The year after 9/11, Marvel Comics introduced Dust, a Muslim “mutant” (superhuman) member of the famed X-Men, only her eyes visible beneath her full-body burka. Born in Afghanistan, she can change into a blinding, skin-shredding sandstorm. Then there’s M, whose super strength, telepathy, and flight are the least obvious of her attributes (buxom and curvaceous, she’d shame Wonder Woman as an adolescent boy’s fantasy). M debuted in 1994. She revealed this year that she’s Muslim.
Meanwhile, rival publisher DC Comics recently brought out Nightrunner, an Algerian Muslim immigrant recruited by Batman, drawing charges from some American readers that DC is PC. Batman, they groused, should have deputized a native Frenchman.So what's his conclusion re the plethora of Muslims' comic book puissance?
What is clear is that Muslims on the comics pages confront the conundrum of their flesh-and-blood counterparts: their community views them with suspicion. Lewis says non-Muslim heroes wonder, “Can they truly represent the American way? Could they really be on our side? When Dust joins the X-Men, these persecuted American mutants don’t really know if they can trust her. The comic book creators can have it both ways. They can present an altruistic Muslim hero, but also reflect the Islamophobia.”Nah, that's not it. I think it's more of the lure of the exotic, a Rousseauian nostalgie de la boue sort of thing. Also a PC desire to downplay and defang the jihad, and to counter stereotypes for the sake of intercultural harmony. Because it is a small world after all, and the presence of Muslim comic book superheroes confirms that. (Or something along those lines.)
Do I get my doctorate now?
|Marvel Comics' burka babe Dust, all in all a much more appealing 'stereotype' than, say, Foreskin Man's Monster Moil|