Tagged: Kamala Khan

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

The Law Is A Ass #450: One Can Only Marvel At All The Ms. Takes

I don’t care what you say, 2020 could have been worse. Want proof? Marvel’s Civil War II didn’t come out in 2020, now did it?

Ah, Civil War II, the gift that kept on giving, even after we had taken it to the return window. It continued to haunt us in Ms. Marvel Vol 4 #20, after we thought we had put it out of our misery. Bear with me, to explain how, requires more back story than the Illustrated Man’s dorsal region.

Kamala Khan wasn’t always Ms. Marvel. Her latent Inhuman gene activated after she was exposed to the Terrigen Mist during Terrigenesis. That’s when she got powers and became protector of Jersey City. I realize that if you’re not up on Marvel continuity, the preceding sentences make no sense. I am up on Marvel continuity, after a fashion, and they don’t make complete sense to me. But explaining it further would make this column longer than Stephen King’s The Stand; abridged and unabridged versions. Combined. So, like a Lee fake fingernail, we press on.

Some months later, Kamala’s brother, Aamir Khan, was exposed to something. It wasn’t Terrigen, but it still gave Aamir powers. How it gave Aamir powers isn’t important, not unless we want to add Stephen King’s Under the Dome to this column’s word count. What is important is that Aamir got his powers when he was an adult.

During the events of Civil War II, Aamir openly displayed his super powers. Then, after Charles Worthy, a front man for Hydra, became Mayor of Jersey City, he started a policy of taking the city back from the “activist super heroes” who have disrupted Jersey City. To accomplish this, Worthy issued an executive order requiring all super heroes in Jersey City to register.

Aamir didn’t register. He was arrested pursuant to the executive order and held in a detention center, where a police officer reminded Aamir that he was an emigree who became a naturalized citizen when he was eight. The officer advised Aamir that “Under the new law, failing to disclose super-powers could potentially count as immigration fraud. If you obtained your citizenship under false pretenses, this could be grounds for revocation.” Meaning, Jersey City would revoke Aamir’s citizenship and deport him.

Jersey City may believe it’s like some little train engine going up a big hill, but it isn’t. Not only do I not think it can do this; I know it can’t.

Let’s deal with the ridiculous assumption, that if Aamir didn’t disclose powers he didn’t have at the time he became a naturalized citizen, he obtained his citizenship under false pretenses. Aamir didn’t have his powers when he was naturalized, he got them years later. To say he concealed something he didn’t have is like saying I – all 5 feet 7 inches of me – concealed my two-handed, behind-the-back slam dunk. Go ahead, try to conceal something you don’t have. That’s a trick that would fool Penn & Teller.

Aamir obtained nothing under false pretenses. The only false thing in the story is Mayor Worthy’s knowledge of the law. Especially if Worthy thought he could unconstitutionally apply an executive order which he issued after Aamir was naturalized to revoke Aamir’s citizenship. Don’t believe me? Look up the Ex Post Facto clause. Tell you what, I’ll save you a little research. You’ll find it in Article I §§ 9 and 10 of the United States Constitution. Next I’ll save you some time and tell you ex post facto is not a discontinued breakfast cereal but Latin for after the fact.

The Ex Post Facto clause says that neither the federal government (§ 9) nor a state (§ 10) can pass a law that punishes behavior that occurred before the law was passed. So Jersey City can’t revoke someone’s citizenship for not following an executive order that didn’t exist at the time that person became a citizen.

I know the Constitution doesn’t mention executive orders in the Ex Post Facto clause. But in ex post facto analysis there’s no real difference between an executive order and a law, so I don’t think that even the strictest textualist would deny relief on that pretext.

But let’s say that Jersey City could get past the arguments that Mayor Worthy’s executive order violated the Ex Post Facto clause– it can’t, but I have a few more words to go before I hit my word count quota, so I’ll use them up with another hypothetical – it still couldn’t use the executive order to argue that Aamir obtained his citizenship through fraud.

