When Mike Long found out that his daughter was invited to a superhero-themed birthday party, he knew she’d make the perfect Kamala Khan, also known as Ms. Marvel. Sadly, he couldn’t find a costume anywhere -- so he decided to make one himself.
Long, who lives in town called Horley in Surrey, England, first searched for a costume in stores and online, but had little luck.
He wrote on his Tumblr that his Amazon search for superhero costumes for girls included a Captain America outfit for girls, a pink Spider-Girl outfit and "sexy" versions of other fictional characters. That was all it took for Long to get to work on his own costume.
After buying a blue dress, a glittery blue mask, some cheap red polyester and a pillow with yellow fabric, Long put his sewing machine skills to the test and made a Ms. Marvel costume. When it was finally finished, his daughter was ecstatic. "She went next door to show her friend immediately," Long told The Huffington Post in an email.
Long also wrote an open letter to Marvel on his Tumblr requesting more girl-inclusive merchandise. G. Willow Wilson, the current writer of the "Ms. Marvel" comic book series,reblogged the post and added a short, but complimentary message: "Now this is one dedicated super-dad." Long's daughter, who reads Marvel comics with her father at bedtime, loves the feedback her costume has received.
"I showed my daughter the online reaction when she got home from school," Long told HuffPost. "The next morning in the playground she announced to her friends how famous she is, listed all the countries she's been seen in and presented it to her class at show-and-tell."
Long’s quest for more girl-inclusive superhero merchandise doesn’t stop there though. He is currently raising money for Cancer Research UK by walking a marathon. What do superheroes have to do with it? If he reaches 2,000 pounds (a little more than $3,100) in donations, Long said he’ll walk the marathon in a Ms. Marvel dress. Fans can donate on his JustGiving page and follow his journey with #KamalaCancer.
The costume he made and his new marathon plans are both important parts of Long's mission to promote equality.
"There is nothing stopping me from buying Hulk Fists for my daughter. In fact, she would put them to great use, but we love Ms. Marvel at bedtime. Where's the merch for her?"