Sunday, September 25, 2005

Move over Superman, the Arab super heros are here!

Move over Superman, the Arab super heros are here!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Jalila, the new Arab super heroine, coursing across the sky, black hair flying, in her battle to right the wrongs and ensure that justice prevails in the Middle East. "I'll make you swallow your teeth, killer!" she threatens her foe, muscles rippling under her skin-tight garb, as she lands a hard right to the chops. Tough as she is, Jalila, the creation of 36-year-old Egyptian Ayman Kandeel, is not left on her own to fight the forces of evil. There are also Aya the Princess of Darkness, Zein the Last Pharaoh and Rakan the Lone Warrior. Each month, an entire issue is dedicated to just one of the four. Kandeel founded AK Comics in Cairo in 2003 to create a comic to compete with Superman, Batman and other Western super heros, in hopes of dominating the local market. "AK Comics characters are to represent a role model for Arab youth and also to promote, advocate and endorse a positive as well as civilized image of Arabs in the West", according to the company's mission statement. Zein, Aya and Jalila live in an imaginary era, sometime after a 55-year-war, which ended with a peace in the Middle East that is maintained by the United Arab Forces. Rakan, on the other hand, lives in the past, in a time when his parents perished in the Mongol invasion. Of the four, who all have a profound distaste for violence, only Rakan kills his enemies, and then with the greatest reluctance.


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