Christian Science Monitor runs an article about ’99′, the Islam-oriented comic book I wrote about last year. The story reports that the comic has been well received in the Islamic world—except in Saudi Arabia, where it is banned, of course. Current publication runs at around 10,000 copies per issue, in Arabic. Distribution is world wide, with about 40% of the press run being sold in Egypt, the article notes. The comic is expected to become available in the US this fall, with a cover price of $2.99.
The Saudi ban—based on religious views, of course—is that as the characters, in emblemizing the 99 names of God, are ‘putting a face on God’, something the strict, conservative version of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia finds blasphemous. I have no doubts, however, that copies are finding their way into the country, just not through government-regulated channels.
A comic about truth, justice, and the Islamic way
Muslim superheroes populate a new comic book designed to entertain â€“ and serve a serious purpose
Megan A. Wong
he year was 1258. Mongol leader Hulegu Khan had invaded Baghdad â€“ a city that was then a pinnacle of civilization and learning. Legend has it that the attackers set their sights on Baghdad’s crown jewel, the Dar al-Hikma library, tossing thousands of manuscripts to a watery doom in the Tigris River.
Fortunately, cunning librarians spirited to safety the precious Noor Stones: 99 gems containing the library’s ancient wisdom. The stones remained hidden in the Muslim kingdom of Granada until 1492, when King Ferdinand’s Spanish army destroyed the mosque housing the gems. The Noor Stones were scattered around the globe, lost for centuries.
Sound melodramatic? Kind of like the plot of a comic book? It is.
Since October, youngsters throughout the Middle East have been discovering the legend of the Noor Stones in a new monthly comic book called “The 99.” The series is inspired by Islamic culture and history â€“ the title refers to the 99 names and traits attributed to God in the Koran â€“ and aims to spread a universal message of teamwork along with plenty of action, adventure, and “kapow!”