DALLAS, TX – Marvel Comics officially joined the United States presidential election circus on Saturday when it revealed the next edition of its popular comic book “Ms. Marvel,” the only comic book in the U.S. States with a Muslim superheroine. Ms. Marvel, the alter ego of Pakistani-American teenager Kamal Khan from New Jersey, takes a break from fighting the forces of evil and dedicates all her superpowers to bringing out the vote on Tuesday.
In the election edition comic book, Ms. Marvel and a friend go from door to door in her hometown in New Jersey trying to get out the vote. One person slams the door in their face; another says his boss won’t let him and he has to work on Election Day; and an old man with glasses and a scarf, looking a bit like Senator Bernie Sanders, says he is protesting and has not voted since 1972 and tells her he does not intend on voting because “the candidates are all terrible.”
“By not voting, you’re not sending a message – you’re just lumping yourself in with the millions of people who didn’t vote because they don’t know how or don’t care,” she answers the man.
At one point Ms. Marvel collapses because even her superpowers are unable to help her explain time after time the importance of the elections and voting to her neighbors, who don’t know who to vote for, the rules about voting and even whether they are registered to vote.
In the first comic book of the series, we met a young Khan wanting a ham sandwich in the supermarket, but she manages to restrain her desires. When she finds her superpowers, she turns herself into a blond, blue-eyed girl – until her father explains she does not need to hide her real self.
The Ms. Marvel series was launched three years ago is very popular among both readers and critics. It has won a large number of awards, including the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2015, along with a number of Eisner and Harvey awards.
When she is not fighting the bad guys and saving the world, Khan, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants from Karachi, is a typical American teenager. She uses her superpowers – she is a polymorph who can change her shape and lengthen her arms and legs – when she sneaks out of her home late at night, against her strict parents’ strict instructions.
The comics do not reveal who Ms. Marvel is voting for this week, but it is easy to guess she will not be voting for Donald Trump. In January, one of the editors and creators of the series, Sana Amanat, whose childhood experiences as a Muslim in New York after the 9/11 attacks helped shape the series, was asked on the “Late Night with Seth Meyers” show back in January what Ms. Marvel would say to Trump if they met.
“The first thing that she would say is, you’re doing such irreparable damage to young Americans, and minorities everywhere. Words and images are very powerful, and these young kids are actually having a perception of themselves that [is] not true, and that’s so dangerous. And then she’d probably remind him that his grandfather was an immigrant, I believe, and if he had the same type of vitriolic sentiment thrown at him, Trump would not have the opportunities that he would have or the successes that he would have. And then she would probably fly off with the Avengers and save the world from actual bad guys, and prove him wrong about who Muslims really are,” Amanat replied.
The full comic book will only come out after the election, on November 30, but at the end of the story it looks like Khan has succeeded in convincing the masses to come out and vote. In a scene that invokes Eugene Delacroix’s masterpiece “Liberty Leading the People,” commemorating the July Revolution of 1830 in France, the residents of New Jersey can be seen marching and carrying signs behind Khan, as she waves an American flag and calls for everyone to follow her: “To the polls.”