Alumnus signs adventures of Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel
HFC alumnus/award-winning author Saladin Ahmed is currently writing the adventures of two of Marvel Comics' most popular super-heroes: Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel.
These are not the original versions of these characters but their current incarnations. The Spider-Man Ahmed is writing isn't Peter Parker, but Miles Morales, the main character of 2018's Oscar-winning animated blockbuster Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The Ms. Marvel he's writing isn't the Ms. Marvel who became Captain Marvel, the titular character in the blockbuster movie that opened over the weekend with a box office gross of $153 million, but Kamala Khan, Marvel's first prominent Muslim character.
Ahmed will sign The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, the first issue of a new monthly series reintroducing Kamala, and the current issue of Miles Morales: Spider-Man at Green Brain Comics, located at 13936 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, Wednesday, March 13, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
"It’s fantastic to watch Saladin rising to prominence so quickly,” said Green Brain co-owner Dan Merritt, an HFC alumnus.
Ahmed admittedly was "profoundly intimidated" to relaunch Kamala in a new monthly title, taking over from the character's award-winning creators G. Willow Wilson and Sana Amanat. Created in 2013, Kamala has been well-received by fans and critics alike.
“These two women who created this character and wanted to pass her on, which is the tradition of super-heroes – you don’t become a full-fledged comic book super-hero until more than one writer has told your story, which is why we love Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman so much. Part of the reason why we love these characters is so many different people have interpreted them. It’s part of a right of passage. (Willow was writing) Kamala for five years and wanted some fresh energy on the character. I would never have put myself forward for this character, but Willow and Sana came to me and asked me to take over. I couldn’t say no. So here we are. She’s been an intimidating and invigorating character to write," said Ahmed, who has an undergraduate degree in American Culture from the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, his MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College in New York City, and a graduate degree in English from Rutgers University..
In his first story arc on The Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Ahmed wants to familiarize new readers by reintroducing Kamala, her home base in Jersey City, NJ, and her supporting cast. At the same time, he also has to give something to readers who have followed her adventures for the past several years. Kamala has been Ms. Marvel for a few years now as opposed to just learning about her super-powers.
"She’s graduated to bigger powers, bigger problems, and bigger scales in the Marvel tradition," said Ahmed. "It reflects a bigger canvas, tells a wider-screen story… Part of what we’re trying to do is give her much bigger, badder threats to contend with. A lot of what we’ll do is new stuff. She’ll be going to space, for instance, not too long after we start the series. It’ll be a different kind of series thus far.”
New generation of Marvel heroes
According to Ahmed, Miles and Kamala represent the new faces of the next generation of Marvel super-heroes.
“Kamala is rivaled only perhaps by Miles Morales in becoming a massively popular character in a very short amount of time. She is one of the faces of the new generation of Marvel heroes. She’s Marvel’s first and prominent Muslim character, Marvel’s first South Asian character, and she means a lot to a lot of people," he said. “People from all walks of life have really latched on to Kamala. The reason they’ve done so is she’s a prototypical Marvel super-hero – she’s this teenager facing an uphill battle in the world and trying to do what’s right, despite that, with a lot of bombastic, super-hero stuff happening around her with a very human story at the core of it. Regardless if you’re a white teenager from Queens like Peter Parker or you’re a South Asian kid from Jersey City, I think there’s some universality to those stories.”
He also explained the popularity of Miles.
"it’s the very way he’s been able to encapsulate the Spider-Man mantra of power and responsibility and doing it with a very fresh 21st century face and name and style," said Ahmed. "He’s super-appealing to people because of that. He’s always aware of himself as a black guy. Most black people I know are. He sort of escapes that by putting on the mask. I do think the mask is integral to the Spider-Man mythos. What I loved seeing come out of the Spider-Verse movie is this sense that anyone can wear the mask. It’s cheesy but it’s true. I think it’s a great sentiment. It’s great to see entertainment that reflects that now.”
For more information about Ahmed's appearance at Green Brain Comics, call 313-582-9444.