Seher and Kori take a look at Kamala's comic origins and then discuss which of the other existing Muslim heroes in Marvel comics might make the next best choice to translate over to the MCU.
That’s Haram Marvel Comics
Seher: Hello salaam Alaikum, welcome back. We are back with an episode of That's Haram. Kori is here with me as always and we are going to regale you with our opinions about comics, which is nothing new.
Kori: Uh, and specifically, last episode, we talked about the MCU's Ms. Marvel, based on Kamala Khan. So now we're kind of going back to the comics canon, talking a little bit about her, a few other characters that also happen to be Muslim heroes in Marvel.
Kori: And then which one we think might have the best chance of an adaptation that doesn't require extensive, extensive rewrites because of their really problematic comics canon history.
Seher: So, problematic is a, is a good catch all for Yes. Well, okay, let me, let me rewind for a second to say that like most of the comics world that we have accessible from Marvel and DC characters are going through it.
Seher: They, they're essentially living through every soap opera trope, but in a bizarre way. And so, all of the characters are dealing with some stuff, but we're gonna talk about one whose entire backstory is a little bit fascinating, for lack of a better word. And to adapt that I think would be possible and doable.
Seher: But it would require, I think, taking a very specific moment in time or, you know, it would mean that whoever's in charge of that movie or TV show or whatever would just have to be very inventive, which we don't really get to see a lot in comics, which we discussed as well with our last episode, but this is usually Kori's show today, so I'm gonna let her take it..
Kori: I will say there are some that I'm just like, you would have to completely redo the character. They're just that bad, which is one we're gonna touch on. The one that I think they absolutely, unless they just completely rewrite the character should not touch with a 10-foot pole of trying to do that backstory for the MCU.
Kori: But let's start off with Kamala Khan. I had talked about, um, in the last episode, her original comics canon Story context with real world shenanigans. The MCU and Disney did not have the rights to use mutants and or X-Men in any live action show. So, Pre-merger, they decided they were gonna throw all the chips in on trying to make Inhumans happen and Inhumans did not happen.
Kori: So, we had this very colorful ish kind of fail well done in Kamala Khan's MCU story that we both thought was why do we have this? Kind of villainous family in here that came outta nowhere. Uh, only to find out that she is spoilers, turn away. Okay, you had your chance. A mutant. Again, go listen to the previous episode for full thoughts on that. In the comics, however.
Kori: Because this was like 2014 and we are very far away from the merger. They decided she's going to be an inhuman, and the way they have this done in the comics is high key. Problematic. So problematic. So, the inhuman led by Black Bolt Medusa, I'm, I'm not an inhuman fan, I'm just, this pains me to say this anyways.
Kori: They detonate a giant, basically a Terrigen mist. That's what makes regular people who have the inhuman gene manifest their powers. It is detonated globally because the inhuman are fighting with the X-Men and they decide they're just gonna let this rip to bolster their numbers. Well, side effect the Terrigen mist is lethal to mutant, so they also committed planetary genocide against mutant kind.
Kori: Ha. That's your hero folks
Seher: Fine. Totally. Okay. Very acceptable.
Kori: Yes. So that's how Kamala gets her powers. And I'm honestly, that's why in the last episode I was like, you know what? I'm okay with them making her a mutant. That really kind of sidesteps a really, really shitty thing the comics did. However, in the comics, can, they really, they have, are slightly introduced.
Kori: The inhuman, just so at the beginning we kind of get a little explanation of her powers and after that she is slowly peeled away and peeled away and peeled away and has her own team and interacts with mutants more. And you can tell they're really trying to just like sidestep the inhuman thing. a little bit, but that is where she gets her powers in the comics.
Kori: It is this thing that she has genetically. We find out later that her older brother actually also does have those powers too. He just doesn't go use them to do daring do like his little sister does. The comics is all about Kamala being a teenager and Kamala wanting to be a hero and learning that sometimes there's no easy answer and learning that sometimes.
Kori: It's hard and people are not gonna like you even though you didn't even do anything for them, just like you. It's just that's sometimes it sucks and sometimes you have to lie to your family, and this is one of the other things I said I liked about the MCU version of they came outta the gate with her family knowing pretty early on who she was and what she was doing.
Kori: This doesn't happen in canon comics until the world literally ends and it comes back and you find out, like her mom figured it out pretty quickly, and there's a beautiful, beautiful scene where she's just like, If the worst thing you do is sneak out at night to go help those in need, then I thank God for having raised a righteous child.
Seher: Right, right.
Kori: And then post-apocalyptic Giant Marvel event that I'm not even gonna mention because it sucks. We come back and her family knows and we kind of get this nice balance that we don't really see in a lot of other comics about. You have a young person with their family knowing what they're doing and trying to support them.
Kori: And find this happy medium of, yes, our daughter is helping people. Our daughter is doing something righteous, but she's still our daughter and she's going to burn out. She's putting herself in danger,
Kori: So, it's this really lovely threading of how all of that gets balanced. There is an entire arc of just Kamala needing to not be Miss Marvel.
