Sunday, January 02, 2011

professor imam and the squadron supreme

Professor Imam
Speaking of comic books, I've recently started to get into the Squadron Supreme especially in their more recently rebooted incarnation. The characters aren't well known but the concept behind them is interesting. Basically they are Marvel Comic's revisioning of /parody of /homage to /commentary on the major DC Comic superheroes. Their names and costumes are different enough that the probably won't raise copyright issues, but their powers and back stories are similar enough that the intention is clear.

Both the original and the rebooted characters explore the dark side of the superhero concept. For example, an important storyline involving the original Squadron had them try to turn the U.S. into a crime-free utopian society and ended up creating a police-state.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if he's explicitly described as Muslim, but taking a leap based on his name, the original Squadron Supreme character Professor Imam may be one of the earliest Muslim superheroes in either Marvel or DC. I haven't yet seen him appear in the rebooted Squadron but I hope he shows up. It would probably allow for some good political stories.

In the rebooted version, "Superman" (Hyperion) is initially found by farmers but eventually Truman Show-ed by the U.S. government who want to make sure he grows up patriotic and compliant. Instead of there being a single token Black superhero, both "Batman" (Nighthawk) and "the Flash" (the Blur) are African-American and have numerous political arguments about their obligations to "the people". In Nighthawk's case especially, his parents were specifically killed by white supremacists, so as an adult he takes a by-any-means-necessary approach to fighting racist and genocidal villains both in the inner-city (primarily Chicago) and in Africa. These are definitely not your grandparents superheroes...

See also:
female, muslim and mutant
naif al-muwata on the 99
josiah x
in brightest day, in blackest night

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