Another great post from ComicsAlliance underscoring the appauling trend of indignation about the inherent dangers of reading about the muslim faith (or characters who are possibly muslim or from middle eastern countries in this case)--->children converting to Islam----> America under sharia law!!! The terror! The panic! The McCarthy era scare tactic!
Its not the best leap of logic in the universe to object to the use of characters from a geographic region of the world loosely associated with a religion that is not uniformly associated with deplorable acts of terrorism (extremism occurs in any religion and culture). Its an even bigger facepalm when reactionary right wing media pundits are doing so BEFORE knowing anything about the actual stories, characters or plot of said story.
From what I can tell, the 99 is a comic story about a group of super heroes that come from the Islamic cultures and vary broadly (as a lot of world cultures are influenced by Islam in some way) that intends to add nuance to a largely hegemonic comic book genre. Interchangeably bland silver age characters your thing? Stick with with the great American boyscout-Superman (though his is the ultimate immigration story, with the boy from another world being adopted and acculturated to "Truth, Justice and the American way"). The mere fact that stories about characters who are Muslim are accessible does not mean that anyone is forcing a particular culture on anyone. Should someone read it, and by proxy glean some residual understanding of cultures outside your own (arguably), all the better, but is a safe bet that learning about something or someone different from their own culture in a comic book or cartoon is not going to automatically make your children run off to join the Taliban. Is it troubling to anyone else that certain segments of society are treating information, awareness and diversity as though its some sort of contagious disease? The fearmongering and kneejerk angry mobbing this perhaps skewed idea of Islam is even more problematic when we stop to think that there are large numbers of Muslim Americans in this country who a.) do not practice Sharia Law and have no desire to and b.) moved to or live in the US of A for a REASON, and despite having a faith that differs in some ways from Christianity, are just as thankful for the freedoms bestowed on the American citizenry as any flag waving conservative. Its more likely that governments that enforce and codify sharia law are problematic, not the entirety of Islam itself. Any suggestion otherwise seems tone deaf and blithely oblivious to the world around us comics like this are attempting to diversify. Its entirely possible this is going to be a shoddy comic (as I'm not sure about the art or script so far) but its heart is 100% in the right place. While people from the Midwest travel to Manhattan to protest against "them terrorists" and "protect" a city they feel are decadent, sinful and elitist any other time, I think more knowledge and awareness is just what we need. And fast.
In other news: Wednesday =New Comic Book Day! Marvel Solicits for January 2011 are out. Some story lines like "the Age of X" are in the works that at the moment look pretty vague. Oliver Coipel is mentioned, so vague, but damn pretty. What's looking sweet?
UNCANNY X-MEN #532
Written by MATT FRACTION & KIERON GILLEN
Pencils & Cover by GREG LAND
When your very body is betraying you, and you see life leaking out of your friends drop by drop, what would you give up for the cure? Cyclops discovers what the Sublime Corporation wants. Can he afford to pay it? Meanwhile, Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw reminisce over old times VIA THE STRONG LANGUAGE OF PUGILISM. Part 3 (of 5)
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Emma. Sodding. Frost. and hell, any comic solicit that uses the word "pugilism" gets some love from me.