Farewell to Ms. Marvel: An Open Letter from G. Willow Wilson
The co-creator and longtime writer of Kamala Khan says goodbye.
Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel is moving on to her next phase -- along with her most established writer and co-creator G. Willow Wilson. This week, it was announced that Wilson will pass the torch to Saladin Ahmed, who will begin his run on THE MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL next year.
Today, Wilson bids a fond farewell to the shapeshifting hero of Jersey City -- and beyond.
Being part of the genesis of Kamala Khan has been one of the greatest honors of my life. From my puzzlement during that first telephone conversation with Sana in 2012—I was pregnant, frazzled from a long book tour, and in disbelief (You want to launch a new character? In this market?)—to my stunned amazement when the first issue went into its seventh printing, to my glee when Sana handed the first trade paperback to the President of the United States, this journey has been pure joy.
Sana and I initially had very modest expectations for this book. Our goal was to get to ten issues. It was going to be a fun side project—a young adult Muslim Super Hero! At Marvel!—that would have the lifespan of fun side projects. I budgeted a year for it. But by the time the first trade paperback hit the New York Times Graphic Books bestseller list, I realized Kamala was quickly becoming the center of my life.
And that is in no small part thanks to you, the readers. Your enthusiasm has propelled this character to greater and greater heights. Never in my life did I imagine I would walk into my local drugstore and see something I created staring back at me from t-shirts and action figures. Yet it’s the experiences I’ve had meeting readers that have changed me on an elemental level. At signings, at conventions, at classroom visits, we’ve laughed and cried together. I’ve met your kids, seen pictures of your dogs, held your hands while you talked about your most difficult experiences. Kamala is not just what you read on the page or watch on TV—she is this community. And she has made all of us better human beings.
In February, I will have written sixty issues of this book—five years of Kamala’s story. She is now something much bigger than the miniseries Sana and I planned years ago. She will, in all likelihood, outlive us all. I couldn’t be happier about it—and by that same token, it means that my part in Kamala’s adventures must eventually come to an end. Great superheroes stay fresh and relevant because they are the work of many storytellers, all of whom bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the character. Earlier this year, I began to have the persistent feeling that I was in danger of repeating myself every time I sat down to write a new script. It was a sign: time to start planning my exit.
I was delighted when Saladin said yes to taking over writing duties on Ms Marvel. His plans for Kamala are incredibly exciting, and it’s been a lot of fun getting an inside look at where the series is headed under his direction. I was blown away by his work on BLACK BOLT, which gave me the same sense of endless possibility that reading Sandman gave me as a teenager. You’re in for a treat.
I will miss working with the phenomenal roster of artists that has made this series one of the best-looking books on the shelf year after year—Adrian Alphona, whose genius character and environmental designs gave this series its distinct look; Jamie McKelvie, whose design sense is already legendary, for the costume that so quickly became iconic; Takeshi Miyazawa, whose kinetic, gleeful style was impossible not to love; and Nico Leon, who is basically my blood brother at this point, and for whom no action sequence is too weird. The amazing Ian Herring, who has colored EVERY SINGLE ISSUE of this book for five straight years, and whose flawless palette gives the book stylistic continuity no matter who is drawing it. And Joe Caramagna, letterer extraordinaire, who has spent half a decade putting up with my last minute edits when he really shouldn’t have had to. (I love you, Joe. I’m sorry, Joe.)
In a couple of months, I will step down as the writer of Ms Marvel. But I will be a fan for life.