Stan Lee, as he so often does, takes credit for coming up with the name “Ms. Marvel.” In 1977’s The Superhero Women, a collection of female-centric Marvel tales, he says that he wanted Marvel to have a signature lead female character; he and Roy Thomas proceeded to come up with the name “Ms. Marvel” for that character. The “Marvel” portion was a nod to the company, of course, and “Ms.”, in Stan’s words, “represented the new, liberated, upbeat spirit that we wanted the strip to represent.” But neither Stan nor Roy Thomas would be involved in the actual creation of Ms. Marvel, the character. That would fall to writer Gerry Conway and artist John Buscema. And while Conway and Buscema are credited as the creators of Ms. Marvel, neither would stick with the character for long.
Instead, the creative voice that would most come to define the initial iteration of Ms. Marvel—and, ultimately, guide the character for roughly fifteen years—is Chris Claremont’s. Best known as the definitive X-Men writer, Claremont took over Ms. Marvel’s series from Conway with issue #3 and stayed with it until its somewhat complicated end. In the course of his run on Ms. Marvel, he would define Ms. Marvel as a character, developing an affection for her such that, even after the series concluded, he continued to write her as an occasional supporting player in his X-Men stories, and introduced several characters and concepts that echo louder in comic book history than the events of the series itself. While Ms. Marvel would eventually become the character Stan Lee wanted her to be in terms of her place within the Marvel pantheon, her original series is ultimately more notable for the way it impacted the storylines of the X-Men—and the ways it didn’t—while leaving the actual ascendancy of Ms. Marvel to superstar status for later. [Read more…] about What Might Have Been: An Examination of 1970s Ms. Marvel