Ten Years Ago, Kamala Khan Made Her Triumphant Debut as Ms. Marvel

Summary

  • Kamala Khan’s debut as Ms. Marvel in All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1 is highly valuable to collectors.
  • The story titled “Garden State of Mind” introduces Kamala as a teenage superhero in New Jersey with family dynamics and cultural elements.
  • The issue also introduces Dawn Greenwood, who becomes a co-star in the Silver Surfer series.


In every Look Back, we examine a comic book issue from 10/25/50/75 years ago (plus a wild card every month with a fifth week in it). This time around, we head back January 2014, for the triumphant debut of Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel

Last year, I did a Look Back on the first appearance of Kamala Khan in a comic book, a cameo in Captain Marvel #14. As I noted at the time, it really makes no sense for anyone to treat that comic book as Kamala Khan’s first appearance, but for some inexplicable reason, that’s precisely how it has been treated by the comic book collecting community. I featured it in a piece I did about cameo appearances that are treated as first appearances despite the longstanding tradition that cameo appearances AREN’T first appearances (most famously how Incredible Hulk #180 is not treated as Wolverine’s first appearance and Amazing Spider-Man #299 is not treated as Venom’s first appearance).

However, at least logic is followed by the NEXT most valuable Kamala Khan collectible, as her first appearance as Ms. Marvel, in January 2014’s All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1 is the next most valuable Kamala Khan comic book. Let’s see what happened in Kamala’s first appearance as Ms. Marvel!

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How did Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel debut go?

Marvel’s Point One program began in 2011 with issues designed to be jumping on points for comics. You know, like Wolverine #5.1 would be a great way to start reading Wolverine, for instance. So Marvel Point One #1, at the end of 2011, would therefore be a good way to start reading Marvel Comics, with the first appearance of the then-new Nova, Sam Alexander.

It then followed with All-New Marvel Point One #1 at the end of 2012. This was the third one, All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1. The interesting thing about the stories is that other than a Loki framing sequence (as part of the introduction to Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s awesome Loki, Agent of Asgard series), the stories were mostly just set in media res, with Kamala Khan already as Ms. Marvel, which is an identity she doesn’t have yet when Ms. Marvel #1 actually came out in February 2014.

The story, titled “Garden State of Mind,” is by G. Willow Wilson, artist Adrian Alphona, colorist Ian Herring and letterer Joe Caramagna, and it begins with Ms. Marvel in a fight with a villain in a junkyard…

Ms. Marvel strikes a pose

We get to see Ms. Marvel’s powers in full effect, but then, in a great sequence, her fight is interrupted by her mother reminding her that she is late for a family function…

Ms. Marvel is late for a very important date

We then meet Bruno Carrelli for the first time, Kamala’s best friend, who obviously knows about her secret identity, and has a change of clothes for her for her family’s party…

Kamala changes outfits

We also meet Kamala’s mother, and we quickly see the dynamic that is at play here, with a very clever ending, where her mother grounds her and Kamala makes it clear that it is unlikely that that will have any effect on a superhero like her…

Kamala is grounded

This is an outstanding quick introduction to Ms. Marvel and her world as a teenage superhero in New Jersey. It sets up the family dynamics, it shows how the book will explain some cultural stuff for people for are unfamiliar and, of course, we get to see some outstanding Adrian Alphona artwork (what a star he is). It’s really great.

But that’s not the only great introduction in this issue!

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What other notable character made their debut in this comic book?

This issue also introduces us to Dawn Greenwood, the co-star of the excellent Dan Slott/Michael Allred/Laura Allred Silver Surfer series, where Norrin Radd begins a relationship with an Earth woman, who travels the universe with him (sort of like Doctor Who and his companions). Here, they see some Cosmic Rays (in a very clever sight gag)…

Some Cosmic Rays are in flight

The story very cleverly explores their clearly pretty new dynamic, as she thinks people are calling Surfer “Harold” when he is being called the “Herald,” as the universe knows him as Galactus’ herald, and they are not happy about him, since he is known for bringing destruction to places. Their night out is interrupted when he is attacked, and Dawn really doesn’t know the whole story yet (but she will, of course)….

Silver Surfer helps heal a cosmic ray

In the end, we again see what was so compelling about their relationship, as Dawn likes seeing the Cosmic Rays, but she wants to explore somewhere where Surfer will also be NEWLY experiencing the event, and he agrees to go somewhere new with her that’s new to him, as well…

Dawn wants to go to new places with the Surfer

Boy, what a fun series (and such great artwork), and both Dawn and Kamala as Ms. Marvel shared a first appearance issue. Very cool.

If you folks have any suggestions for February (or any other later months) 2014, 1999, 1974 and 1949 comic books for me to spotlight, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com! Here is the guide, though, for the cover dates of books so that you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional amount of time between the cover date and the release date of a comic book throughout most of comic history has been two months (it was three months at times, but not during the times we’re discussing here). So the comic books will have a cover date that is two months ahead of the actual release date (so October for a book that came out in August). Obviously, it is easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago was released, since there was internet coverage of books back then.

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