Remember how we proved Aamir didn’t conceal his super powers when he became a citizen, because he didn’t have any super powers when he became a citizen? (Yes, you do. Time may seem to pass more slowly during a pandemic lock down, but five paragraphs wasn’t that long ago.) That argument also negatives Jersey City’s fraud claim.

Fraud requires a specific intent to deceive to gain a benefit. That’s the culpable mental state of the crime. When Aamir was naturalized, he lacked an intent to deceive by concealing his super powers, because he lacked super powers.

Finally, does Mayor Worthy think he’s going to be able to use that fraud argument to expatriate Aamir and then deport him? If so, he’s dumber than a bag of door knobs. And not the good kind, we’re talking the kind that come out in your hand so you can’t open the door.

I refer you back to the Constitution. Specifically Article 1, § 8, clause 4 which gives the United States Congress the power to establish the rules of naturalization. Congress. You know, five hundred thirty-five men and women in Washington D.C. Not one mayor in central New Jersey. Give the mayor of Jersey City immigration authority? Hell, Congress wouldn’t even do that for Snooki.

So what does this mean? It means Jersey City wronged Mr. Khan bigly. We’re talking serious constitutional violations here, not Aamir inconvenience.

Molly Jackson: It’s Toy Time!

Yesterday was the last day of Toy Fair. I spent the past four days running through the Javits Center here in New York City playing with toys, hanging out with companies, and trying to steal a giant Chewbacca. I failed at that last venture… this time.

As always, I attended Toy Fair with my [insertgeekhere] site partner, Andrea. The over-arching theme for this year was Collectibles. It was even named as a major trend for the rest of 2017 by the Toy Industry during their trends briefing. For full disclosure though, I missed that event because I was at an actual collectors event. Collecting has always been a big part of the geek world and it is totally reflected at Toy Fair.

I spent a long time checking out statues and figures that are mainly for display. Quantum Mechanix has been rolling out figures that reach fandoms other companies won’t focus on, like Supernatural. They are also working on a Millennium Falcon that could rival the real deal in detail. I was also blown away yet again by Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective line. With the addition of female characters like Wonder Woman, these figures are some of the best on the market, and one of the few to have real clothing rather than sculpted.

As you might expect, blind boxes are still climbing in popularity for another year. They were everywhere. New companies and the old favorites were all about the blind surprise items. My favorite definitely was the DC Shoebox Collection line at Cryptozoic, sculpted by Shephan Ehl. Super creative and well representative of the women in DC Comics. I am also a big fan of Cryptozoic because they always credit the designer and/or sculptor with all their pieces. I was also a big fan of the upcoming Classic Nickelodeon line from KidRobot. They probably had the best-looking Ren and Stimpy that I have seen in years!

My absolutely favorite items were at the LEGO booth. LEGO Marvel is hitting it out of the park this year. My two greatest loves are things that I haven’t seen before: Agent Coulson in a flying Lola should be a fan-favorite because of how beloved that character is. Plus, I would love to see Clark Gregg playing with it. No one loves Lola like him! And the possibly best thing period is the LEGO Ms. Marvel with the giant arms. I love love love Kamala Khan and to see her added to the LEGO universe is just awesome. March 1st is when I finally get to add them both to my own personal collection.

This is just a small taste of the things that made me squeal with joy throughout the week. Every year, I am just amazed by the ingenuity of the designers and how excited these companies are to make the fans happy. It is going to be a great (and pricey) year for toys!

Mindy Newell: Being Different

wonderwoman

Part I: Wow!

“Two years ago writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Adrian Alphona and I created a story about a young woman with dreams of being ‘normal.’” Her name is Kamala Khan and she’s a Muslim American girl from Jersey City. We comic folks call her Ms. Marvel.” Kamala’s story shows how “being ‘normal’ isn’t one race, one gender, one point of view. Being ‘normal’ is being different. And being different is being American.”

