Brave superheroes fighting imaginary aliens, witty characters whose dialogues go beyond the entertaining anecdote, and bold heroines breaking all boundaries. These 5 Middle Eastern comics claim a local narrative and offer Arab youth genuine role models to get inspired.
1. Qaheera, the veiled super-heroine who fights sexual harassment with courage and boldness. Egypt’s first-born webcomic hero, the comic was created by Deena Mohamed, a young woman with a clear objective in her mind: showing “how ridiculous it is to need superpowers in order to deal with your daily life [as a woman],” as she says.
2. The 99, Islam-inspired super-heroes, each one of them with a different superpower but all together on a mission to deconstruct stereotypes and fight prejudice. The comics turned into a TV series, which is launching globally this year on Netfix. “Diversity is something that needs to be shown, not told,” said their creator, Naif Al-Mutawa, in an interview with BarakaBits.
3. Aranim, the peace-building comic books created by Suleiman Bakhit who, inspired by the lack of positive role models among children in Jordan, decided to create them from scratch. “Comics are the best technology to cultivate heroic motivation,” he says.
4. Majida’s diaries. Created by Ahmad Qatato, a Jordanian graphic artist based in Italy, the comic series subtly discusses topics like gender identity and societal contradictions through the power of dialogue. Her daily happenings and experiences portray a multifaceted vision of Middle Eastern women, far beyond the stereotype.
5. Torkaizer, the Middle East’s first anime, created by an anime fan who was disappointed at the turn that global series were taking. “I just thought, hey, why not create an Anime that I would want to watch – that my wife or other women would not find offensive?” he tells in an interview with Project Pen. The result is a fascinating series where the Arab world meets the East, through the story of a hero from the UAE as he travels to Japan to fight aliens.