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Old July 30 2009, 08:19 PM   #1
Dusty Ayres
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Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

The 99, who personify the 99 attributes of Allah, are a creation of Teshkeel Comics in Kuwait, and will soon be appearing in a new mini-series collaborating with Justice League characters from DC comics. The Kuwaiti comics, which sell about one million copies a year, are already popular in the Middle East with an animated film already commissioned. The first of several 99-based theme parks has already opened in Kuwait.
None of the characters pray or read the Koran, as they are meant to have equal appeal to children of all faiths. They do not wear disguises and unlike their DC counterparts, they are not outsiders with secret identities. They tend to be ordinary people who develop superhuman abilities after coming into contact with mystical gems.
Only Batina The Hidden, who has powers of invisibility and camouflage, wears a Burka. Other characters onlcude Darr the Afflicter, who is able to stimulate nerves associated with pain, and Bari the Healer who heals wounds and broken bones.
Paul Levitz, DC Comics' president and publisher, said while comic book crossover was a regular occurrence, the cross-cultural project was unprecedented.
"It is a long-standing tradition for characters to meet others in the fictional world," he said. "And over the years a lot of the superheroes have been translated into Arabic, taking on ethnic elements. But this is a nice step forward. The most difficult creative test is when you are working with the least precedent and when you're trying to reach an audience that has a different cultural bias and different interests."

Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes
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Old July 30 2009, 08:41 PM   #2
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

side-note, I remember when they first launched those series of comics, hearing about them, you know attempt to give the kids there heroes more relateable to the culture, that kind of thing. Had no clue whether it would be successful or not.

Kind of interesting to now hear that they sold well in the Middle East and getting an animated film.
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Old July 30 2009, 08:58 PM   #3
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

An Islamic Justice League? Nice.
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Old July 30 2009, 10:33 PM   #4
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
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Old July 30 2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
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Old July 30 2009, 10:41 PM   #6
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
There have been Islamic/Arab heroes before (the article implies that the 99 have been around for a while), but I don't think there's ever been a crossover between a huge American company and a Middle Eastern comic company. That in itself is huge.

You say it smacks of PC PR, I think this is the right direction towards multiculturalism. And who better than the All-American Superman to help lead the way? Let's not forget that the US fought Iraq to save Kuwait in 1991.
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Last edited by Cyke101; July 30 2009 at 10:54 PM.
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Old July 30 2009, 11:18 PM   #7
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
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Old July 30 2009, 11:31 PM   #8
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
Probably a combination of both.

Which is perhaps the right thing.

The most important thing tho' is that comics starring the heroes I like will be read by a larger world audience. I feel a little depressed at seeing all the manga-love (not that there's anything wrong with it) in relation to comics-love at the neighborhood B&N.
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Old July 30 2009, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
For 46 years, we've had the X-Men build a franchise out of fighting villains who are racial extremists who aren't that different than the KKK. The X-Men are also international in both content and appeal. If it works for them, how about focusing on some other issues of tolerance and community?

Additionally, and I hope I'm not painting too broad a stroke, but most comic readers are teens or early 20s and aren't normally used to such discourse anyway. Go to any comic book message board and just cringe at the sheer number of racial or homophobic slurs being passed around that shows that we've got a long way to go.
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Old July 31 2009, 12:05 AM   #10
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
I wonder who twisted what arms to get this done...

This is hardly something new. There have been Islamic/Arab characters in comics before.

This just smacks of PC PR.
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
Again, either way, it's made for people who don't think like you do. Why MUST it conform to your philosophy in order to be "right"? Don't you support free enterprise?
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Old July 31 2009, 12:45 AM   #11
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
I'm not sure you understand that these comics are written and published in Kuwait for Mideastern audiences. And don't worry about this being some kind of apologist tract for Islamist radicals -- nothing could be further from the truth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_99
Members of The 99 are ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe, who come into possession of one of the 99 mystical Noor Stones (Ahjar Al Noor, Stones of Light) and find themselves empowered in a specific manner. All dilemmas faced by The 99 will be overcome through the combined powers of three or more members. Through this, The 99 series aims to promote values such as cooperation and unity throughout the Islamic world. Although the series is not religious, it aims to communicate Islamic virtues which are, as viewed by Dr. Al-Mutawa, universal in nature.
The very nature of the comic, stressing multiculturalism and diversity within an Islamic philosophical framework, is a repudiation of the intolerance and fundamentalism of Islamist militants. Too many Americans assume that the Mideast conflict is about Us vs. Them, but in reality, we're a peripheral player (albeit a catalyst as well) in a deep-seated conflict within Islamic society, a conflict between the forces of modernization and inclusion on the one hand and traditionalism and intolerance on the other hand. Most of al-Qaeda's targets and victims are fellow Muslims who reject their narrow view of their faith. This comic reflects the philosophies of the kind of liberal, inclusive Muslims whom groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban consider their worst enemies. Comics like this, that help spread inclusive values and remind Muslims of what their faith really teaches, rather than the lies that the fundamentalists spread, could be one of the best weapons against militant fundamentalism. Because terrorists and militants can only thrive so long as the rank-and-file populace tolerates them and believes their existence is necessary.
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Old July 31 2009, 12:51 AM   #12
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

