Week 3-Superhero Origin Stories

Whats really interesting is that Ms. Marvel is being praised for being one of the first prominent muslim superhero, nobody seems to notice that even the first Muslim superhero has to be american! Approximately 0.2% of the worlds muslims live in america, but off course she is american. After all, how could superhero’s possibly exist anywhere else than the land of the free and trump?

So while you can argue that Ms. Marvel is “progressive”, it really isn’t. And even more  disappointing is that it comic writers this long to create a major Muslim superhero.

After a while, the american-centric stories get really boring and it shows a profound level of ignorance about the real world by comic book writers that basically every superhero I can name (save for black panther) is from America. (note that I am not a particularly avid comic book reader, I’m sure there are obscure characters not from america. But that’s the point; they are obscure. And if they aren’t, they are fighting for western ideals, with western superhero’s. Their unique background is stated in their backstory and forgotten.)

Note that I am not arguing for token characters. But when there are so many cultures, so many niches, so many people, you can base a story off of, why another american with the same western ideals, same western perspective as the thousands of capes before them?

This also relates to the idea of doing reboots.  Or another origin story for a character that has has already has hundreds of them (cough superman, batman cough).

It’s just so, repetitive. And this is apparently what the readers want to, because apparently new characters don’t sell (source ted-Talk we watched in class). The genre is for me at least, isn’t that interesting. And what a waste that is. It has so much potential-there are so many things you could say about the human condition in a world where <1% of the population can wipe out the other 99%.

But no. We want another superman story.


5 thoughts on “Week 3-Superhero Origin Stories

  1. Hey, I am so glad to see someone else was concerned by how America-centric Superhero comics are! I do think that Ms Marvel was a good starting point to begin shifting to a more diverse perspective however, Marvel need to recognise that not only is their readership diverse but their influence is global and that geographical diversity is important in creating relatable stories not just the characters they present us. I also agree with you that the time it took to create a major Muslim superhero was too long, the rate of change is nowhere near the point it should be in not just Superhero comics but media in general. It is interesting you point out that there probably are Superheroes that are not from such a Westernized perspective, and I wonder what we as readers or the comic world in general can do to provide a bigger platform for them.


  2. I think in arguing your case you actually pointed out the counter-arguement: in America new characters don’t sell. New, female, muslim characters don’t sell. Ms. Marvel is an anomaly to that. I understand your frustration and I think you have some really valid points, but have you considered at looking at different markets? Like non-american ones? I’m sure if you check out manga you’ll find that american centered ideals or characters are more of a minority. That being said, it does seem like the entertainment industry is heavily fixated and invested on repeated what’s been proven to be successful – deviating from that norm is bound to be financially risky – which they don’t seem to want to do.


    1. Its not that I want comics to change to better suit me, because I know that will never happen. I do read some manga’s and they are refreshing when compared to comics-the diversity (story wise, not cultural) in manga’s is far far better than comics.

      It is also why I believe manga’s are starting to become mainstream in the west, but comics have largely stayed very niche.


  3. After reading your blog, I think the idea you bought up is interesting.
    “After a while, the american-centric stories get really boring and it shows a profound level of ignorance about the real world by comic book writers that basically every superhero I can name (save for black panther) is from America.”
    When I was watching superhero comics I will have thoughts on: if there are so many superheroes in America, there would be double the number of monsters in America ( the superheroes can fight lots of monsters at the same time). That would mean America would be destroyed in a week or so. There are so many stores about American superheroes and I think those are interesting, even though I could not name all of them. I like your thoughts and idea on most Superheroes are from American because America is “the land of the free and trump”. I would like the see there are more non-American superheroes helping American defend the world.


  4. I didn’t notice, or even think to notice, that Kamala is, in fact, American until you pointed it out. Right from the first volume, first issue, the comic makes you focus on her Muslim side, and from then on, you just kind of interpret all her problems as ones that arise because she is Muslim. But if you think about it, her problems are the same as any other American superhero’s problems, maybe just with a different standard. Your post made me rethink this comic book.


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