SIMON BAZ & THE 99
When the Green Lantern Corp added a new member as part of the NEW 52 it was both a welcomed and interesting choice. See the newest Lantern is Simon Baz and he is a Muslim. Comic books have always been ground breakers and DC with this new character is no exception. Created by Geoff Johns, Baz is the first Arab-American to join the Corp. So why is this a big deal? It shouldn’t be. But in today’s society with so many misconceptions about what it means to be Muslim or the Islamic religion in general, it becomes a big deal in the most refreshing why possible.
When thinking about this topic I was reminded that Simon isn’t the first Arab superhero to be in mainstream comics. In 2007,THE 99 was created by Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa. The concept was very simple, the 99 consists of ordinary people, young and old who come into possession of the mystical ninety-nine Noor Stones. They are empowered by them and take on specific attributes. These attributes are based on the 99 attributes of Allah and they cover a variety of human characteristics. They include but limited to generosity, strength and wisdom. According to Dr. Al-Mutawa, these are not solely Islamic virtues but universal.
One of my great loves regarding comic books was its universal message of good always defeating evil. That we all have within us to be superheroes. All walks of life regardless of race, gender or creed can make a difference. It’s one of the core values behind the series THE 99. Whether I’m naive or innocent in my view of the world, I am forever the optimist that someday there will be no distinction of who or what are superheroes are but instead, they will simply be our heroes and heroines to admire and emulate. Someday.
Salāmu ʽalaykum! Peace be upon you.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight