Marvel world to stay inclusive

Sana Amanat (left), co-creator of Ms Marvel (top), says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk (above).
Sana Amanat (above), co-creator of Ms Marvel says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk.PHOTOS: MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT
Sana Amanat co-creator of Ms Marvel (above), says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk.
Sana Amanat co-creator of Ms Marvel (above), says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk.
Sana Amanat co-creator of Ms Marvel says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk (above).
Sana Amanat co-creator of Ms Marvel says the title has thrived since its launch. Another superhero in Marvel's diversity push is Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk (above).

It will include more women and minorities as leading characters despite comments against diversity: Ms Marvel co-creator

Marvel Comics, one of the world's leading publishers and home to heroes such as Spider-Man and Captain America, will stay on the path of including more women and minorities as leading characters.

Sana Amanat, director of content and character development with Marvel Entertainment, tells The Straits Times that "we've always been inclusive, but more so now because a third of our editorial base is female".

Her comment comes in the wake of recent commentaries on pop culture websites which claim that diversity is a "turn-off" for the majority of comic book readers who, in the United States, remain white males.

They blame the slowdown in comic book sales, which peaked two decades ago, in part on the increasing number of non-white and female superheroes.

Marvel is simply grounding its universe in reality and, by doing so, should find a larger audience, says Amanat, 34. "How do you ignore 50 per cent of the world's population? Also, I want to work on content I am interested in."

The Pakistani-American Muslim was in Singapore last week to speak at the Asia TV Forum and Market.

She is the co-creator of superheroine Ms Marvel, Marvel's first Muslim character to have a dedicated comic book series. An otherwise normal teen, Kamala Khan has polymorph power - she can change her shape at will.

Since its launch in 2014, the title has thrived, says Amanat. Other superheroes that have been created in Marvel's diversity push include Amadeus Cho, a Korean-American whose alter-ego is The Hulk.

Marvel also employs a number of freelance artists in South-east Asia. They include Singapore's Sonny Liew, who worked on Marvel titles such as Marvel Adventures Spider-Man (2009). Liew is the creator of the award-winning graphic novel The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (2015).

Amanat spoke out against the trend of Internet trolls who harass women who enjoy or create content in "nerd culture" areas such as video games, comics and science fiction. These men claim that women lack knowledge and dedication and are doing it only for attention.

She says that she finds the phenomenon of angry men trying to shut down other voices "a little frustrating".

Stifling women suffocates good ideas, she says. "The more outside perspectives and different points of view that you have, the ideas get better and the stories get better."

The bullies and harassers are "doing the industry a disservice", she adds.

"I don't know why they are so threatened. There will always be a predominance of white male characters at the forefront of any big pop cultural event. That's the way of the world, that's where it started."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Marvel world to stay inclusive'. Print Edition | Subscribe