Kori: And her parents are like all right, we'll send you across town. We'll put you in that private school. You can get your own break from it. And they just support her in it. I mean, yes. Her friends are like, she’s gone. Miss Marvel's gone. You have to be Miss Marvel. The entire thing happens. The actual Captain Marvel has to come in, like, what in the world's going on?
Kori: And Kamala kind of realizes, oh, I have people who want to help me in this. I don't have to shoulder this all alone. And it's just, it's this wonderful, and this is what I'm hoping for, the MCU This buildup of like being a hero doesn't have to be one lone person to top the mountain, being a hero is a family endeavor of like maybe one person is going out to do the daring do, but who's there for them when they get home?
Kori: Who helps them unload, who helps them find balance, Who supports them in what they're doing? And that's what I think is really unique. Kamala Khan of the like Kamala's not an island. Yes. She goes off and she has her superhero teams, and she has all that, but her family is constantly a presence. Her friends are constantly a presence.
Kori: It's like Kamala is not a superhero island.
Seher: Where is Ms. Marvel? [I'm sorry.] Well, I was just going to ask, where are the comics now with Ms. Marvel I mean, obviously I know there's been, what is it? Champions and there's been a bunch of other stuff, but I am very behind because I don't have time to read anything anymore.
Seher: So where are the, where are the comics with her now? Like what's happening in her life? Oh, if there's like a just quick, you know, summary. Maybe there's not, that’s totally okay, but I was just wondering.
Kori: Well, she recently had the Miss Marvel Beyond the Limit, and that this is like the most recent one that's with, um, Samira Ahmed, I believe is her name. Yes. Yes. And this, I mean, again, it involves family. She's visiting her cousin in Chicago, stumbles upon a robbery at a physics lab, you know, shenanigans and hijinks ensue that she has to fix then, because it's Kamala and she's still a little bit of a disaster.
Kori: And you know, I mean, it's just these things happen. She's gotta fix them. For some reason, she goes home, and everything's a Bollywood set and she's gotta figure out why everyone's singing.
Kori: How am I supposed
Seher: I too like to just wake up and know that things are a Bollywood set? Um,
Kori: so yeah, that was like a, I think it's on issue four, I think four.
Kori: Five Four. Five. Five. Let's say five. Let's say it's on issue five and I'm right. I think it was a five-issue run. Okay. So that's the most recent one that I really kind of followed. I mean, I do follow a lot of comics and there's been a lot of stuff going on, so I sometimes have to put things to the side and then do weekend long binges to catch up.
Seher: No, that's super valid. That's partly why I asked, because, so, you know, when Kori and I were planning this episode, I said, I know what's going on in the comics in a very broad sense that I've read enough snippets of issues here and there, but I have not read an entire. Comic issue front to back in. I don't even know how many years.
Seher: A lot of years. Like, well, I don't know, I think I read Miss Marvel's like first issue when it first came out, but I don't know when that was. So, however many years that's been um, so it's always interesting to read about comics and kind of. Taken a lot of things via osmosis because there's just so many issues and so many runs, and it's all really cool and wonderful, and my brain just goes, too much information.
Seher: Just going to read the Wikipedia and stay caught up that way. But then the problem is Wikipedia isn't always a hundred percent, you know, line by line, summarizing anything so that I will miss certain things and I'm like, oh, I didn't know that.
Kori: Well, and the other issue is Kamala is a character that has become so popular that she's in multiple right pieces. So, it's not just like, oh, she's got a story, her own solo book. It's like she's in team issues and like that stuff adds up after a while and it can get expensive and I am not made of money, so I follow what.
Seher: Yeah, for sure. Um, I mean, I've been on this unlimited, uh, Kindle unlimited binge because I got like the free deal, but once that's done, I'm not reading anymore books unless they come from my library. Yeah. # PhD student life.
Seher: Well, I know I have, it just came out on paperback, I think this week actually. Was it Miss Marvel Generations with g Willow Wilson back and oh, who's the, E l. Ewing. No. Eve. Eve. Eve. Ewings, Ewing. Sorry. Please don't hurt me. People when we're listening to this, um,
Seher: It's okay. There's a lot of names and you got it right at the end of the day. Yes. Um,
Kori: so yeah, like there's just, there's a lot with Kamala out there. Like there's her limited runs, there's champions, there's stuff she shows up in, in other places. It's just. If you want to read Kamala, she's a popular enough character and she's in enough stuff that it's not going to be hard to find content.
Kori: Yeah. But I also think, and I am not surprised that they decided, oh, we should absolutely put her into the MCU. Not just because you've got the Captain Marvel link, but also because Right. Her origin story is very screen friendly. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. and. As far as unproblematic characters go, Kamala Khan is probably near the top of that hill.
Kori: She was conceived by and written by Muslim women. Um, she came about and was drawn by people who were not still clinging to the cheesecake era of comics. She has very accessible background. There's. not a trauma conga line going on there. It's just she's a very accessible, easy to root for teenage superhero, but she's not the only Muslim Marvel superhero.
