Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 99

The 99 is a comic book published by Teshkeel Comics, featuring a team of superheroes based on Islamic culture and religion.

The series is a creation of Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, founder and C.E.O. of Teshkeel Media Group. The creative team for The 99 is composed of comic book industry veterans such as Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore, Dan Panosian, John McCrea and Sean Parsons – all of whom have worked at both Marvel and DC Comics.

Although the series is based in Islamic concepts, it is promoted as appealing to universal virtues, and the religion of each character is not made explicit.

Members of The 99 are ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe, who come into possession of one of the 99 mystical Noor Stones (Ahjar Al Noor, Stones of Light) and find themselves empowered in a specific manner. All dilemmas faced by The 99 will be overcome through the combined powers of three or more members. Through this, The 99 series aims to promote values such as cooperation and unity throughout the Islamic world. Although the series is not religious, it aims to communicate Islamic virtues which are, as viewed by Dr. Al-Mutawa, universal in nature.

The concept of The 99 is based on the 99 attributes of Allah. Many of these names refer to characteristics that can be possessed by human individuals. For example – generosity, strength, faithfulness, wisdom are all virtues encouraged by a number of faiths.

In compliance with islamic tradition, the Arabic version of the aliases of each of the 99 is written without the definite article "Al-", because use of this precise form is exclusive to Allah. This serves to remind that The 99 are only mortals, and sets them as human role models, with their qualities and weaknesses.

Those of the 99 who have been revealed thus far are:

  • Noora, The Light;
  • Darr, The Afflicter;
  • Jami, The Assembler;
  • Widad, The Loving;
  • Fatah, The Opener;
  • Mumita, The Destroyer;
  • Raqib, The Watcher;
  • Bari, The Healer;
  • Sami, The Hearer;
  • Soora, The Organiser;
  • Hadya, The Guide;
  • Rafie,The Lifter;
  • Fatah, The Opener;
  • Baqi, The Everlasting.

A character known as Batina the Hidden has also been mentioned in interviews as an example of the variety of depictions of female characters in the comic - she will be the only one wearing a burqua out of the 40 female characters in the main cast.

Mudpie downloaded the free copy and liked the quality of artwork. The story is not bad, either, and has the look and feel of a Marvel comic. Great things : the girls are not dressed in revealing costumes that is the usual in comics, and the heroes are multiracial, with an Indonesian and a Filipino hero. Also, the girls kick their own share of ass, not like the wimpy tudung-clad Malay girls in Malaysian comics. Apparently this is banned in Saudi Arabia - reeeally?

1 comment:

dew embun said...


I am reminded of one of my fav cartoon series when I was young(er)...'CAPTAIN PLANET'!!!(I think there are 'Islamic' lessons to be found even in this series, heheh!)

Will surf for the free copy...yummy yum, comics here I come!