Sana Amanat, Director of Content & Character Development, Marvel Entertainment, Co-Creator of Marvel Comics’ Ms. Marvel • From her introduction of President Obama at the White House Reception for Women’s History Month, March 16, 2016

I just finished reading Martha’s latest column – Wow, girlfriend! You knocked it out of the park! – and, pursuant to that, I clicked on the link in Martha’s column, which for some reason didn’t work for me, so I did some searching and found this.

Watching and listening to President Obama as he spoke to the women gathered at the Women’s History Month reception about women, and their daughters, and their sons, of how we have been, and always will be, part and parcel and participants in this country’s history, its future, and the world’s future, I was struck, yet again, by how absolutely everything about the current occupant of the Oval Office is so absolutely different from the Repugnantican men who want to take over the Presidency.

Just now, as I wrote “take over the Presidency,” I was also struck by what I can only call my Freudian slip; I could have used “inherit the office” or “win the election” or “succeed him as President,” but what automatically came out of me was those two words – take over. Because every time I see Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and, yes, even the so-called “moderate” John Kasich, every time I hear or read their latest statements, that’s exactly how I interpret their words – as a take over of this country. I have more than once lately pulled out my copy of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to read about its financial backing by German corporations; I have pulled out my copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to reread how the United States of America becomes the Republic of Gilead, a country organized into a fanatical, patriarchal, martial, and rigidly “Christian” society in women are either Madonna or whores.

Of course I am sounding extremely paranoid, but I’m not really. The Repugnantican party and its candidates are so obtuse, so parochial, so busy attacking each other about the size of their penises that they don’t realize they’re on the Titanic. Really, I’m not worried. The Repugnanticans are done as a functioning political party in this country.

So I’m sleeping very soundly.

Except…

Before turning to a different subject, here’s a little something from Sana’s visit to Late Night with Seth Meyer.

Part II: Sucker Punched

On a somewhat lighter note – I haven’t seen The Caped Crusader Beats Up on the Last Son of Krypton (and Vice-Versa), and I really don’t want to; well, except for seeing Gal Godot as my favorite Amazon Princess/Warrior and Jeremy Irons as the butler. But I can wait for the movie to hit the streaming sites and cable and for a rainy day when I’m sitting at home bored out of my mind. Editor Mike Gold and I were talking the other night; he was being the “good cop,” waiting to see it before he formed an opinion, and I played “bad cop,” convicting the movie without benefit of trial.

“Having experienced other Zak Snyder films,” I said, “whatever Zak Snyder touches turns to destructive garbage that has nothing to do with storytelling or character development or emotional satisfaction.” And though I didn’t say this to Mike, I’ll tell you: I think Snyder’s fans are a different kind of audience, one with which I definitely don’t want to be identified. Maybe it’s my crazy writer’s mind making crazy connections again, but I think there’s a direct correlation between the audience that loves Snyder’s movies and video games and the rampaging thugs audience that go to Donald Trump stump speeches, i.e., Zak Snyder :: Sucker Punch as Grizzled Ignorant Cracker :: Protestor.

Now that I think of it, what I said to Mike about The Last Son of Krypton Beats The Crap Out Of The Caped Crusader (Or Vice-Versa) was: “It’s gonna suck.”

I told you so, didn’t I?

Have an Oxycontin. You’ll feel better.

Maybe.

Molly Jackson: Loud Voices

/opt/books/Bitch-Planet-4.pdf

I’ve spent the past week or so in a bubble, apparently hiding from the news of the world. Which is why I was startled by the influx of posts yesterday announcing it was International Women’s Day. A day to recognize all the inspirational women in our lives.

It seems odd that I would miss such a day but it is a funny thing to have a single day dedicated to all women from the planet Earth. Women still make up half the planet, and there are similar days on the proverbial calendar. Still, the necessity of such a day is irksome. The year is filled with days where I can laud women from all walks of life.

