Thursday, April 15, 2010

"We don't even have science fiction"

There’s a new Muslim comic book/TV series trying to sweep the world these days. It’s called The 99. The basic premise: there are 99 superheroes, each one named after one of the 99 Names of Allah. For example, the hero named “Sami the Listener” has the power to hear everything. In the interests of mass market appeal, the characters are all from different countries. (The American hero is in a wheelchair….) And they travel in groups of threes so as not to offend the strict sharia folks who don’t like girls and boys mingling alone.

I think it’s a neat idea, in a Pokemon kind of way. It’ll appeal to the obsessive collectors. But what blew me away was a comic-book buff’s offhand statement in an interview with the Atlantic: “This culture doesn’t understand the importance of comics,” he explained. “…Most writers write about social or political issues. We don’t even have science fiction.”

Um, there is no science fiction in the Middle East? Is this TRUE? I’ve never seen any, but that doesn't mean anything. At the very least, this guy is a “comic book enthusiast”. Am I completely American saying this: how can you not have science fiction? That’s like missing a head.

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