Sometimes it’s easy to forget that many of the biggest characters today were created well over half a century ago, including Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Black Widow (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are pushing the 100-year mark). Given that so much of our media is dominated by long-established heroes, the achievements of the current Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) in the mere decade since her debut are even more impressive. While she had a brief cameo in 2013’s Captain Marvel #14, Kamala would make an even bigger splash with her first full appearance in Ms. Marvel #1 the following year—released 10 years ago on February 5th, 2014. To say Ms. Marvel #1 was a big deal would be a massive understatement. Pakistani American teenager Kamala was the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel comic—a major win for representation and significant pushback against comic book gatekeepers. Her debut issue was not only a huge commercial success but also appeared on countless “Best of the Year” lists—which included landing in the top spot for Comic Book Resources, beating out Brain K. Vaughan’s masterpiece, Saga. Since then, she’s had several volumes of her own book, appeared in major Marvel crossover events, joined the Avengers, was featured in a video game, gotten her own show on Disney+, and co-starred in the recent MCU film The Marvels along with Captain Marvel and Monica Rambeau (two of Marvel’s other top superheroines). She’s even teamed up with Wolverine, and it’s as amazing as you’d expect. Like I said, she’s done a lot. While Kamala brings some much-need diversity to both Marvel comic books and their cinematic counterpart, what makes her a special and enduring character is, like all the great heroes of Marvel, her relatability and likeability. Like Spider-Man before her, this Ms. Marvel struggles with family, friends, school, and discovering what kind of person she wants to be—all while figuring out life as a superhero. She’s the embodiment of what makes the lasting Marvel characters so lasting. So, in celebration of 10 years of Kamala Khan, be sure to check out these books featuring some of the best women in superhero comics today. Each can be read for free on Hoopla with your library card!
For more great comics, make sure to check out the offerings of your local Library branch as well as the hoopla app