Kori: So, I got to thinking, you know, who else could possibly come see a MCU? Feature, maybe not their own film, but we could maybe see them in something. Mm-hmm. and then who, I think that they, uh, shouldn't try to touch with the 10-foot pole unless they just wanna completely redo their background. And at that point, what, what are we doing?
Kori: Why are we just not making a new character? You know, two
Seher: Part of the issue, I think is comics broadly. Hold on. How do I say this? So, the TV shows, in the movies, there's been multiple years and years of discussion of things like, why are the comics movies so dark? Why are things not accessible to the viewers?
Seher: Why do I have to watch all 73 movies in the MCU to know what's going on? And every time, we have a big adventurous group up. So, there's that side of it. And then I also think there's a side of it. Comics are really ridiculous, and they don't really follow any sense of logic. And every time I turn around and ask a friend to explain what's going on, it's just the conspiracy gifs, right?
Seher: All of the people with the conspiracy wall. So I think in some ways you can take characters who have a long laundry list, as you just said, the conga line, which is hilarious and terrible of things in their backgrounds, and not necessarily have to show them on screen while still giving the essence of this character has definitely seen it or been through it, and just let it be a showcase for that character's experiences like had the Constantine show.
Seher: That was originally planned, continued, or if, I don't know if there's a Zatanna show, I mean, I know we're talking about Marvel, but they just came to mind cause of HBO Max and everything going on with WB. If those shows were still going to happen, there's a lot of stuff in their backs, stories that are pretty whack, and so how do you do that in origin story or if it's just picking up in the middle of their life.
Seher: I also, you made a point earlier that I wanted to go back to about accessibility and her being a teenage character. The MCU at this point, now, at least on Disney, we've kind of got like a full spectrum of like young characters, older characters, characters kind of, you know, figuring out. But like she helped, like she's doing her job, right?
Seher: So, we've got that whole perspective. And then we've got characters who are kind of. Not necessarily, I wouldn't, I wouldn't say like super old or anything, but there's enough of a spectrum now that we've kind of seen their approach to each life stage, if you will, except for elderly. And I don't really, I mean, I guess, I don't know.
Seher: They could do another show of like Magneto or Xavier. They're pretty old in my head. I don't know how old they are. This is how bad I know I am about comics, right? I don't know how old anybody is in my head. They're all like grown or like children. So, you know, I think in that context, there's a way to tell these stories.
Seher: But what happens is then you get the people who are online and really, really, really, really into the knowledge of the comics. So, know everything, who get really mad if one detail gets dropped. And I think that's where, for the people in charge of these shows, in movies, the balance between, we want this to be accessible to the entire audience because we're making money or want to make money.
Seher: And we want to have enough Easter eggs for the folks who are really passionate to feel excited about, oh, I recognize this, you know, picture, I recognize that logo. Or, oh my gosh, this is connected to that one thing over there, which I think is really interesting when you think about comics, because they're so broad and there's so much happening in them trying to tell, you know, there's, there's so many books and, um, what's the word?
Seher: Anthologies, right, just to talk about like what's happening in the history of a specific character. So then trying to tell that story I think is very interesting.
Kori: So, I'm not saying it can't be done. Obviously Black Panther with Nakia and M’Baku, their original comics characters stories were, you know, high, high key, problematic, and they just kind of organically rewrote them to fit them in, but they also weren't the titular character.
Kori: So, I mean, there is room to move in. Like if you're not gonna make the me particular character, then yes, you could reintroduce them and do it that way, but, before we got off on a tangent, I made a small list and I'm gonna go down this list. I'm gonna tell you what is gonna be the Whoopsies area, and if I think.
Kori: They should try it. And then I'm gonna list the one character I think needs to be given her own series now and can just punt Dane Whitman into booty and do her own thing. Those of you who are circumstance know immediately when I said Dane Whitman, you know immediately who I'm talking about, but I'm gonna save it for the end.
Kori: So, without further ado, here's my list. And this one I'm gonna start off with, I haven't even told Seher about, So,
Kori: oh gosh, Fear.
Kori: Josiah X.
Kori: So, Josiah X, uh, is a black character, The costume looks like it's completely riffed off of Captain America. He was the son of Isaiah Bradley. And if you did watch, uh, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, you would've seen Isaiah Bradley was the result of the US Army's desire to make more Captain Americas.
Kori: And then of course, they like the Tuskegee. Experiments experimented on black men. So, this however, focuses on his son Josiah. And Josiah lived as a mercenary and just killed a boatload of people cuz he liked the money and then he reverted to Islam became a hero
Kori: that is, A little loaded and all of a sudden, I think if you didn't pick up before, there's a reason he goes by Josiah X. Um, I think it could be done. I think it could possibly done be done compellingly. I don't see him coming to the MCU because the MCU is still predominantly white, and they've already introduced Isaiah Bradley.
Kori: Another familial character for him. I don't see that they would particularly want to give more space to another black character because white people are still gonna be racist. Anyways, moving on. I think it could be compelling, and I think it could be a compelling story because you so often see. Media that, oh, Islam is the religion of terror and violence.
