I’ve been told that it’s a crime I haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet. I’m waiting for the crowds to die down. I swear I’ll see it this weekend and write about Tony Stark’s problems for Saturday.
You’ll be happy to hear that this post will lack any of my trademark pretension (lies!). Today, all I want to do is introduce you to a pair of very cool heroines from the Marvel Universe. I say “pair” not just because there are two of them, but because they share so many traits, all of which make them exciting characters. They’re women, they kick ass, they display remarkable loyalty and patience, and they’re both hijabi.
Let me clarify. The term hijab (which appears as حجاب in Arabic) is used specifically to refer to the headscarf worn ostensibly for the sake of modesty. The term can be generalized to refer to any form of cover which conforms to a standard of Islamic modesty. These vary by region and degrees of Islamic orthodoxy—there’s a good list here. The term hijabi is used to refer to women who wear one of these kinds of veils.
So, when I introduce Faiza Hussain (Excalibur) and Sooraya Qadir (Dust) to you, you’ll understand that they wear the veil. What I love best about these characters is that their Islam is not incidental or inconsequential to their heroism. They are proud hijabi heroes.
I’m constantly thinking about how geek culture can take the next step and move closer and closer to equality. I think that, as a writer, it’s my job to think of ways I can use my talents to better society. I mean, I’m paid to write. It’s not the hardest thing to do. I should at least do something important with this.
So, I opened a word doc and typed away until late, coming up with new superheroes that would rock the comic world to its core, and I came up with this.
I think we need an autistic superhero.
Marvel’s 2010 crossover storyline Fall of the Hulks, which occurs sort of concurrently with the events of the Siege storyline, details among other things the plot of a cabal of evil, brainy superheroes to kidnap the world’s eight smartest people. The Intelligencia [sic], as they call themselves, arouse the ire of various Hulks in the process, leading to all sorts of hijinks and craziness, as well as the World War Hulk story and its two issue miniseries, Hulked Out Heroes.
Try not to imagine the kind of mindboggling destruction that an entity equal parts Hulk and Deadpool would wreak. Instead, let’s go back and talk about the fact that Marvel has offered up a list of its terrestrial supergeniuses. This is great! I really want to know who the smartest people on Earth-616 are, don’t you? Let’s take a look at who was worth capturing (in no particular order):
In psychology, the study of differences between siblings can sometimes lead to amazing revelations into how disorders affect different people, well, differently. I remember several doctors studying how my Asperger’s affected my younger brother’s mood, and it turned out that, because I got a lot of attention, he felt left out.
After The Avengers came out, many people discussed Captain America’s famous line about God and Thor.
Some people were surprised that Joss Whedon, an atheist, included the line in the movie. Others were either pleasently surprised or dismayed at the inclusion of religion in the Marvel Movie Universe, but the most interesting response, and the one I’m going to address here, is: How can Captain America still be a monotheist when he knows two gods personally? People also pointed out that characters like Iron Man, who is typically written as atheist, would also have issues coming to terms meeting two gods.
In the comics in general, a variety of religions are often included or referenced. In the Marvel universe there are mentions of Christianity, Norse Mythology, Greek mythology, Judaism, Islam, and other forms of Paganism and Wicca. However, despite all these religions being referenced, it is usually the pagan religions that are “proven” when characters actually meet the gods they learned about. For today I will just address religion in the Marvel Universe since each comic book universe deals with religion a little differently.
Content note: spoilers, graphic content
Two weeks ago Wednesday, news came that Robert Morales, Marvel Comics author and entertainment journalist, passed away at the age of 55. Samuel Delany, author of too many science fiction novels to name, broke the news on Facebook:
Robert Morales was one of my closest friends—and had been since he was seventeen years old. He died at his home in Brooklyn this morning, leaving his father and mother. He was fifty-four. We spoke on the phone for many years, at least once a week and often more. I am shattered. His many friends will miss him deeply. He had agreed to be my literary executor, and the idea that he would pre-decease me never entered my head. For me and many others he was an indispensable friend. To say he will be deeply missed is an incredible understatement.
My comment on his passing is not timely. It is a fortnight late and the story of his death has been covered by at least ten other websites. All I can say is that Morales was a creative powerhouse and he, his inspiration, and his passion will be missed.
Morales’ legacy, however, lives on. His work with artist Kyle Baker, Truth: Red, White & Black, is one of Marvel Comics’ most compelling ventures into the subject of race in America. Truth reveals a backstory for the Captain America mythos in which the Super Soldier Serum was tested on black soldiers in secret, resulting in the death and mutilation of all but a few.
Author’s note: I wrote this last night at 4am. My dedication to this blog is a terrifying thing.
So, my darlings, I’ve just arrived home from the midnight screening of Iron Man 3, and I am here to ply you with my thoughts. Let’s see if we can keep this coherent. All in all? This was a hell of a movie, filled with stuff I never saw coming. I’ll be a little more specific after the jump. Spoilers for everything ahead.
Say you, perchance, want to read comic books. But maybe you don’t have the cash to spend on them. If only there were some sort of day where comic books were given away for free? Well, you are in luck, dear reader, because tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day.
I’m doing a lot of Netflix watching right now, and I came to an interesting revelation while watching and researching Gargoyles.