A spotlight on Muslim superheroes and the people who write them

The most famous example of a Muslim superhero in comics today is Marvel Comics' Kamala Khan, the latest hero to carry the mantle of Ms. Marvel.

By
August 15, 2019 20:41
2 minute read.
A spotlight on Muslim superheroes and the people who write them

Miss Marvel Kamala Khan, a fictional superhero who is also Muslim-American . (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)

In honor of Eid al-Adha The Jerusalem Post would like to shine a spotlight on Muslim superheroes and the people who write them.

The comic book industry has often been noted for its deep rooted Jewish influence, with some of the most lauded, acclaimed and influential writers and artists from the 1930s until now being Jews.

However, as time has gone on, the industry has evolved with it, becoming more diverse on the page and behind it.

The most famous example of a Muslim superhero in comics today is Marvel Comics' Kamala Khan, the latest hero to carry the mantle of Ms. Marvel. Created in 2013 by Muslims Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson, Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager living in a family of immigrants in Jersey City, when her superpowers are awakened. She soon began to headline her own ongoing series, the first Muslim superhero in Marvel to do so, and it has consistently sold well.

Rather than use her background and religion as a mere tokenistic aspect to make her needlessly diverse – something many fans worried may happen – the Ms. Marvel comic goes out of its way to show the roles her heritage and faith play in her life and in the overall story.

However, it isn't preachy about it either, and doesn't portray her as fanatically religious.

For example, the character doesn't wear a hijab, but she does keep halal, and spends plenty of time writing fan-fiction and playing online video games. In a way, it's similar to a portrayal of a modern Orthodox Jew living in the US.

However, despite her prominence, Kamala Khan isn't the only Muslim superhero in comics today, nor are Amanat and Wilson the only Muslims working in the industry. The other most prominent Muslim superhero today is DC Comics' Simon Baz, a Lebanese-American who is one of the latest to carry the mantle of Green Lantern, created by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke in 2012 for one of DC's Free Comic Book Day special issues. Other notable Muslim characters include X-Men members Dust and Monet St. Croix. Likewise, there are other known Muslim writers and artists in comics, such as Saladin Ahmed and Safiyya Hosein.

Interestingly, the first ever Muslim superhero – Kismet: Man of Fate – was published back in 1944 as a superhuman Algerian Muslim who fought Nazis in southern France. His story only lasted four issues, but the character was revived over 70 years later. Curiously, despite the creator being credited as Omar Tabah, this is in fact and alias, and most of the team behind the original series were actually Jewish.


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