The Secret World of Ms. Marvel

Artist Adrian Alphona is the main artist on G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel. Set in New Jersey, the book shows us the adventures of young Kamala Khan, fighting for truth and justice. However, not all is what it seems. There are a lot of things going on in the background.

Mainstream media seems content with the angle of Ms. Marvel being revolutionary as a character because she’s a Muslim teenager living in the United States. However, there’s more to the comic book than non-Christian religion and a very nice glance at it and super-heroics.

Let’s look at the art for a bit. Adrian Alphona is the main artist on the book. He’s drawn seven issues out of nine and they’re full of what can only be described as either jokes or nods to other books and things. So let’s get going. One remark: The panels do not appear in order. Also, click on the images to enlarge them.

The Recurring Ones

A number of characters and themes are recurring. That means that they keep popping up without any rhyme or reason. Maybe there will be an explanation of it at some point, because some of it has paid off. Maybe not.

  • Birds: The Inventor is a villain who appears to be some kind of bird. Up until his reveal, there were numerous nods to birds, such as graffiti going The Birdman Cometh.
  • Radoslav: Starting with issue #3, basically every corner shop appears to be owned by a man named Radoslav. Radoslav is a traditionally Slavic name, so it makes little sense for a Mom-n-Pop shop to be called Radoslav’s Vietnamese Grocery that sells Homemade Meat.
  • Brands: Shelves in all supermarkets stock groceries like Roundhouse Cola a cereal named G.M.-O’s and Asian River Classic Water
  • Students: Kamala goes to Cole’s Academic High School. A number of strange students are among the student body, most notably a person in an orange shirt that says Relax on it who is always shown sleeping and a very short, rotund student who’s always wearing a helmet and goggles.
  • Ralph: Whenever we see the dumpsters behind the Circle Q supermarket they are usually filled with litter by a company that went out of business. This company is always owned by Ralph.

Issue #1: Metamorphosis, Part 1

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_001

The Circle Q, a cornerstore in Jersey City, has All of the Business Hours.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_002

  • The newspaper is called Jersey Akhbar. Akhbar is not to be confused with Akbar. Akhbar is Malayan and translates to newspaper. Akbar is Arabic and translates to greater (not great, as is usually assumed, even though the translation is widely accepted and probably not wrong).
  • Radoslav also sells chicken salad.
  • GM’Os advertises in newspapers.

Issue #2: Metamorphosis, Part Two

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_003

  • Maple Syrup can be free range.
  • There’s  company selling used cheese.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_004

  • Homeless person offers haircuts for five dollars.
  • He also has a jar with a pickle in it.

Issue #3: Metamorphosis, Part Three

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_005

  • GM-O’s: Listen to your Gut, not the Lawsuits.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_006

 

  • Roundhouse Cola
  • Radoslav’s Vietnamese Grocery
  • Rado’s Glorious Banh Mi
  • Hot Pepper Bubble Tea
  • Roundhouse Cola
  • Asian River Water Classic
  • Somehow, a beauty parlour sells something called Aunties and Androids.
  • Fair & Pastey Cosmetics

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_007

  • Start a Fight: Save our Prisons – What?

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_008

  • Bloogle

 

 

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_010

  • See that squirty bottle? That’s apparently what Jersey City considers to be a fire extinguisher.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_011

  • Weird helmet wearing student
  • Butterflies in school hallways
  • More fire extinguisher

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_012

  • A bookshop by the name of Books an’Ting – Ting an’Books.
  • So is this store open?
  • The Ur-Do’s and Ur-Don’ts of chillin’ in Pakistan. Urdu is a language spoken in Pakistan.
  • Aunties and Androids
  • Want to bet that this shop is run by a stoner?