Being torn on how to move forward with this column, I decided to err on the side of not nitpicking yesterday’s recognition and to try to enjoy the moment.

Truth be told, women have made strides in comics, both in the industry and in the stories. A few decades ago, I doubt Kamala Khan would have made it to the page. Even if she had, I doubt that she would have the same depth that she does now. The same could be said for one of her creators, Sana Amanat, who is an editor at Marvel Comics. But now we have a character that resonates across cultural and gender lines as a role model to the young and old.

The same exact excitement could be applied to Bitch Planet. Could we have had that book years ago? Of course. Would it have received the same praise it receives now? I doubt it.

However, this is still a small percentage of the comics pie.

Female characters still lead fewer books than male characters. Female creators still make up a small portion of the industry. Now, it is a point of conversation and an area of development. Companies are looking for ways to expand as they realize that courting the opposite sex is a growing market. It will continue to be as long as we look towards the future and remind them that we women are still here and will not be ignored.

On this site, we have amazing women who broke barriers in comics for my generation. For starters, Martha Thomases and Mindy Newell both worked in the industry, creating female-driven stories as they worked in a male-dominated industry. Emily Whitten has written for multiple sites about geekdom, something that isn’t easy as a woman. All of them have been an inspiration as well as a source of encouragement.

So, on this random day, I want to thank all the women who made it possible for me to be recognized as a voice to be heard. Everything you’ve done is helping move us to an equal future.

 

Joe Corallo: Nostalgia vs. Reality?

Kamala Khan

This past weekend, myself and some of the other ComicMix columnists went to see Hail, Caesar!, the latest film from the Coen brothers. I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but the general consensus as we all exited the theater was one of enjoyment. Personally, I thought it was one of the better Coen brothers’ films.

That being said, the movie has some possible drawbacks. For those of you that don’t know, Hail, Caesar! is a period piece taking place in Hollywood in the late 1940s revolving around the choices a studio executive has to make. They do a great job with it all, and really suck the audience into the setting. Although the movie is certainly lacking heavily in the diversity department, you might have just given it a pass considering the combination of the time period and the subject matter.

I’d have been more likely to give the movie a pass as well if it weren’t for this interview the Coen brothers gave. In it, they use some poorly selected words to describe what they think about diversity in movies. They claim that writers do not think about diversity as they come up with stories.

Now look, this doesn’t make the Coen brothers bad film makers. It makes them presumptuous to think that other writers in the business don’t consider diversity when writing, and that demonstrates their values are not the same as mine, but that doesn’t mean that they are inherently bad. And they have the excuse this time of doing a period piece, so it’s okay that it’s all white.

Or is it?

Outside of even the #Oscarssowhite controversy, I understand the idea that the executives at the studio, the actors at the studio and many others would be white. Really, I get it. However, nearly everyone we see on screen of consequence or not is white. All of the random celebrities that make an appearance in this film even for a scene or two are white. I don’t want to get into any spoilers, but we do see groups of people that you would imagine would have some more diversity in them. Perhaps not showing that diversity was a commentary the film was making, but if it was that never came across in the film.

This is a multilayered problem. Of course we can point to the Coen brothers both being white, having their own life experiences from that, and drawing from those in their writings. Another problem is one they point out in the interview I linked to above about how it’s not fair to single out a particular movie and question the level of diversity in it. Though they answer this question poorly, they do have a point and that makes this all the more complicated and difficult.

The Coen brothers did not get into film making to preach diversity; they’re making films because they want to tell the stories they want to tell. The problem isn’t exactly with individual movies. Everyone who makes it that far in the business should be able to attempt to make the movies they want to make. The problem comes when most of those people are white, and want to tell stories about other people who are white. It’s a difficult situation to tackle without an easy solution as this is an institutional problem, not an individual problem.