Kori: This is story that directly counteracts and pushes back against that. I think it, that could be compelling. I just, they're already doing Black Panther. I just don't see that the MCU is going to think that they need to have this character in there.
Seher: Yeah. And I could see if, if, you know, they show more of Isaiah's story, like I could see like a random, like flash forward or an Easter Egg.
Seher: Again, I think there's a lot of room for a lot of characters to be hinted at but it's so hard to know because I think that part of the issue is that we have, you know, the public, here are the phases, here's what's coming up in the next few years, and then with the pandemic. All of our conversations now are within that context, but especially with media making all of the plans that they had any, not just, not just MCU, but any studio had for movies or shows or what have you, have been really altered.
Seher: And so what could have been a plan for, say, by 2030, we're going to have all of these characters who've shown up are gonna do the massive I assume that they're planning on some level of X-men, um, Marvel superhero crossover shenanigans because Fantastic Four has been brought up a billion, million times, et cetera, et cetera.
Seher: But then now, you know, with, for example, Blade is currently on pause because the director left, so now they find a new director. And I do, you know, I don't trust Kevin as far as I can throw him. And because I still have not gone strong enough to throw a man that is not very far, however, I do appreciate that they paused instead of just continuing pre-production and then being like, never mind, this movie's never going to happen.
Seher: And I hope that they're able to find the proper director that will be the right fit for this film and let delayed happen because Mahershala Ali is Muslim, so that will mean Blade in some capacity if they decide to play it that way could also be Muslim. So would be really cool for obvious reasons. And that'll be a, you know, another podcast episode for another year.
Seher: But because of that, it's really interesting to think about you know, I remember reading, so Ms. Marvel, obviously we talked about this last month, there was a lot of things that they planned that they had to get rid of. But even with Winter Soldier and the follow up with the show with Bucky and Sam, and then because of that with Isaiah now, I feel like there's just, there's room for these characters to definitely show up in some capacity.
Seher: It's just going to be either not at all, like Kori and I wanted to be, or it's gonna be super unexpected. We're gonna be going. Okay. I guess they can see where that came from. And so, it's really hard to really know without more public information, what's going on in their heads. And I think partly too, with the way that mc has grown and the way that it's pretty much, you know, taken over the box office, whether they do a TV show or they do more movies, I, I could see them, especially now with what's been going on with the streaming universe, decided to pivot even more TV shows and then do another, you know, six episode of this, or four episode of that, or like the, um, film that just came out, oh gosh, what's it called?
Seher: The one with the werewolf.
Kori: Yeah, I know what you're talking about. I'm want say werewolf tonight, but I know that's not what it is.
Seher: All right. Google time. Uh, I just know that it's short and I thought that it was Werewolf by night. There we go.
Kori: I was close.
Kori: Yeah, so I had thought that that was gonna be a TV show, but it ended up just being like a fun special, and everyone that I know that has seen it actually really enjoyed it.
Seher: And so, like that could be a perfect way to do these stories where if they're not going to invest the time and the effort and the money into the six-episode, eight episodes, whatever, which is fine. Like I'd rather have one hour long or two hour long, really solid piece than six episodes of nonsense, obviously, that I think could be a really cool way to do that.
Seher: I mean, honestly, I think in some ways, and this might end up going back to what you were going to say since I interrupted, um, Is that with characters like Josiah X or just other characters who maybe aren't going to get a whole TV show, it'd be really cool to get more anthology pieces. Like What If? And I could see more characters showing up that way.
Seher: And with animation, it allows for a lot more room for really interesting approaches to telling the story, if that makes sense.
Kori: Yeah, and I think, again, Josiah X is a lot easier to adapt than the next two I'm gonna talk about. Um, Again, it's just the issue of, I don't know that Marvel necessarily would want to invest him.
Kori: So, if we do see him, I see it being like Seher says, like maybe an anthology. What if, um, I do wanna move along though, because our next one, an our one after that, we are gonna be talking about a little bit. Uh, number two, moving down the scale less likely this a, it's a mutant. So, we still have to see how the MCU is going to incorporate the X-men and all that.
Kori: Also, I'm talking about dust or Sooraya Qadir um, here's where we start getting into the, I can tell somebody came up with this character thinking they were really saying something and not realizing the egregious stereotypes they were writing because she was born in Afghanistan and her entire backstory is, I was kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child.
Seher: Well, you know, when you've got two white people writing it, there's always an adventure.
Kori: And then she's rescued by Wolverine of all people and eventually, you know, finds a way to the X-Men. She's um, they do a better job later about discussing why she chooses to dress the way she does by wearing full, um,
Kori: yeah, niqab. I think later in the comics when more, we'll say enlightened people begin to write her. It is, you know, and she talks about why she chooses to wear the niqab, and she's just like, no, I, I choose to wear this. It's not because I don't feel safe, it's because I want to. And they even show there's a period of.
