DC Comics introduces a Muslim superhero

Published: September 6, 2012

The writer of the Green Lantern series admits that Baz’s character was part of an effort to diversify the universe of superheroes. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK: DC Comics introduced a new Green Lantern on Wednesday — the story of Simon Baz, an American of Arab ancestry raised in a Muslim family, who leaves behind street racing to join an intergalactic police force.

Baz, the muscular protagonist in his early 20s with the Arabic word for courage, “al-shuja’a,” tattooed on his arm, is the latest example of superhero diversity in the comic book world. His debut comes after DC Comics unveiled a gay Green Lantern in June and Marvel Comics presented a half-black, half-Latino Spider-Man last year.

“In typical comic books there’s a big handsome white guy and that’s it. But that’s not the world we live in, and comics are reflecting that,” Thor Parker, social marketing and event director at Midtown Comics in New York, told Reuters.

The new story begins with Baz as a child watching television images of a burning World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, according to a copy of the comic book viewed by Reuters. As an adult, Baz, with a criminal record for illegal street racing, turns to car theft after he loses his job at an automobile factory. A car he tries to steal lands him in the middle of a terrorism investigation. Later on, he is magically bestowed with a ring that gives him super powers and anoints him a Green Lantern.

Geoff Johns, who writes the Green Lantern series, said Baz’s character was part of an effort to diversify the universe of superheroes.

“There are no real prominent Arab-American superheroes in DC (Comics) at all,” Johns told Reuters, adding that Baz’s background also dovetailed with the superhero’s story.

“You are chosen to become a Green Lantern because you are of the ability to overcome great fear, and I thought that would be a great theme to play with, with a character of this background,” he said.

The next Green Lantern comic book, in which Baz will be the focus, will be released in October.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (44)

  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Sep 6, 2012 - 8:32PM

    Do people actually realize this is balshphemy? In Islam there is no room for wizardry black magic and the supernatural. That is only in the hands of Allah and his Prophet (SAW). This comic should be banned in Pakistan else who knows how many innocents will have to sufferRecommend

  • BlackJack
    Sep 6, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Muslim superhero who is granted super powers by pagan guardians of the universe? Looks like muslim means something else in the world of comics.

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  • Awans
    Sep 6, 2012 - 9:26PM

    Western Super Heroes are better as they dont tell that from which religion Super Heroes belong to. Still i dont know from which Religion Captain Planet, ” Tarzan”, “PowerPuff Girls” Wolverine, “Punisher” and “Hawkman” belong to but thanks to Biased Muslims and Hindus alike now they are dragging Religion in comics as well. I have seen the same Endemic with Indian Comics where they are promoting Hinduism in the wake of Super Heroism like Hanuman comics and stuff and now Muslims are following suit.
    Also what a Pathetic reporting by ET where a White Guy is generalized as a Non Muslim while Brown Guy as Arab. A small info that religion is not related to any race. Also Arabs always consider themselves as a separate race and Pakistanis should stop acting like they are Arabs as they are not and Arab Ancestor Hero does not represent any Pakistani. Just visit Any Arab country to see Arab Nationalism where Pakistanis are considered third class non Arabs and nothing else.

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  • julia
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:27PM

    this is just appeasement, lets wait and see how the muslim world finds some excuse to burn copies of this comic.

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  • Gullible Nomore
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:47PM

    Can we as a nation get over the blasphemy law please? There is a world beyond all this please! Let people enjoy life for a change!Recommend

  • Sep 6, 2012 - 11:14PM

    @BlackJack:
    @Sir King Kong Bunty:

    You’ve been hanging around this news site for too long and bought into the extremist conservative hype. Let’s not be so unnecessarily and annoyingly cynical or prejudiced. Don’t think Arab Americans or progressive American Muslims have much to worry about, and this should be a welcome sell at book stands in Pakistan along with the usual DC, Marvel and other independent comic books sold on the streets.

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  • Sep 6, 2012 - 11:41PM

    @julia:

    Comics? Hasn’t happened before, unlikely now. Was casting John Stewart, a minority black American representative, as a Green Lantern appeasement too?