I feel this problem is driven heavily by our obsession with nostalgia. The good old days! The “simpler” times. Hail, Caesar! harkens back to a “simpler” Hollywood with overtones of the complexity of the red scare. The movie still paints a very black and white picture of that time. It keeps it simple. It glosses over the oppression part. Now, going back to my point earlier, this movie should not be held to such a high standard as to accurately depict the complexity of the time period. The problem comes down to that we have too many individual examples of this and not enough examples of movies not in nostalgia’s lens.

Naturally, I started linking this movie I was watching to parallels with the comic book industry.

This is a problem that’s been affecting comic books for a long time as well, and more recently comic book movies. I’ve touched on this before in other columns, particularly this one about Captain America. Since I’ve written that, we’ve seen articles like this one come out about comics that are in danger of being cancelled. It’s interesting to note that five of the ten comics listed star either a woman, black, and/or queer character. On top of that, another one of the ten comics listed is written by Gail Simone, one of the highest profile women in comics, and another of them stars Hercules which caused controversy when it was announced that he would not be depicted as bisexual this time.

Alarms should be going off in your minds right now. The books on the chopping block are disproportionately underrepresented groups in comics, and by a rather large margin. And similar to what the Coen brothers brought up in their interview, it is not the individual creators’ faults. This isn’t an individual problem, it’s an institutional problem. Just like with movies where we have a disproportionate about of famous white actors that are a draw at the box office like George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Scarlett Johansson, and directors like the Coen brothers, comics have a disproportionately high draw with white characters and creators from Batman, Superman, and Wolverine, to Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, and Neal Adams.

It is not the fault of any of the individuals involved that they’re white. It’s not their fault that they’re successful or that they draw an audience. However, decades of entrenchment in the comics medium has created a class of successful white, mostly male creators and white, mostly male creations. Just like with Hollywood, TV, literature, you name. And latching on to nostalgia only keeps the cycle going on and on.

For comics, trying to solve this problem seemed to backfire. Over at DC some months ago, the editors there told their creators to “stop Batgirling” and to go back to the “meat and potatoes.” My initial take away from that was one of disappointment. Watching Hail, Caesar! and reading what the Coen brothers had to say has changed my attitude on this.

I think it’s great that both Marvel and DC have put at least some effort into making their product line more diverse. The Coen brothers are also right to believe they don’t have to consider diversity in the movies they want to make (whether I agree with them or not). And it’s a reminder that many, many people out there really don’t care about diversity and they don’t want to care about it either.

In Hollywood at least, movies like Creed, Straight Outta Compton, and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens are shaking things up and have the positive reviews and profits to back up their success. At Marvel and DC, they’re still in the process of figuring out how to shake things up in an equivalent sort of way. DC’s approach, which was admirable, spread itself too thin. They put too many titles out that were doomed to failure. They were doomed because they were rushing to capture an audience that hasn’t been properly cultivated yet.

It took time before Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, The X-Men, and many others were solid franchises deeply entrenched in our culture. Too many Bat titles or Avengers titles compete with these younger characters and titles and prevent them from having an equal chance, as I discussed the other week with Sam Wilson as Captain America and his almost certain end not long after Steve Rogers comes back.

Perhaps a possible solution is to invest highly in a small number of newer characters, like Kamala Khan at Marvel, build them up, entrench them in our culture to allow them to gain some permanence rather than spread diversity too thin and watch books rise and fall fast. Or maybe the world has changed too much where characters like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man would never be able to be created and become kind of franchise juggernauts in comic that they are today and entrenching a new character like Kamala Khan just wouldn’t work the same.

Nostalgia is a powerful force, and that’s a force that is not only unavailable to help characters like Kamala Khan and characters from other underrepresented groups, it’s a hindrance. Not only to cultivating these new characters, but it’s a hindrance to us and getting us out of our comfort zones.

Is there anything that can really be done about this in the short term? I’m not entirely sure. It’s something for me to think about. Maybe for you too.

