Writer Saladin Ahmed will step in for G. Willow Wilson. EW spoke with them and editor Sana Amanat about the character's journey so far.
Big changes are afoot for Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.
Introduced in 2014 as the first Muslim superhero to get her own comic series at Marvel, Kamala has spent the years since becoming a pop culture phenomenon. Despite being one of Marvel’s newest superheroes, she’s quickly becoming one of the most famous. In addition to repeatedly saving her hometown of Jersey City from mad scientists and trickster gods, Kamala has also fought alongside superhero teams like the Avengers and the Champions. With the recent Marvel Rising franchise, she’s even made the jump from comics to cartoons.
Kamala was created by writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Adrian Alphona, and editors Stephen Wacker and Sana Amanat. Since her debut, the monthly Ms. Marvel comic has been written by Wilson, who along with a talented team of artistic collaborators has crafted it into one of the most consistently enjoyable and thought-provoking superhero comics on stands. But all good things must come to an end. EW can exclusively reveal that next year the current Ms. Marvel series will end, and Wilson will end her writing tenure on the character. A new comic, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, will begin in 2019, to be written by Saladin Ahmed and illustrated by Minkyu Jung.
“I started having this conversation with Sana about the possibility of bringing someone else on about a year ago,” Wilson tells EW. “We had planned up through the end of this year, which would take me to five years on the book. This was coming out of a project we originally anticipated would only have about 10 issues, and I will leave having written 60. It just seems so incredible that this character, who was just going to be a fun project for both of us loosely influenced by Sana’s own experiences growing up, had become a cultural phenomenon that was going to outlive us both. Given that was true, I really wanted to be cognizant of the fact that superheroes thrive with a multiplicity of voices telling their stories. I wanted to leave on a high note.”
Though a novelist by trade, Ahmed recently broke into writing comics with an excellent Black Bolt miniseries (illustrated with cosmic flair by Christian Ward) and has followed that up with several others, such as Exiles, which features a team of time-traveling superheroes — including a much older, bitter version of Ms. Marvel simply named Khan. But Ahmed says he’s particularly excited to now be writing the real Kamala.
“I think she’s really the face of everything that’s new and fresh and exciting and ‘21st century’ at Marvel, and with superheroes in general. To be given stewardship of that is a big deal to me,” Ahmed tells EW. “It’s always thrilling being given responsibility over a beloved character. It’s particularly meaningful for me to be taking over from Willow. She’s an incredible writer, and she’s a friend. I’ve only been in comics for a couple years, I come from fiction and poetry and stuff like that, and Willow has been one of the folks who’s helped me figure out this whole craft and business. She’s my sister, and it’s very cool to be taking the baton from her. There’s something meaningful there.”
The title of the new series gives Kamala her own descriptive adjective (“Magnificent”) in the grand tradition of Marvel superhero comics like Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-Men. Though The Magnificent Ms. Marvel is still in its early stages, Ahmed teased a bit of what fans can expect from the upcoming series.
“Without giving too much away, there’s going to be big-canvas Marvel scope happening in this book, while still maintaining that intimate tone that people have loved about it,” he says. “I think that Kamala’s earned her superlative. She’s been around for a few years and she’s been magnificent. We kind of wanted to announce that this was her leveling up — as she would probably put it.”
He continues, “I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by the change of tone in the art. All of the artists who have worked on Ms. Marvel have been stellar, so it’s not that anything needs changing, but there’s a different tone as we go into this new number one, and the art reflects that. It’s not ‘gritty Ms. Marvel,’ but it’s darker and more atmospheric.”
While everyone waits for the next chapter in Kamala’s life to begin, check back in the coming days for EW’s conversation with Wilson, Ahmed, and Amanat about where she’s been and what it’s meant so far.