Issue #4: Metamorphosis, Part Four

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_009

  • Blech Beverage
  • Asian River Water
  • Orphan Farm OJ
  • Roundhouse Cola
  • Nuclear Clean
  • Birdy Num Nums

 

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_013

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_014

  • Eating Underwater Magazine
  • Self Destruct Magazine
  • The Joy of Cooking Rare Animals
  • BBoy Koi
  • Dropkick Enthusiast
  • Momjitsu
  • Superhero Paparazzi
  • Say Yes to Lobotomies

Issue #5: Metamorphosis, Part Five

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_017

  • Bruno is a fan of Back to the Future. 1.21 Gigawatts is the amount of energy needed to make time travel with the DeLorean possible.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_018

  • Blerf: World Famous Alley Boxes
  • Ralph’s Fashion apparently sold WWII-style bombs
  • Ralph’s Fashion apparently went out of business.
  • That mystery microphone device looks like something out of David Tennant’s Doctor Who.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_020

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_021

  • Poison Dart Frog Burger – As seen on the News!?
  • Sooper Compooter

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_022

  • Bullet Ant Shake!?
  • Apparently, that man does in the background not enjoy the Poison Dart Frog Burger.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_015

  • GM-O’s: Read the Q&A.
  • Cromulant Cruch: Check out the maze on the back. It teaches you a life lesson.
  • Low-Hanging Fruit Juice

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_016

  • The calendar on the fridge features Thugs at Brunch.
  • Radoslav’s Outrageous Pakistani Cuisine
  • Cobra Halalala Hot Sauce: Yoga Fire is one of Dhalsim of Street Fighter fame’s signature moves.

Issue #6: Healing Factor, Part One

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_024

Issue #7: Healing Factor, Part Two

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_025

  • Random Sword that looks eerily familiar
  • Dinosaur bones
  • The arrows and the AB by the air vent spell out the Konami Code.
  • Someone named GB never got his or her Edmund Scientific Co. Locusts

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_026

  • Edison Electric: Thomas Edison invented batteries, phonograms and a lot of other electricity-related things.

Issue #8:  Generation Why, Part One

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_027

  • Do Not Kick Sign. Somebody apparently did.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_028

  • Science in Yo Face – Jersey Edition study book
  • The Pedantic Monthly magazine has a cover feature about Generation Dumb

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_029

  • Social Media is called Facehead. The URL is also quite something.
  • Julie Harrison has a pet lizard called Fluffwood.
  • In the other tab, Kamala bloogled Space Doggies.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_030

  • Ralph’s Wedding Cakes went out  of business.
  • Ralph apparently made cakes using a chainsaw.
  • Ralph also read How to Cake, which might explain why he went out of business.
  • What is Soul Glo?
  • On the other dumpster, there’s a sign that has a warning about raccoons. Someone disagreed. Rocket Raccoon, maybe?

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_031

  • Beisbol is spanish for Baseball

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_032

  • The Blerf boxes have not moved.
  • Someone’s texting in that blue car.
  • There are two raccoons watching Bruno

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_033

  • Kamala is wearing a Captain America shirt
  • There’s a big knife on the teacher’s desk
  • Canada is labelled as Snow Mexico
  • Front row, second from the right has the wrong book out for a media class.
  • Why does the student in the front row to the left have so many prescription meds.
  • The ice cream truck in front of the window belongs to the Inventor. It’s seen numerous times when he shows up.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_034

  • Random flying goldfish
  • Keep calm, I’m Persian like the Cat

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_035

  • The giant killer robot comes with free WiFi
  • Student with helmet on.
  • There’s a pug that looks like Lockjaw, Kamala’s Inhuman dog thta can teleport (seen on the second floor).

Issue #9: Generation Dumb, Part Two

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_036

  • The sleeping student with the Relax Sweater.
  • Random rubber duck

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_037

  • Ye Local Newes

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_038

  • Kamala’s school apparently has needs for Rainbow Toots. The come in a jar.
  • How to English is part of the curriculum.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_039

 

  • At Cole’s Academic Highschool, there is still asbestos in the walls. Children are needed as volunteers to remove the carcinogenic insulation.
  • There is a polcieman watching a giant robot battle, calmly eating Chinese food and listening to music.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_040

  • Lockjaw has some stylistic influence on people and their dogs. The man’s dog has a fork on his head.
  • The neighbour’s car looks slightly damaged.

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_041

secret_world_ms_marvel_g_willow_wilson_adrian_alphona_042

  • Toads Legit Cricket Club. Say it out loud.

And that’s all I could find while reading the first nine issues of the book. If you have found any more or disagree with some of those, please leave a comment.

About Dom

Possessing nigh-encyclopaedic knowledge when it comes to comic books and movies, Dom is one of the co-founders of the Uncanny Book-Club. He also enjoys movies, and going to the cinema.

One Comment

  1. Well, that was fun to read. I certainly do like the details and your eye for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *