While guest appearances in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and SAVAGE DRAGON, among many other comics, helped President Obama become as sure-fire a sales enhancement as a variant cover by Jim Lee, an actual comic book publisher has done them all one better by getting a real life shout-out from el presidente: Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, founder of Teshkeel Comics, was praised in a speech at Monday’s Summit on Entrepreneurship conference:
“I have to say, perhaps the most innovative response was from Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait, who joins us here tonight. … His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam. After my speech in Cairo, he had a similar idea. So in his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts. And I hear they’re making progress, too.”
According to CNN, Mutawa was “treated like a rock star” with people lining up for his comic book like business cards.
THE 99, an Islamic-themed superhero group is Teshkeel’s best known project, published in several countries in the Middle East and planned for a cartoon and theme park spin-offs.
While this was the closest encounter comics have recently had at the White House, NPR reporter Ari Shapiro was simultaneously trying to stir up comment by passing along a copy of Devil’s Dues’ BARACK THE BARBARIAN to White House spokesman Bill Burton who responded:
“I liked it because it had few words and lots of pictures, which made it easy to understand.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.