Kori: The X-men are fighting and she gets hit, I think it was like a stray beam or something, and it just completely blows off part of her niqab and her teammates, literally one of them leaves the fight to take her back so she can cover herself and not be exposed because they respect her that much at this point because when she first got there, it was very much.
Kori: This kind of weird, exotic, other trope that we've talked about on here before, and I think she's evolved better as a character. I think they could use her; I would hope that they leave out the, uh, initial origin story. I do think there are some real-world developments that they may be a little more.
Kori: Hesitant, [careful about?] Yes. or hesitant to try to wade into? I think as better writers have utilized her, she's become a much more well-rounded character and not this Muslim stereotypical nonsense that she started out as. Also, colorers, artists. Anybody who's working on her. Just because she wears a kneecap does not mean that you can skimp on some time and just make her white on the little bits of skin that show.
Kori: That's not how this works. All right. I'm sorry. We're fine. It's fine. It's not fine actually. No. Stop doing that. Anyways. Seher?
Seher: Right. I was just gonna let you keep, Yeah, I mean, I don't know what else to say. I think part of the issue with comics broadly as well is that there's a bazillion quintillion people involved.
Seher: And not only in like character sense, like there are a thousand bazillion characters, but there's also a lot of people in charge. And as we have talked about, maybe we haven't talked about this, this podcast, but as our writers have spoken in general with regards to comics, there's a lot of issues when different people are taking the charge.
Seher: There's just a constant shift between. Able to do what? And so, there's not a lot of continuity between the depictions of certain characters, which I think is a larger issue when it comes to just drawing people of color broadly. The shading never matches throughout the different stories. And I understand that some of it has to do with printers before any of you.
Seher: Not that we have people like that who listen to us, but if any of you're gonna be like, Seher. The printers, no, forget the printers. When you're putting in digitally and when you're putting together the pieces and making the coloring happen, there's no reason that Sooraya, who she who looks one way at her very.
Seher: Start of her like existence in the comics, looking like a white woman with blue eyes, not the people who are South Asian or Middle Eastern, central Asian, or et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, with blue eyes. But she doesn't have that. So that's ridiculous. And then I think the other thing too, when it comes to having Muslim characters or characters of any background, and then especially in the US context, there is this temptation to make.
Seher: We saw this with Kamala, where, you know, for the writers, they're balancing, this is a story that we feel very passionate about because we are also Muslim and or South Asian or connected in some way to this background. And so, we have to be thoughtful about how we write this character because now they are going to be held up as the representation of all Muslims, which is garbage.
Seher: And we've talked about before, remember all of my episodes regarding The Bold Type. Not gonna get into that today. We don't have time. But then what happens is you can't just have characters. So, we can't just have Josiah X or Sooraya just hanging out, which is really frustrating because it would be really cool to just get to see them.
Seher: And I mean, Sooraya has been in, uh, one of the animated movies before with Wolverine, and so that was pretty cool. From my recollection. This was forever ago. It was not a terrible depiction of her, but I think we just need to have more characters shown in the different mediums. And so, it doesn't become the situation of well, we've only seen xx.
Seher: Like, so we've only seen Sooraya in the comics in that one movie, if that makes sense. So, I think the more that we see them, whether or not it's live action, it allows more and more characters to be introduced to the part of the audience that does not watch these movies other than because they like to see people.
Seher: Beating each other up or like explosions, which is fine. I'm not opposed to that. I also like people beating each other up and looking at explosions. But what I mean is that there's going to be people in the audience who have zero understanding of who these characters are beyond what they're seeing on the TV or the movie.
Seher: So, by allowing characters to just exist in the universe, like in the background, it allows way more of an understanding of, oh, hey, there are all of these characters that exist, whether they're Muslim or not, and. I'm really interested to see what happens with the Spider Verse sequel because there's been hints at a lot of different, like cameos and little Easter eggs of different characters and so I'm interested to see who we will end up getting in that film as well.
Seher: Or I guess both films cause it's two parts, so there's Room and I think can talk about her. And in fact, you know, if an Afghan writer, especially a Pashtun Afghan writer, uh, doing her adaptation until live action, then you could have a really significant story. Mm-hmm. being told about what's happening currently.
Seher: And for those of you who are like, what are they talking about? For example, you could very easily have a story where she comes and helps Afghan refugees who have been brought to the US because of the emergency evacuation that occurred however many months ago. I am so bad at time right now. No one asked me when, what I ate yesterday, but that would be a perfect story.
Seher: And in fact, you know, CBS had that TV show. Um, United States of Al, which got canceled and that was a whole separate thing because the actor wasn't even Afghan. But that would be a perfect story that could be told of, Okay, so what happens when refugees are being supported by one of their own? Right? What happens when the X-Men are brought in?
Seher: Because the X-Men have their own refugee plot as well for a lot of other. Pieces of their, oh well I say the X-Men, but just there are X-Men who have been refugees is what I meant to say there. That's a really easy story to adapt very quickly and you know her talking to women who have come here because a lot of the refugees that are Afghan who have arrived here, a lot of the men are on special immigrant visas because they interpreted or.