    You’re more likely to hear a reaction from right-wing Christian and/or conservatives, like they did when they took issue with Nightrunner, the Algerian-French hero in Batman Inc., you know, cause he was Mooslim, on top of taking issue with Thor (pagan gods and Heimdall being black) and Ultimate Spider-man (white Peter Parker’s mixed race Miles Morales replacement in the ultimate universe).

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  • Roger
    Sep 6, 2012 - 11:43PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty: Gosh, who let you have a computer and an internet connection. It’s a comic, a science-fiction comic to be exact. Are you of such weak faith that this troubles you so much?

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  • Zaid Hamid
    Sep 7, 2012 - 12:18AM

    You already have a Super-Hero in yours truely. Why don’t they publish that ?

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  • saif
    Sep 7, 2012 - 12:22AM

    people please open up your minds a little bit , not everything is blasphemy , we sound like we are still livng in the middle ages , whats next , witchhunts???

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  • antanu
    Sep 7, 2012 - 1:45AM

    @Awans:
    your comment is not rekevent to the issue….and mind you this comic charecter is createf by a US writer and he is not a muslimRecommend

  • LionOfPunjab
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:09AM

    i hope that they dont print in arabic and sell it in pakistan. Because, god forbid anybody throws it in trash or burn it! Blasphemy!!!

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  • Ravinder Kaushik Tiger
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:55AM

    So is he Shia or Sunni?

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  • Rsingh
    Sep 7, 2012 - 6:16AM

    The Villain must be a Jew !!!!!

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  • antony
    Sep 7, 2012 - 8:49AM

    Will Baz come and save Rimsha from Jail ?.Atleast comics can give humans outside pakistan some relief over whats happening in pakistan!!!

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  • Whatsoever
    Sep 7, 2012 - 11:21AM

    Reading everyone’s comments I come to the conclusion that there is absolutely no need to assign religion to super heroes..If so then this..what we are doing now- Arguing over whether to shun this idea thinking of it as blasphemy or welcome it,happens…This is exactly what they want..Are we going to give them that satisfaction??

    So whatever we decide to do..Reject or Accept the idea..Don’t get into meaningless bickering. We’re better than that.

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  • Jawad
    Sep 7, 2012 - 11:29AM

    New Marketing Strategy

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  • Fahim
    Sep 7, 2012 - 11:41AM

    many of above statements just shows hate against islam ,,,,,,,, Any how great idea by Mr. Author

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  • Zezu
    Sep 7, 2012 - 11:56AM

    Comics are there to help us believe in super naturals.

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  • Riaz Khan
    Sep 7, 2012 - 12:06PM

    Wake up Muslims! This is appeasement for Muslims.

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  • khi
    Sep 7, 2012 - 12:32PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:
    Please turn off your computer, NOW! Or you’ll start burning the internet too. and your PC, and everything else that you come across.

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  • Sep 7, 2012 - 2:09PM

    According to the comic Muslims can do magic which is a sin of highest order in real world. Read Al-Baqarah, 102, 103.

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  • THINK
    Sep 7, 2012 - 2:39PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty: as a kid you must have read Hatim Tai and Umr Ayyar’s zambeel. What non-sense are you talking about… just because the comic is published by the west. You cannot ban everything YOU dont like. If you dont like it, dont read it.

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  • Pralaynath Gendaswami
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Masha Allah, with tears in my eyes, I will open this comic book. The moment that every Muslim has been waiting for has finally arrived. Finally the world recognizes us.

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  • Game Show
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:31PM

    Oh my liberals!

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  • nomi
    Sep 7, 2012 - 4:10PM

    The problem is when they ignore muslims, its not taken in good taste by muslims and when they include muslims, it is blasphemy.

    Many muslims may be living in the 21st century but their mental condition is that of the people in the 15 century.

