Can you picture an Arab superhero? Mask, cape, super power and the perfect cheesy tagline? What would they look like? What could they do? What would they mean to us and the rest of the world? A lot, we believe.
Take a moment to think about any Arab nation from around the world. Political and social unrest, incredibly diverse, rich history and culture, diaspora and globalisation, industrialism, myth, legend and money! It’s a shock that we don’t already have a full avengers franchise movie deal based on superheroes that should have existed decades ago.
Establishing reasons as to why Arab superheroes exist is easy. But tying to conjure an image of what that super hero could do, what they would look like is a whole other issue to tackle. But who best to answer these questions then an ever growing Arab geek community who know the difference between Marvel and DC superheroes.
CNN’s Inside the Middle East met a group of young, like-minded Arabs who have a passion for comic books and have come together to establish a pop culture community. Brought up on seeing western superheroes, these comic book fans crave an Arab superhero.
The programme meets Saeed Arjumand, a comic book illustrator and owner of Comic Stop store, who speaks about the need to see more nationalities in comics:
“Marvel talked about diversifying all their heroes. Like they want to get rid of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and I think they’re trying to be like this is not a world where it’s like a white playground. It’s a white kid, and a black kid and an Arab kid and a Filipino kid….”
Saeed continues to speak about seeing global representation: …I think it’s nice to see stories from different parts of the world. Take a look at Disney, the princesses. We have Jasmine, we have Moana now, we have Merida. Those are the ones that come to mind. They’re extremely diverse.”
Whilst Saeed praises the increasing diversity he would like to see heroes who are truly representative of the region: “If I see another Arab superhero based on the sand, I’ll shoot someone, kind of a thing, because we had an X-Man actually that was Arab. She was full hijabi. She had the burka and everything, and guess what her superpower was? She could diminish into sand. She creates sand… like come on. That’s racist. The one Arab mutant in the world, and she could control sand? Put an Arab in charge of the ocean. Make Aquaman an Arab.”