Tuesday, December 29, 2009

josiah x

Actually, I "just" realized that Marvel comics already does have a Muslim version of Captain America, namely Justice (Josiah X / Josiah Bradley / Josiah al hajj Saddiq) who is explicitly modelled on Malcolm X. He primarily appeared in a short-lived title called The Crew. (Hmmm, I may have to take a trip to the comic book store soon). His powers derive from the fact that he is the son of the original "Black" Captain America, Isaiah Bradley, a Black soldier who participated in an attempt to create a super-soldier serum, reminiscent of the Tuskeegee experiment. In contrast to Colonel Abdul al-Rahman, Josiah / Justice is actually a clergyman, so he is definitely a Muslim in a theological sense, and not merely in some socio-political sense.

Monday, December 28, 2009

from hieroglyphics to superheroes...

Just one of the more memorable speeches from the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable:

I've come to believe that comics are our last link to the ancient way of passing on history. The Egyptians drew pictures on walls about battles, and events. Countries all around the world still pass on knowledge through pictorial forms. I believe that comics, just at their core now... have a truth. They are depicting what someone, somewhere felt or experienced. Then of course that core got chewed up in the commercial machine and gets jazzed up, made titillating -- cartooned for the sale rack.

- Mr. Glass / Elijah Price / (Samuel L. Jackson)

draft script for Unbreakable

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the 99 revisited / the liberators

Lately I've been thinking again about graphic novels in general and some Muslim characters in particular.

On the one hand, there is the comic book The 99 which I've blogged on before. The premise is that there are 99 mystical gemstones scattered around which endow the person who possesses it with a power or ability related to one of the traditional 99 names of Allah. The comic book has existed for a while but apparently they are in the process of upgrading from a comic book series to an animated format:

The 99 Homepage

Planet Grenada's past
the 99
female, muslim and mutant
pride of baghdad

On the other hand, in the Ultimate Marvel universe there is the character of Colonel Abdul al-Rahman (a kind "Muslim" version of Captain America) of the Liberators (who are a Third World, morally ambiguous version of the Avengers/Ultimates). Abdul al-Rahman is an Azerbaijani youth from Iran who is moved to volunteer for a super-soldier program when Captain America and the Ultimates participate in a U.S. invasion of the Middle East. There is no indication that the character is religious but is arguably "Muslim" in a political sense.

File:Abdul Al-Rahman (Earth-1610).jpg
The Liberators have a short career in the Ultimate Universe (They just appear in the Ultimates trade paperback "Grand Theft America". And while some of their members were inspired by pre-existing characters from the standard Marvel universe, Colonel Abdul Al-Rahman was not. But it would be interesting to see if his character would be developed further in the standard continuity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

funeral blues

Funeral Blues
by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

inside cuba; guerrilla blogging

In These Times: INSIDE CUBA: Guerrilla Blogging by Orlando Pardo Lazo

guantanamo is hell on earth

AFP: Guantanamo 'hell on Earth', says Somali detainee

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

immortal technique interview

Freeicecream.net: Immortal Technique Interview by Prop Anon.
This interview covers Immortal Technique's latest album, an orphanage he started for Afghan children, 9/11, the nature of religious faith, and higher education.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

black is the new white

I'm also in the middle of Paul Mooney's memoir Black is the New White. I've been following Paul Mooney's career for a while so, to be honest, I haven't found much of it shocking or new. But it is still a good read. Mooney has some interesting things to say about the racial politics behind the scenes in Hollywood.

The Griot: Paul Mooney's 'Black Is the New White' is an ode to Richard Pryor
NPR's Talk of the Nation: Black is the New White

Planet Grenada's past:
"it makes my teeth white" - paul mooney
"i like a little salt on my cracker"
"homie don't play that"
okay, maybe he was wrong on this one
word association
richards' racist rant
richards' racist rant (part 2)

[Dec 11, 2009]
I also should have added
negrodamus 1
brian gumbel (sic) is looking like malcolm x?
negrodamus 2

sufi rapper: the spiritual journey of abd al malik

In the middle of... Sufi Rapper The Spiritual Journey of Abd al Malik about a French-born African Muslim who follows a spiritual path.
Sufi Rapper

Here is an excerpt

Saturday, December 05, 2009

project censored: top 25 censored stories for 2010

I recently saw the newest Project Censored book, Censored 2010, over at Barnes and Noble today and was sorely tempted to buy it until I realized that the stories were probably also available online. "Enjoy"

Top Censored Stories of 2009/2010

See also:
project censored
censored stories