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  • Noman Ansari
    Sep 7, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Sir King Kong Bunty if I ever saw you on the street I would ask you to please find another religion instead of maligning Islam with your archaic views.Recommend

  • Ozymandias
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:14PM

    In brightest day, in blackest night, no hateful troll shall escape my sight…

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  • JB
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:23PM

    For crying out loud!!! For once, can we just appreciate the fact that Islam is being recognised as a peaceful religion here? The guy is a ‘SUPER HERO’ in a ‘COMIC BOOK’. A guy who does ‘GOOD’ and is not engaged in TERRORISM!
    Why do we have to assume that ANYTHING the West does has some hidden agenda??
    Blasphemy? Seriously? Have you ever read these comics?
    It is because of such people that Islam is perceived as an oppressive religion!

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  • DevilHunterX
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:25PM

    People are insane. There have been many Muslim characters in comics before. Granted most of them took villainous roles.

    Did we already forget the Pakistani made superhero comics?Recommend

  • Tahir
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:45PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:
    You need a life sir outside your 4 walls. People read comics for relaxation, imagination and to
    mentally relieve themselves in an imagined world. It’s not real & certainly not blasphemous as you suggest. Only creativity with a pencil & a mind. Nothing to do with religion.

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  • Umer
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Muslim superhero, someone who believes in death punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, like Mumtaz Qadri? Who is looks forward to such a hero?

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  • BRUISED INDIAN
    Sep 7, 2012 - 6:51PM

    emphasized textGeoff Johns, who writes the Green Lantern series, said Baz’s character was part of an effort to diversify the universe of superheroes.

    Apart from appeasement the author / creator seems to have a very solid economic reason to tap into the 1.5 billion and counting Islamic Population of the world.

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  • saad
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:05PM

    everyone here is right!this is blasphemy.we should not read it because it was created by a non-muslim.Lets just throw everything out that was created by non-muslims.throw out your mobile,televison,laptop,home phones,cars….damn even electric bulbs!they are all jewish and western inventions.what is wrong with you people!!=/

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  • webwiz
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:39PM

    “Do people actually realize this is balshphemy? In Islam there is no room for wizardry black magic and the supernatural. That is only in the hands of Allah and his Prophet (SAW). This comic should be banned in Pakistan else who knows how many innocents will have to suffer”

    Here come the guardians of the faith. Let the book burnings and riots begin. And we wonder why the ummah is isolated in the rest of the world.

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  • PakistaniCanadian
    Sep 7, 2012 - 8:52PM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:

    “Do people actually realize this is balshphemy? In Islam there is no room for wizardry black magic and the supernatural. That is only in the hands of Allah and his Prophet (SAW). “

    Wizardry, black magic and the supernatural was in the hands of the Prophet??? Do you actually realize you just blasphemed?

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  • webwiz
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:33PM

    @Moise:
    It seems like most muslims read the Quran reactively (i.e. to use it to find flaws with others) than proactively (to use it to do good onto others). Can you honestly say that a pious person follows all the recommendations in the holy book? Is it even possible to do so?
    @Whatsoever
    Pls. read the article again carefully. It talks about creating a new Arab-American super hero. Not a muslim hero. Surely you dont believe that all Arab-Americans are necessarily muslims? What about Jewish or Christian arabs?

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  • Ozymandias
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:47PM

    @JB: Bro, don’t let the trolls get u riled up. Remember that the Black Lanterns feed on emotion

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  • ur fan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 4:58PM

    @Zaid Hamid:
    hahaha, best comment so far.

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  • Avatar
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:52PM

    Its just a comic people, take it easy!

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  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:35AM

    ET, kindly publish my comment on splitting of the moon.

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  • Umer
    Sep 9, 2012 - 11:54AM

    @ King Kong
    Please visit the dictionary and read the meaining of blasphemy. Black magic is a major sin in islam not blasphemy.

    Blasphemy – google dictionary
    “The act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.”

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  • zain
    Sep 10, 2012 - 5:37PM

    i was just reading this new superhero and suddenly i saw the first comment accusing of blasphemy. I scrolled up again to confirm was it the same article i was reading or sth about burning of quran. I guess people are just nowadays obsessed with blasphemy..

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  • Azi
    Sep 24, 2012 - 3:25AM

    @Sir King Kong Bunty:

    Let your blasphemy have a little rest. Honestly try to have a little tolerance in yourself. We have all seen what this blasphemy stuff has brought to Muslims all around the world.

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