Joe Corallo: Allegiance

ms marvel

This past weekend, fellow ComicMix columnist Molly Jackson and I went to see Allegiance on Broadway starring Lea Salonga, Telly Leung and George Takei. Outside of both of us being Star Trek fans (Molly a much bigger Trekkie than I), history and political science is what I studied in college some years ago and the mistreatment of our own citizens during World War II was something I was interested in knowing more about. And something I hoped never to see discussed seriously in our political process during my lifetime.

George TakeiHaving spent his early years in an American internment camp himself, George Takei has been very vocal and passionate about this performance. He has a will and drive to get this story out there, particularly during this political season where echoes of our past sins are arguably louder than ever. The loudest of which is four time bankrupt real estate mogul turned reality star turned politician Donald Trump.

Mr. Takei is so insistent on getting the story about Japanese internment camps out there to people who would once again call for this solution to our troubles overseas that he offers up a seat to Donald Trump every show. Yes, this is a political point. Yes, Donald Trump wouldn’t take George Takei up on this for a multitude of reasons. Yes, it’s free advertising for the show. If you can parse through all the partisan muck here, you do find a point. The point being that we need to evaluate the decisions of the past, the cost of the decisions we made as a country, and see if it’s worth it to do the same thing all over again

Empty ChairOne would hope that if someone did fully understand the gross injustices, human rights violations, and disgusting subhuman treatment that we exposed tens of thousand of our own citizens to for no fault of their own that any reasonable person would not want to push for that decision to be made again.

However, we are seeing people on the right running for president echoing these ideas and people responding to them. We’re also hearing people on the left call for a return to a Democratic party like FDR envisioned while conveniently leaving out not only the internment camps but his efforts to pack to the Supreme Court, the creation of the atomic bomb… just to name a few examples. It’s a bit distressing.

Not to Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, who gave a million dollars to Donald Trump’s Veterans’ fundraiser. Yes, it wasn’t exactly money to Trump’s campaign, but the billionaire presidential candidate isn’t exactly strapped for cash, and if Perlmutter wanted to donate money to Veterans he could have done so much more easily and in a nonpartisan type fashion. He deliberately chose not to do so, and to give money to Trump in a way that made Marvel’s CEO a very public supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

Ike Perlmutter is not a stranger to controversy. He’s infamously made racist and sexist comments in the past that have been well-reported. And backing Trump adds xenophobia to the list. Publicly supporting a man who wants to bar all Muslims from entering the country while Marvel is trying to push and support the first high profile Muslim superhero, Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, is certainly at odds with each other.

Last week I talked about how I try to avoid boycotting. Right now, I’m somewhat conflicted. Writer G. Willow Wilson, who was instrumental in the creation of the Kamala Khan, is a bit conflicted herself on this. It’s a tough thing to think about. On the one hand, your money (though indirectly) is going to a person like Ike Perlmutter who may help elect someone like Donald Trump. On the other hand, we might see books getting cancelled and the comics division get consolidated before it even gets to a point of affecting someone like Perlmutter. Marvel has gone through serious consolidation in the past though, at the hands of Perlmutter, without even the threat of a boycott.

I said “might see books getting cancelled” before because a boycott isn’t necessarily a long term campaign. Look at what happened with Chik-fil-a over funding anti-LGBT campaigns. That was bad PR from them. The whole situation ended up with Chik-fil-a seeing its sales actually go up from the controversy, but did eventually end with them deciding to move away from anti-LGBT causes. It didn’t take too long and the business still thrives.

The same could be true of Marvel. If we don’t stay quiet on this and we yell as loud as the likes of Donald Trump, maybe Marvel will want to make a change or feel compelled to do so. A change like pushing Ike Perlmutter out of the company. Or maybe it’ll even push Marvel to focus more on diversity and new ideas to compensate for people like Ike Perlmutter and the bad press surrounding him.