Cyke101 wrote: View Post
Let's not forget that the US fought Iraq to save Kuwait in 1991.
Let's also not forget that when Saddam had his troops on the border ready to invade, we told him that his problems with Kuwait were not a US concern.
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Old July 31 2009, 05:19 AM   #13
Dusty Ayres
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
Compared to the multiple times that Western characters lecture others on their failings, this is tit for tat.

And as for 'good Muslim heroes' cleaning house on Al-Q or the Taliban; why should they have to? The story can be about both sets of heroes fighting an alien invasion-it doesn't necessarily have to have them fight the great American bogeymen just so that an audience of mostly American comic book fanboys can see the heroes kick the butts of said bogeymen from here to Pluto.
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Old July 31 2009, 05:35 AM   #14
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

I've heard about The 99 before, but material featuring them is pretty scarce on the ground here; hopefully this deal will lead to a bit more of it being made available here, because I've always been interested in seeing western-style superheroes adapted for another culture.
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Old July 31 2009, 06:58 AM   #15
darkwing_duck1
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Re: Superman and Batman to join forces with Islamic superheroes

Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
Misfit Toy wrote: View Post
Doubtful. It's just a product made for people who don't feel the same way you do. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
Again, either way, it's made for people who don't think like you do. Why MUST it conform to your philosophy in order to be "right"? Don't you support free enterprise?
I didn't say it shouldn't be published. I said I was unimpressed by it.

Christopher wrote: View Post
darkwing_duck1 wrote: View Post
There may be, there may NOT be. The timing and the hoopla seem a bit fishy to me. A lot will depend on how it's written I suppose. Will these "good Muslem heroes" be shown cleaning house on Talibans and Al-Qs or will this be a "learning experince" puff job where the "westerners" learn that "everthing they (think) they know about Muslems is wrong"?
I'm not sure you understand that these comics are written and published in Kuwait for Mideastern audiences. And don't worry about this being some kind of apologist tract for Islamist radicals -- nothing could be further from the truth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_99
Members of The 99 are ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe, who come into possession of one of the 99 mystical Noor Stones (Ahjar Al Noor, Stones of Light) and find themselves empowered in a specific manner. All dilemmas faced by The 99 will be overcome through the combined powers of three or more members. Through this, The 99 series aims to promote values such as cooperation and unity throughout the Islamic world. Although the series is not religious, it aims to communicate Islamic virtues which are, as viewed by Dr. Al-Mutawa, universal in nature.
The very nature of the comic, stressing multiculturalism and diversity within an Islamic philosophical framework, is a repudiation of the intolerance and fundamentalism of Islamist militants. Too many Americans assume that the Mideast conflict is about Us vs. Them, but in reality, we're a peripheral player (albeit a catalyst as well) in a deep-seated conflict within Islamic society, a conflict between the forces of modernization and inclusion on the one hand and traditionalism and intolerance on the other hand. Most of al-Qaeda's targets and victims are fellow Muslims who reject their narrow view of their faith. This comic reflects the philosophies of the kind of liberal, inclusive Muslims whom groups like al-Qaeda and the Taliban consider their worst enemies. Comics like this, that help spread inclusive values and remind Muslims of what their faith really teaches, rather than the lies that the fundamentalists spread, could be one of the best weapons against militant fundamentalism. Because terrorists and militants can only thrive so long as the rank-and-file populace tolerates them and believes their existence is necessary.
Interesting. If it turns out that my concerns are unwarranted, then so be it.
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