On the dumb idea that one Muslim character can be reflective of all Muslim people:
There’s a burden of representation that comes into play when there aren’t enough representatives of a certain group in popular culture. So the few ones that do exist come under increased scrutiny and pressure, because they’re expected to represent everybody. Obviously, you can’t do that with one character and you shouldn’t, because it would stifle the narrative and prevent them from becoming a fully-realized person. So I think in situations like that, you just have to tread lightly and trust your gut. Kamala is not a token anything in any way. She’s very much her own quirky, unique, wonderful person. She’s not a poster girl for her religion and she doesn’t fall into any neat little box.
If you put the shoe on the other foot and said we’re going to have one Christian character that represents all Christians, the ridiculousness would be obvious right away.
On haters and the changing face of comics:
There’s been some hate from people who don’t read comics, which I ignore because in terms of this medium, they are illiterate. There’s this sense that [Muslims] shouldn’t even be there because it’s somehow un-American… Especially in comics, because [comics] are seen — by people who don’t read comics – as this wholesome, 100% “truth, justice and the American way” product. They’re not thinking about manga; they’re not thinking about all the changes that have occurred in comics over the last decade or so. They don’t know the history of the medium that well… and the medium has evolved.
I'm a big fan of comics and graphic novels—I met my partner on a comic book forum in the 90s, NERD UP!— but there's an undercurrent of racism and sexism that sometimes makes me want to rip books in half.