Comics are for everybody — even Muslims! You all know about The 99, Naif al-Mutawa’s ongoing attempt to create heroic archetypes for Middle Eastern youth. They have their own theme park and cartoon in development and everything and got a shout out from President Obama earlier in the year for helping bring people together.
But there’s a new bunch of heroes on the way, WaPo reports this time springing directly from some of the violence in the region. Last month, the Open Hands Initiative, a philanthropic organization, brought together disabled young Americans and Syrians to create some superheroes. The result is a boy in a wheelchair with superpowers. Who happens to be Muslim. Having lost his legs in a landmine accident, The Silver Scorpion will now fight for peace.
Sharad Devarajan’s Liquid Comics will launch the actual comic in November. It’s actually a pretty heartwarming story:
“The opening question we asked the kids was if you could have any superpower what would it be? I’ve asked that question in many different groups before and the typical answers are always the ones you’d expect – flying, reading minds, or being super strong,” Devarajan said.
“The fascinating thing about this group was that I don’t think I heard any one of those three,” he said.
So all seems peaceful enough, with targeted comics for different regions and populations, right? But — shock, surprise — some people think that The 99 are here to indoctrinate American kids. Adrian Morgan editor of Family Security Matters, warns that these comics may be dangerous — not so much because of their well-intentioned aim to promote greater tolerance — but because the President singled them out for promoting tolerance!
However, no matter how edifying the comic books may be for Muslim families, it is bizarre to see the President of the United States endorsing such religiously-inspired products, because they upheld the “teachings and tolerance of Islam.” The POTUS should normally be upholding the Establishment Clause of the Bill of Rights, and not be promoting a particular faith, but this president seems to think his desire to create good feelings in Muslims over-rides his need to abide by the First Amendment.
AND, The 99 cartoon is going to be on The Hub, a kids TV network launching this fall, and that’s even worse:
The new media outlet, called The Hub, will officially start airing on October 11, with veteran broadcaster Margaret Loesch running the schedule. And on the schedule of The Hub network will be an animated series called “The 99”, which will bring to life the Islamic cartoon superheroes. This is the first time that I am aware of where a religious cartoon series has been broadcast and aimed at the general viewing public.
Wow. Good thing Morgan never heard of THIS total religious propaganda!
Davey and Goliath was a stop motion cartoon produced in the 1960s by the Lutheran Church in America just for kids to watch on Sunday mornings! Goddamn those Lutherans and their plot to undermine America. Luckily, today we remember Davey and Goliath not as the pilot program for ruining America through religious indoctrination, but as a showcase for Art Clokey animation and the inspiration for about 5 million profane parodies.
And in case you can’t see through the sarcasm in this post, it’s worth pointing out that The 99, or at least what we’ve read about it, isn’t about promoting Islam as a religion so much as showing characters who ARE Muslim. Remember when that was okay, so long ago?
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.