The Comic Shop Where Iman Vellani Bought Her First Ms Marvel Comics
Andre Greenidge of the Ontario comic book store Heroes World, loves his customers. But one special customer has to be Iman Vellani, who plays Ms Marvel in the new Disney+ TV series and the upcoming movie The Marvels
Andre Greenidge of the Ontario comic book store Heroes World, loves his customers. But one special customer has to be Iman Vellani, who plays Ms Marvel in the new Disney+ TV series and the upcoming movie The Marvels. His store is opposite her High School, and she has been coming to the store for years, And the first comic with Ms Marvel in it that she bought, she bought from him under his recommendation. And as you can see, the store has reciprocated in kind.
Situated opposite a high school, Heroes World has always enjoyed an audience of school kids, but not always for comic books. They have trading cards, they have action figures, they have T-shirts and other ephemera. But Andre remembers Iman Vellani as a young schoolgirl buying lots of back issues, and not just recent stuff but diving into the eighties, especially Iron Man in the issue 200s. But she also bought new comics from him, and he recalls pointing out the 2017 run on Iron Man, specifically the cover with Riri Williams as Iron Man, and Ms Marvel, and she picked it up with the new releases. Andre sold Iman her first Ms Marvel comic – and it wasn't the last. She would sometimes come into the store a couple of times a day, and if she was ever a dollar short, she would fastidiously make it up at a later date.
Heroes World – and the school – closed their doors during the pandemic, so Andre stopped seeing almost all his customers. But when the news about the casting of Ms Marvel for the TV series and The Marvels movie came through, he recognised her, and when the local news station came picking around the school and the neighbourhood, that just confirmed it.
But things opened up again, And last December, Iman came back to the store with a friend, fully masked, and went straight to the new comic book release wall. Andre hailed her, saying "you're just going to come in and not say anything? Congratulations!" There were geeky elated moments with virtual high fives over her casting.
He also got to speak to Rish Shah who plays Kamran on the show, and who thanked him for selling Iman her first Ms Marvel comic, telling him that her comics knowledge was what propelled her to know the character and get the part. Iman told Andre that her comic book store owner, her aunt and her drama teacher were the three people most responsible for where she was now. Andrew told me that he loves to see a genuine fan, someone who knows the comics as much as she does, playing that part."
Iman Vellani has also continued to visit the store and has posed for selfies with customers – and with Andre of course. and told him that her coolest moment so far was filming with Samuel Jackson. Now that his participation with The Marvels movie is out there, Andre feels happier to share that now. Andre tells me that "the girl you are seeing in interviews is genuinely the real deal, she's a sweetheart, she's smart, she really loves comic books. I hope the people at Marvel recognise this, I hope Marvel uses her for comics and literary outreach, for representation, for getting young people into comic books." And also, of course, for telling Kevin Feige when he gets things wrong. Heroes World just celebrated its twentieth-year last year, this is a cherry on the top. He tells me that there is "nothing like reading a comic book to death and if I can get another kid like Iman to do the same…" It's a noble calling.