Hey there True Believers and welcome to the first edition of Comic Queens. Here at The Marvel Report we love to praise our favorite Marvel creators in our weekly reviews. In this brand new column we are going to take a different approach that serves as a logical extension to what we do every week. Every entry will be focusing on one female whose work at Marvel is changing comics for the better, and giving her the credit she rightfully deserves.
What better creator to start with than the writer behind the super popular smash hit Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson.
Before we talk about Ms. Wilson’s current work it’s time to take a trip down memory lane. For some of you indie comic fans who have been following Wilson’s work before Ms. Marvel her 24 issue series Air, published by Vertigo Comics from 2008-2010 was a sleeper hit. This is the series that put her on my radar as a writer to watch. Air follows an acrophobic flight attendant as she is thrown into a crazy world of adventure and exploration. Unfortunately the series was canceled after 24 issues but it showed Wilson’s talent for creating unique characters with strong individual voices. A talent which Wilson would seamlessly carry over to her future work with Marvel.
Our entire comic review staff is in love with Wilson’s work on Ms. Marvel. What I personally love about Ms. Marvel is what Kamala’s character represents. Anytime I review an issue of the series here on TMR, or on my YouTube channel the Spider-Man comparisons tend to come up. Why? Well, the main reason is that Spider-Man/Peter Parker embodied relatability, and he captured the voice of his generation when he first debuted. Kamala does the exact same thing for a new generation of comic readers and fans. Not only is she a teenager dealing with all the problems that that comes with on top of being a superhero, she’s also a teenager in a world full of superheroes so naturally Kamala is as big of a fan of these top heroes as we are. Wilson truly caught lightning in a bottle with Kamala. Her indie vibe and character focused writing style arrived at a time where the indie look was a big trend. Wilson clearly used what she learned from her time in the indie scene to truly breathe life into Kamala. Not only is she a relatable character, but for many she sheds light on the underrepresented Islamic culture that a lot of us aren’t familiar with. This series felt refreshing to fans who were tired of mainstream superhero comics taking themselves too seriously, but also to those who find diversity to be a pressing issue in comics today.
Wilson continued to become one of Marvel’s biggest star writers as she took over writing duties on the all female X-Men in 2015. Although this series was not nearly as well received as her work on Ms. Marvel Wilson proved to fans that she was more than capable of handling a large cast of high caliber heroes. She was given a second shot at a high profile team book during the Secret Wars event. With the help of fellow writer Marguerite Bennett the two of them assembled a team of the strongest heroines in the Marvel Universe. This fan favorite team and series would later come to be known as A-Force. A-Force was a hit, so much so that it was one of the select few series that was folded into the new Marvel Universe in the All New All Different line following the conclusion of the original miniseries. Wilson and Bennett departed following issue 4 of A-Force’s second volume, and the series is currently wrapping up under a different creative team.
Some people may not realize that Ms. Marvel was not Wilson’s first attempt at providing a unique insider’s perspective of the Muslim world in comic form. That honor goes to Cairo. Cairo is a graphic novel written by Wilson, with art by M.K. Perker, published by Vertigo Comics on November 7th, 2007. This same creative team would return to Vertigo Comics the following year to produce Wilson’s first ongoing comic book series, the aforementioned Air.
Cairo was set in modern day Egypt and follows six characters as they dive deep into a world of intrigue, political and religious unrest, and just a dash of magic. Wilson clearly used her experiences both living in Cairo during a harsh regime and working as a journalist there as a basis for the story. This graphic novel gives a great indication of Wilson’s path as an activist and a writer. The large cast also demonstrates that she is able to handle balancing several strong character voices and dynamics at once, as proven with her work on titles like X-Men and A-Force. Cairo also displays the tact and care Wilson takes in addressing topics concerning Muslims and what life was like during a time of extreme turmoil within the community.
Religion, racism, prejudice, and bigotry. These are four subjects that Marvel is no stranger to. However religion is one subject that all media and comics in particular have had difficulty tackling, especially when it comes to religions outside of Christianity. This is where Wilson truly leaves her mark as a comic book writer. Wilson converted to Islam while attending Boston University. She has become an ambassador for the Muslim community. Through her work on books like Ms. Marvel and Cairo she brings a feeling of authenticity to her work. Wilson portrays various aspects of the Muslim community in ways that aren’t often seen in today’s pop culture. Thanks to her skills with developing characters readers get a more natural look at what typical life for a Muslim American is like. She often includes religion but never makes it the sole driving force of any plot or character. This skill of balance has earned her respect among fans and critics alike.
Well this wraps up the first edition of Comic Queens here on The Marvel Report. Let us know what you guys thought of this new segment. Are you a fan of G. Willow Wilson? Who are some of your other favorite female writers that you’d like to see featured in a future installment? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter @TheMarvelReport.