x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

An Arab Nightrunner

There's a new hero on the street and he is an Arab.

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's an Algerian Muslim. Nightrunner is his name. DC Comic's newest daredevil has already kicked up a storm, as The National reports today.

Superheroes of old were forged when nations struggled in the aftermath of world war or depression. Young people craved icons for inspiration. DC Comics have again taken up that mantle and ventured onto new turf - proving that in the digital age, comic books and their characters still have relevance.

The Muslim hero has been met with derision from right-wing pundits in the US. "Unfortunately, it's not necessarily on the fringe," said Andy Khouri, the associate editor at Comics Alliance, a comic book blog owned by AOL, of the outcry.

But the naysayers won't keep avid readers of comics at bay. Particularly in this part of the world, comics have inspired a large following from those raised on Japanese anime, with dialogue translated into Arabic. The Middle East Film & Comic Con, held in Abu Dhabi this April, is likely to demonstrate the continued popularity of comics in the Middle East.

Nightrunner is not the first Muslim cartoon superhero, and he won't be the last. Whether it's anti-terrorist plots from G Willow Wilson, DC Comic's first Muslim female writer, or the heroic feats of Dr Naif Al Mutawa's 99 comic book characters, Nightrunner has friends to help save the day.