Seher: Otherwise help the US um, Army and other government officials in Afghanistan. And so that's a perfect story where it's like, okay, well Sooraya has powers. She's hanging out with the women who don't speak any English, that might not even speak the language their husband speaks because people were just getting their children married so that they would have stability.
Seher: Now I'm going into my research world. But the point is that there's a lot of ways to adapt it if they do it right. It just has to be the right people in charge. And I think something that we've said multiple times across all of our episodes about all the media that we consume is a lot of shows, books, comics, whatever you wanna call it, have really interesting kernels, but then they don't get popped into.
Seher: I don't know where this analogy is going. Like, good popcorn, they just get turned into like sad, burnt pieces at the bottom of the bag because the folks who are in charge either aren't allowed to do what they want, or they just were not the right people to pop the popcorn in the first place. Mm-hmm. So that would be my strategy. Kori, you may take it from there, I guess.
Kori: Um, also how she was drawn initially, like yes, they had the full niqab on her, but. Clinging to her curves, voluptuously. They've gotten better about that, but that leads me into my gripe with the next character as well of Monet St. Croix, which I'm not gonna go into her full background because it is just absolutely fucked up.
Kori: Pardon my language. I will put a link in the show notes so you can read about it. It has all the trigger warning. Like all the trigger warnings. I do not see how you could possibly bring that to the MCU and have it stand. So, she is one. They would have to do some significant retooling too, and maybe probably be like an anthology character that shows up.
Kori: But my big gripe is how they also initially drew Monet St. Croix. And this is not Seher and I saying all Muslim women must always dressed super modestly and never show skin. Wear what you wanna wear. You know, it goes more to especially the X-Men. For some reason, the artists on the X-Men seem to cling.
Seher: To misogyny!
Seher: Well, okay, we're gonna get to that. All of the artists, especially on the X-Men clinging, for some reason, they've only started to let go of that to that cheesecake style of drawing women way longer than most of the other artists I've seen that for whatever reason, mutants in comic world must be drawn bombastically.
Seher: And overtly exoticized if it's a woman of color to boot. So, you have these iterations of when they Saint Croix with the cleavage window with her boobs about to fly out of her top and smacker in the face with her ass out
Seher: Can I just talk for two seconds. Can we just talk for two seconds of how much money the industries for sports bras must make when it comes to the comics universes because like the sheer amount of just property damage that occurs and clothing damage that occurs and the sheer, like, does, does Lizzo exist in the comic universe and does Yitty exist? Cuz if Yitty exists, then Monet St. Croix boobs are just fine.
Seher: But if it doesn't exist and they don't have that like. I feel for all of them because their boobs are just whacking them in the face. It's very much like the, this is terrible. I'm not laughing cuz I think it's funny, I, I'm laughing because it's just so unbelievable. But those jifs from, or gifs for those of me who pronounce it that way of anime women where, oh my gosh, I kind of wanna add it into the show notes, but also not because no one needs to see this.
Seher: There's a gif that goes around when this conversation comes up, just the way women are drawn and, and animated where like a bullet is coming from the bad guy and the woman's okay. The woman's breast independently of each other moves. So, the bullet can like pass through, which is one literally physically impossible, right?
Seher: But then two, putting aside the fact that everything in anime is physically impossible, the dedication in the context of we are going to now animate this, I think really speaks to the types of media that we have all been steeped in. And so, when you have characters like Monet or, and I think actually this is a really good example.
Seher: You've Emma Frost, who is known for her very revealing clothing and the way that she carries herself and the way that writers, you know, depict her. I think there's this idea of like well, I don't think I know that there's this idea that if you are scantily clad, then you are thus somehow empowered.
Seher: But the problem is the majority of the artists who've been writing these, I mean, sorry, the majority of the writers who've been writing these stories, and the majority of the artists who've been drawing these characters are predominantly cis white men. And so, you have this issue where even as characters are slowly drawn in a less cheese cakey way, then you have pushback from the people who are unfortunately annoying and problematic, who are like, no, like you should still draw her that way.
Seher: And Monet St. Croix is a perfect example also of the skin color issue where, when Kori and I were plotting this episode, there are so many pictures of Monet where she looks like five different people, and it's just really, really screwed up because you have this issue with a lot of people of color, but then also Monet St. Croix specifically, and I wanted to point this out.
Seher: You know, Sooraya is Afghan, Josiah is black, but then the issue is Sooraya I mean, sorry. My brain is all over the place. The issue with Monet is that she is French Algerian and canonically. And also in the fandom, like there's a huge debate about like, is she identified as also as a black woman? And she shows up in a lot of websites that are dedicated for black comic characters.
Seher: So, I'm gonna say an answer. It's yes. And so that's the case. Then you are having a, like it's four or five layers of haram at this point when it comes to the whitewashing that's occurring. And then also what that means for sexualizing a woman. With what she wears. And again, as Kori mentioned, I, there are Muslims who dress all types of ways and that's not the issue here.
