Marvel Comics reinventing Ms. Marvel as a teenage Pakistani-American Muslim

Comic book giant Marvel – creator of such big-name superheroes as Spiderman, the X-Men and Iron Man – is reinventing its Ms Marvel character as a Muslim-American teenager, the company said Wednesday.

The monthly comic will follow the adventures of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani teenager from New Jersey, when it debuts in February.

G. Willow Wilson, an American woman who converted to Islam, will be the lead writer on the project while the illustrations will be done by Adrian Alphona, who portrays Kamala as wearing a superhero's classic red tights along with a blue mini-dress.

Series editor Sana Amanat told AFP that the inspiration for Kamala comes from "a desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective".

"Islam is both an essential part of her identity and something she struggles mightily with,” Wilson said in an interview on the Marvel website.

“She wants to go to parties and stay out past 9pm and feel ‘normal’. Yet at the same time, she feels the need to defend her family and their beliefs.”

The last Ms Marvel was a blonde, blue-eyed Air Force major, Carol Danvers, who later morphed into the Captain Marvel character.

But Amanat warned against viewing Marvel’s new character through just the narrow lens of her culture or ethnicity.

"This story isn't about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American," Amanat told AFP.

"This is ultimately a tale about what it means to be young, lost amidst the expectations bestowed upon you – and what happens when you get to choose," she said.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)