We need to take a long hard look at ourselves and our world. Is supporting anti-Muslim rhetoric something we are okay with being a part of, no matter how direct? Even if only a penny of my money or our money went towards that, is it okay? Does creating a positive Muslim superhero role model, Kamala Khan, make it better? Will that positive Muslim superhero role model make it better if government officials come and take tens of thousands of Muslims from our communities? What if they only take hundreds? What if they only take dozens? What if only one innocent life was ruined by the support of xenophobic politicians bolstered by the money and public support of one of the biggest and most successful franchises in the history of the world? Will we wave our Ms. Marvel comics at those being lined up and taken away and tell them we tried? What about the fate of the millions of undocumented immigrants that have been threatened to be rounded up and shipped out? Will we wave our Captain America comics and tell them that our nostalgia and fuzzy feelings were more important to us than basic human rights and dignity for all?

And beyond Marvel, what about the other items we purchase, food we eat, energy sources we consume, where does all of that come from? How does it come about? Where does it go? Do we care? Should we care? Could we handle it even if we wanted to?

Either way and no matter what, if enough people speak out Marvel will have to take more responsibility and speak up. If we don’t give them a pass they’ll have to evaluate the decisions of the past, the cost of the decisions they’ve made, and see if it’s worth it to do the same thing all over again. I hope we’ll see that the people involved will have learned from these missteps, but if seeing Allegiance with Donald Trump’s consistently empty seat prevalent this past weekend has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t count on that.

Mindy Newell: Defining Oneself

I have been engrossed for the last week in Infidel, an autobiography that chronicles the life and times of political activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and how she became who and what she is. Ms. Ali will be familiar to those readers of this column, who, like me, strive to never miss an episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. She has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, and just about every news organization around the world – though I don’t know if she has ever been invited onto Al-Jazeera, even here on the U.S. version.

But if not, here’s a short version of Ms. Ali’s biography. Born into a traditional Muslim family in Somalia in 1969, her father was Hirsi Magan Isse, a leader of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front and who was actively involved in the Somalian Revolution against the Siad Barre government. Although Mr. Isse had been educated in the West and had a more “relaxed” view of Islam, while he was in prison for his opposition Ms. Ali’s grandmother, against both parents’ wishes (her mother followed her husband’s views at the time, becoming more rigid as the years went by), arranged for the traditional female genital mutilation of Ms. Ali and her younger sister.

Background: Female genital mutilation is the circumcision of the clitoris and the removal of the inner, or minor, labia; the entire vulva is then sewn shut, and a small hole is lanced into the skin to allow the flow of urine.

After her father’s escape from prison, the family moved three times, first to Saudi Arabia, then to Ethiopia, and finally settling in Nairobi, Kenya. There Ms. Ali attended the Muslim Girls’ Secondary School, which was funded by Saudi Arabia, and where she was inspired by a teacher to adhere to the strict Wahhabism interpretation of Islam that the Saudis practice – which is interesting, because Ms. Ali was, shall I say, not impressed with the practice of Islam she saw as a young girl while living in Mecca. She does speak of the peace she found within the Great Mosque itself.

Turning her back on the more relaxed version of Islam practiced in Somalia and Kenya, Ms. Ali became immersed in the religion, donning the hijab, sympathizing with the Muslim Brotherhood, and agreeing with the fatwa against Salmon Rushdie for his portrayal of the Prophet in his The Satanic Verses.

At the same time, she was reading Nancy Drew stories, romance novels by Danielle Steele and Barbara Cartland, and Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. She also read the great classics of Western literature, including Wuthering Heights, 1984, Huckleberry Finn, and Alan Paton’s Cry, The Beloved Country, the South African writers polemic about racism and apartheid in his country.

So Ms. Hirsi Ali was a study in diametrically opposed forces: the Islamic subjugation and degradation of women, to which she clung for many years, and the Western beliefs of freedom and equality between the sexes. However, when a marriage was arranged for her, she sought and gained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. There she obtained a graduate degree and began to speak out against the Muslim abuse of women. Ms. Hirsi Ali was elected to the Dutch Parliament in 2003, representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy. When her Dutch citizenship was questioned in 2006, she resigned her seat – this action is believed to help lead to the fall of the Dutch administration in 2006.