Seher: And there are women of all backgrounds who try dress all types of ways, and that's not the issue. The issue is if the only depictions of those characters, or at least the popular depictions of those characters identify all x wom X men, women. The woman in the X-Men, whatever. You get my point. As this, you know, very specific pin-up cheesecake style.
Seher: Then we have a lot of issues because then the woman doesn’t get to exist as real woman. And I mean, look, we are all fully aware of all of those pictures that go around of a certain artist who I'm not gonna name, whose art is terrible and is very over the top and has been, you know, traced and blah, blah, blah.
Seher: But like that is then what becomes the norm for these comics women, which is really garbage. So, then you add that to the fact that her story and background is chaos, and like I said, every soap opera trope in the most ridiculous way. Then you don't really get to have a character who is able to stand on her own feet in the context of being a character that just exists.
Seher: It becomes this very specific context for, we have this French Algerian woman and she's had to deal with all of this awfulness because also comics writers just love abusing their woman, which is a separate episode for another day. And then what happens when you try to bring that. Excuse me, live action or animation.
Seher: And in some ways, you know, this goes back to again what I said earlier. You can take characters like this and do whatever you want with them and not have to get into the backstory if they're just existing. But that requires those shows, or animated movies or animated series to become more anthology style or just to dive right in.
Seher: But generally speaking, the way that comics media is written, it's very origin story. It's very, you know, we're gonna pick up with this person finding out that they have powers, or you know, a little bit after. And it's not until we get our big, you know, everybody's coming together, Avengers assemble type movies, where it's just them dealing with whatever the issue is of the day.
Seher: So, then you don't really get to breathe with the characters, and you know, that could be an episode as well in the context of how all of our TV characters are treated these days because of how quick things have to be produced. But I think there's room for certain characters to exist without it being, without having to then show the comics canon.
Seher: We don't need to show all of the comics canon. We can just let them live their lives and just watch them live their lives because that's what we originally wanted to do. I just think with her, I agree with Kori, there's just a lot of pieces that just don't really need to do again, and they could just reset.
Kori: Um, okay, so let's end this episode on a high note. The character I think you could most easily, and I desperately also want to see in the MCU if you aren't a comics person and the Dane Whitman name drop didn't give you a clue. I'm talking about Dr. Faiza Hussein. She goes right now by the code name Excalibur.
Kori: I'll get into why in just a minute. She is a Pakistani British Muslim lives in Chelmsford, in Essex. Uh, she's a London based Muslim doctor. She was created by Paul Cornell. However, when Paul Cornell, uh, you may know that name, uh, he also worked on Dr. Who. Cornell when he envisions this character, he immediately realized, this cannot just be my input.
Kori: So, he went out and he developed the character with a panel of Muslim women. So, she is very much the, you could almost say proto-Kamala, she wasn't quite written and developed by a Muslim person, but she was developed with the input. Muslim persons and she is very much, uh, it was Paul Cornell is just like, I don't want her to be the pillar for the entire British Muslim community.
Kori: I think superheroes are too prone to being standard bearers for whole communities. I want her to be her own person. And he really tried to veer away from, you know, the stereotypes, the cliches associated with Muslim characters. Like, yeah, she, she does wear hijab, but she is just, oh my, I love her so much. So, she actually, she does have her own set of powers.
Kori: Uh, back during the Skrull invasion. She was very much a superhero fanatic, much like somebody else that currently has their own MCU show, and in the comics, she got her powers during the Skrull invasion of Earth. Um, she was trying to help the wounded in London, and she got basically hit by a Skrull beam laser thing, and it gave her this really incredible power to control matter at a sub subatomic level.
Kori: They refer to it as genetic manipulation, but it allows her to. In a sort of body horror way. She can dissect somebody alive if she wants, but the way she does that is she uses it to heal people because she's also a doctor and she can now sense and control all of this and can go in, move whatever she needs to out of the way to heal that person.
Kori: And her immediate, like even as she got her power, she was running into danger to help people who needed help. Right. Um, you know, she's a massive cricket fan that that's an ongoing joke with her right now. She's currently in MI 13. Uh, she's a close friend of Dane Whitman, who I think is a sad sack and I really don't ever need to need read about him again in my life.
Kori: But, you know, whatever. She was also the one who happened to solve his issues that was eventually going to kill him. Funny enough, it was her that, Anyways, that's neither here nor there, but now she's
Seher: Oh my gosh, so many things are happening in this episode.
Kori: Yeah. This is me being crank. I'm just being salty.
Kori: I. She wasted so much on being Whitman. Anyways, she's now with MI13 with Captain Briton, and she goes by the co code name of Excalibur because she was worthy enough to wield Excalibur. That's that's actually does exist in the Marvel universe and Dr. Faiza is worthy to bear this. [Badass.] so to me, I know they've talked about like they do want to introduce Captain Briton and his team.
Kori: I think it would be very easy to slot her. [I totally miss that.] Huh?
Seher: I totally miss it. That they were planning to do that or that there had been talk about that.
Kori: Yeah, they, they want to, It's in discussion. It's just a matter of like, we got find room for it. I think she would. Make all the sense in the world to slot her in as a founding member.
