Yes, We Khan

Diversity and De-Monsterization of Muslim Identities in ‘Ms. Marvel’ (2014–)


  • Anja Borg Andreassen Tromsø Public Library and City Archives



comic books, superheroes, identity, monsters, Muslim-Americans, de-monsterization


In 2014, Marvel comics introduced a new character to take over the mantle of the superhero identity Ms. Marvel. The new heroine is Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old girl born and raised in New Jersey. Khan is Marvel’s first Pakistani-American, Muslim superhero to headline her own comic book; as such, she represents a move towards diversification in a historically conservative, white and masculine genre. In addition, Kamala Khan comes into existence in a political and social context where the 9/11 attacks, the ‘War on Terror’, and Islamophobia continue to reverberate. This article explores how the Ms. Marvel comic functions as a critique of the ways in which social norms, stereotypes and prejudices have monsterized multicultural, Muslim identities, especially in the years following 9/11. Conducting analyses of Khan’s conflicted relationship to her own identities and issues concerning visibility and concealment, I explore how these negative framings affect her self-perception, and in turn her self-representation. Lastly, I aim to illustrate the ways in which the comic challenges monolithic and monstrous representations of Islam through its depiction of diverse, multicultural, Muslim identities.

Author Biography

Anja Borg Andreassen, Tromsø Public Library and City Archives

has a BA in English Literature and Linguistics from NTNU and a BA in Media and Documentation Studies from UiT The Arctic University of Norway. She is a librarian at Tromsø Public Library and City Archives.

Acknowledgements: Thank you Holger for all your support.


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How to Cite

Andreassen, Anja Borg. 2019. “Yes, We Khan: Diversity and De-Monsterization of Muslim Identities in ‘Ms. Marvel’ (2014–)”. Nordlit, no. 42 (November):67–82.