By Faiza Saleh Ambah
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Kuwait City - Naif al-Mutawa was in a London taxi with his sister when she asked when he'd go back to writing children's books. Mr. Mutawa, a Kuwaiti psychologist with two doctorates and an MBA from Columbia University, said the question sparked a chain of thoughts:
To go back to writing after all that education, it would have to be something big, something with the potential of Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon that was briefly banned by Saudi religious authorities.
God would have been disappointed by that, he thought; God has 99 attributes, or names, including tolerance. "And then the idea formed in my mind," Mutawa said. "Heroes with the 99 attributes."
He mixed his deep religious faith, business acumen, and firsthand experience with other cultures to create The 99, a comic-book series about superheroes imbued with the 99 attributes of God. Those traits represent one of Islam's most recognizable concepts.
Mutawa's superheroes are modern, secular and spiritual, moving seamlessly between East and West. They come from 99 countries and are split between males and females. They include Darr the Afflicter, an American paraplegic who manipulates nerve endings to transmit or prevent pain. Noora the Light – a university student from the United Arab Emirates – shows people the light and dark inside themselves. They distribute aid to starving Afghan villagers and battle elephant poachers in Africa.
In November 2006, Mutawa's first comic book hit the newsstands.
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Here is the 99 hero website.