In 2002 Ayaan Hirsi Ali renounced Islam and all religions, announcing her atheism, and attributing it to her personal “multi-year journey.” Time Magazine named Ayaan Hirsi Ali one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006; she continues to be an advocate for Muslim women, for free speech, and Islam itself. She believes the religion is in desperate need for a “Reformation,” similar to what occurred in the Middle Ages when Martin hung “The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on (according to custom) October 31, 1517. Because of this, Ms. Hirsi Ali lives with continuous death threat hanging over her like the sword of Damocles.

I became aware of Ms. Hirsi Ali when she worked with Danish writer and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, scripting his film, Submission (2004), which criticized the Islamic treatment of women; in one scene an actress, dressed in a see-through burqa, is nude, and the viewer can easily see texts from the Koran (or Qur’an) validating the religion’s subjugation and abuse of women. Outrage ensued among Dutch Muslims, and one young man, Mohammed Bouyeri (allegedly a member of the terrorist Hofstad Group), violently killed Van Gogh, shooting him eight times, slitting his throat, and then attempting to decapitate him. The killer left a letter, a death threat against Ms. Hirsi Ali, pinned to Van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Now, as to comics…

I don’t really know of many Muslims in American comics, at least historically, although I do know of The 99, created by Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, a Columbia Business School graduate, and published by his Kuwait-bashed Teshkeel Comics. They were distributed all over the Middle East, India, and Indonesia, and reprinted here in the States via Marvel. Still, though the beliefs and creeds of Islam forms the basis of the book’s themes, none of the characters were specifically Muslim, and the marketing of the book “promoted universal virtues” such as cooperation, wisdom, and generosity. The 99 themselves were an international group of teenagers and adults who are empowered individually by each of the mystical Noor Stones. By working together and combining their specific gifts, the 99 overcame all problems and foes.

But the comic was not received well in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait because the 99’s “super-powers” were based on the 99 attributes of Allah as described in the Qur’an, The Grand Mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas, said The 99 is a work of the devil that should be condemned and forbidden in respect to Allah’s names and attributes.” On July 2, 2014, ISIS issued death threats and offered rewards for the assassination of Dr. Al-Mutawa.

I read and have copies of the graphic novels Persepolis (2003) and Persepolis 2 (2004), the English translations of the autobiographical work of Marjane Satrapi, an Iranian-born French citizen who is also Muslim. (I also went to see the animated Persepolis with Alixandra in 2007.) It is the story of a rebellious young girl, named Marjane, who comes of age during the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

And now, of course, there is Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Adrian Alphona. Kamala Khan is the Pakistani American teenager who discovers she has shape-shifting abilities and takes the name of “Ms. Marvel” after her hero, Carol Danvers. Ms. Wilson, a convert to Islam, said that while Kamala certainly fights her share of super bad guys, but also…”explores conflicts with Khan’s home and religious duties…[it’s] not evangelism. It was really important for me to portray Kamala as someone who is struggling with her faith.”

Editor Sara Amanat, who conceived the idea along with co-editor Stephen Wacker after a conversation about Sara’s childhood as a Muslim-American, said, “Her brother is extremely conservative, her mom is paranoid that she’s going to touch a boy and get pregnant, and her father wants her to concentrate on her studies and become a doctor.”

Most important, Ms. Amant said:

“As much as Islam is a part of Kamala’s identity, this book isn’t preaching about religion or the Islamic faith in particular. It’s about what happens when you struggle with the labels imposed on you, and how that forms your sense of self. It’s a struggle we’ve all faced in one form or another, and isn’t just particular to Kamala because she’s Muslim. Her religion is just one aspect of the many ways she defines herself.”

This American Jewish woman wholeheartedly agrees.