Kori: I think she makes all the sense in the world to slot her in as a founding member. And we do have secret invasion coming up. It could, they could easily, easily seed it by, we see this random doctor lady trying to run and help people in London and getting hit by a beam. And all of a sudden, you know, at the very end of it, we see her wake up or something.
Kori: Very, very quick, easy way to introduce her, but I just love, I love, I love, I love that she gets to wield Excalibur and the, this is not like alien sword Excalibur, like this is the legendary sword of King Arthur. You have to be worthy to wield it. Excalibur [# Camelot.] like Arthur [wielded it, the black nu whatever cap.
Kori: I mean, Captain Britain wielded this thing and now it is, he drove it into rock on the London Bridge. And who pulls it out, literally pulls it out, is Faiza [amazing technology]. Her, her personality, (laughs) stop. Her personality is just, she's so funny and she can sometimes have a dry sense of humor, but she is just so empathetic and so, caring and she is such an antithesis of some of the awful crap you see on media of Muslim caricatures.
Kori: She is like this direct antithesis to all of it. And I love her, and I think she would, I mean, I, I genuinely, not just because I love her as a character, but I genuinely think it would be very easy. To just introduce her when you're doing Captain Briton, especially if you're going through
Seher: Oh, for sure.
Seher: Let him have his own group.
Seher: Um, well, I'm trying to stop myself because I have like five pages of notes on Dr. Hussain, and we don't have enough time on the show for me to get through all of it. Maybe
Seher: you should. I don't know. You could do like a quick little article. No, I'm joking. Kori doesn't need to write any articles. Kori is very busy editing all of our podcasts.
Seher: However, I would love to learn more, but you are correct that we could go for another 5 million years. I think what I would say is this episode is I think one of our most surprisingly mellow episodes. Partially because Kori was the one leading it, not me. And so, when I lead, I am very intense about everything, as you all know.
Seher: And you are
Kori: I'm cranky, I'm just cranky, and I mutter under my breath about people I don't like.
Seher: No, that's totally understandable. Very onto of you, what I was going to say is that I think in the context of what is going on with our media and comics, there's a lot of room for a lot of diversity, and I don't mean this in a, we should just have diversity for diversity's sake, and I've never been that kind of person and you, if those of you who have read my articles or listened to any of our other episodes, we really regularly talk about how representation is the bare minimum here and it's not.
Seher: Revolutionary, but I just want to see more diversity in the stories that are being told. I have yet to watch She Hulk. I don't know if I'm going to, cause I'm not really into comedy watching as many of you know, but I really appreciate that it's just like a slice of life. She's going to work. I think that there just needs to be more episodes and content and books, whatever, everything of our characters.
Seher: In the superhero world, just kind of living. Like, yes. It's fun to see them beat the crap out of bad guys and there's that epic moment of where they win and it's like, oh my gosh, they did it. But also, More Shawarma dinners or whatever happens to that one movie that I actually haven't seen be, I just know that from osmosis, like, like more just fun, more people just talking to one another.
Seher: Yes. Is Dr. Faiza or Sooraya or even Monet or whoever and Josiah that kind of rhymed in a roundabout way can have their moments of taking on the bad guys and dealing with the larger issues of the universe. But also, they can just, they can just exist as Muslim characters. And I would say that for any, you know, again, fill in the blank, identifying part of their character making them different than cis white man here
Kori: existing without overly stereotyped back stories or character traits. I, I, I feel like we need to make that a very mandatory caveat. [Exactly.] If you're gonna do it, do it right. Don't be lazy or racist or both.
Seher: Just don't be terrible. It's, the bar is literally underground.
Kori: It just not, the bar is in hell. Okay, let, Let's not sugarcoat this. The bar is in hell. Literally, you have to do just a step above hell. Okay. Like, we're not even asking for a whole lot here,
Seher: We're not even asking you to play limbo. It's literally just stepping over to the dang bar.
Seher: So yeah, but I think ultimately [the bar] it's, it's truly, we just wanna see better content and we wanna see better depictions of Muslims and we will be very excited next. Month to talk about Dr. Who and this current iteration of the doctor. I will miss her wrapping up and where Yaz ends up in the final special that is airing at some point in the next two weeks.
Seher: Question mark. Time is fake. So, with that being said, we have a lot of other podcasts, and you know where to find them. We're not even gonna do the whole spiel unless Kori wants to. I always leave one out cause I'm terrible person. So, I'm just gonna say, go listen to our podcast. You know where to find us. And we look forward to talking to you all about Dr. Who and hope that this episode was interesting and informative.
Seher: And then in December it'll be a surprise. So, thank you for listening. We appreciate all of our listeners from all over the world listening to me and Cori just talking about our feelings, cuz we are podcast bros but not really. Kori, if you have anything else you wanna add?
Seher: I am happy to sign off on that. So happy Halloween to everybody who celebrates there we go.
Seher: Perfect. And of course, wear your mask. Be safe, salaam Alaikum.