Faster Than a Speeding Camel

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A Princess of Darkness, a time-travelling pharaoh and an ancient Arabian swordsman are among the superheroes of a new comic book – the first to be designed specifically for the Middle East.
And what is this guy? Chopped liver?
Aya, Zein, Jalila and Rakan are the heroes of Egypt-based AK Comics’ Middle East Heroes.
 
The comic, published in both Arabic and English, sees them entrusted with keeping the region out of the hands of evil following 55 years of war between two unnamed superpowers.
 
“I believe that having superheroes, or superhuman beings, is an essential need – just like God,” the AK Comics’ managing editor Marwan Nashar told BBC World Service’s Outlook programme.
 
“We need to believe in a higher being that will be there for help, and can affect change on his own. There is a global and human need for that.”
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Middle East Heroes, in keeping with many popular Western comic books, has a message of tolerance.
 
“In essence it’s all about good versus evil, and good eventually triumphs,” Mr Nashar explained.
 
“They have their own ways and their own villains to encounter, and eventually succeed through hardships.”
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What is notable about Middle East Heroes is that the female models are at least as powerful as their male counterparts. Jalila is most powerful character in terms of abilities.
 
“We really wanted to assess gender equality by creating two male characters and two female characters – and making them equal,” Mr Nashar said.
 
He added that this strategy had been well-received, especially amongst women, who read the comic books in disproportionately large numbers.
Sounds like a great idea, especially since it promotes tolerance. At least I hope so.
Meanwhile many of the stories reflect events in the modern world in this key region. The heroes’ enemies include the United Liberation Force and the Zios Army, who are “still clinging to their extreme views”. Both enemies want complete control the City of All Faiths.
United Liberation Force = United States?
Zios Army = Zionist Army?
City of All Faiths = Jerusalem (!)
 
Update: And there’s this reference to Dimona:
Jalila is embed with powers that were acquired after she was exposed to the Dimondona blast when she was 16, and at the end of the 55-Year War. She was the only survivor in this blast, thanks to a radiation suit designed by her father.

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, David Lange is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.