate universe version of you, Khan, from Exiles?) You’ve been on these teams and you’ve been to space (more than once), but there’s still so much you haven’t done, so what’s next?