The World SF Blog

Speculative Fiction from Around the World

Muslim Superheroes The 99 at the Guardian Newspaper

We’ve previously reported on Islamic superhero series The 99, but now the UK’s Guardian newspaper has picked up the story as well, following an announced television series for the comics!

Even if you deliberately set out to try to dream up the least probable superhero ever, it’s unlikely that you’d manage to come up with a character as far-fetched as Batina the Hidden. Forget Wonder Worm, or a man born with the powers of a newt, Batina is a superhero of a kind the world hasn’t until now seen. It’s not just that she’s a Muslim woman, from a country best known for harbouring al-Qaida operatives – Yemen – but that she wears an altogether new kind of super-person costume: a burqa.

She, along with her fellow crime-fighters, a vast team of characters from around the world, including Jabbar the Powerful from Saudi Arabia and Hadya the Guide from London, collectively known as “The 99″, are the world’s first Islam-inspired superheroes. And this week, in what is perhaps the ultimate comic-book accolade, they will join forces with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. DC Comics, the US publishinggiant, will publish the first of six special crossover issues in which The 99 will be fighting crime alongside the Justice League of America, the fictional superhero team that includes Superman and Batman.

What’s even more remarkable is that The 99 only came into being in 2007 with some remarkable firsts: the first comic book superheroes to have Muslim names and be directed at an international audience and the first to come out of the Middle East. Crossovers don’t happen often and even less often with characters that are just three years old. Even The 99′s creator and mastermind, a Kuwaiti-born, American-educated psychologist and entrepreneur called Naif al-Mutawa, seems to be having some trouble believing the Superman link-up.

“For me, there’s a nerd part and a business part. On a business level, it’s pretty exciting to be acknowledged as having created something that’s considered to be on a level with something that’s been around 50 years or more. And that obviously has business ramifications. But the nerd part is the thing that makes my eyes light up.” – continue reading.

 

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Comments Off

Why I based Superheroes on Islam by Naif Al-Mutawa

Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of The 99 comic book series, discusses his creation and its motivation in this article for Animation Express:

By the time Khalid was born in New York City, shortly after 9/11, I had already made a decision that I needed to find a way to take back Islam from its hostage takers, but I did not known how. The answer was staring me in the face. It was a simple, and as difficult, as the multiplication of 9 by 11 : 99.

So, at the age of 32, I uncapped my pen to create a concept that could be popular in the East and the West. I would go back to the very sources from which others took violent and hateful messages and offer messages of tolerance and peace in their place. I would give my heroes a Trojan horse in the form of THE 99. Islam was my Helen and I wanted her back.

THE 99 references the 99 attributes of Allah – generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others not used to describe Islam in the media when you were growing up. But if I am successful, by the time my children read this, they will not believe that such an era could have ever existed. – read the rest of the article.

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Comments Off

Female, Muslim and Mutant: Muslim Women in Comics

Jha sent over this fascinating article: Female, Muslim, and Mutant: A Critique of Muslim Women in Comic Books, by Jehanzeb Dar. She discusses two of the most important Muslim comics series – The 99 from Teshkeel Comics, and the works published by AK Comics.

While I believe there is very little known about the images and roles of women in comic books, the subject of how Muslim female characters are portrayed is even smaller. In part 1 of this essay, I looked at how the character of “Dust” was depicted in a popular American comic book (X-Men). In part 2, as promised, I will examine how numerous Muslim female characters are depicted in comic books written by Muslim writers. I will begin by discussing two female characters in Naif Al-Mutawa’s fascinating comic book, “The 99,” and then critique two more female characters appearing in the world of AK Comics, founded by Dr. Ayman Kandeel. Al-Mutawa’s company, Teshkeel Comics, and Dr. Kandeel’s AK Comics couldn’t be any more different in their presentation of female characters – the former shows us arguably the best depictions of Muslim female characters to have ever appeared in comic books, while the latter gives us an unimaginative redux of unrealistically curvaceous and buxom super-heroines who look like clones of Wonder Woman and Catwoman. By bringing these characters into the spotlight, we can learn how incredibly significant it is to battle sexism and racism in comic books as well as how we can create a much-needed dialogue and understanding between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world.read the rest of the article!

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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