Editor's Note: The text and brackets below provided courtesy of A. David Lewis. He is a college educator and religious studies scholar and co-editor of Graven Images:Religion in Comic Books and Graphic Novels.
Islam may empower billions worldwide -- but who does it super-empower? You choose!
Fighting supervillains is all the more complicated when one has to stop for salat prayer five times a day. In most cases, mosques can be as convenient to come by as phone booths, and hijabs can get rather snarled in fluttering capes.
But over two dozen characters from Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Teshkeel Media, and other independent publishers serve as superheroes while also living as Muslims. In fact, in many cases, it's their religious identity that leads to their being heroes and their Islamic culture that results in their powers. From Kismet back in Bomber Comics to the newest Green Lantern, American Muslim Simon Baz, Muslim superheroes have fought for truth, justice, and the American way -- and the British way. And the French way. The Egyptian way. The Turkish way. The Afghani way. Basically, they fight for all of us.
So, in the spirit of friendly competition demonstrated by the NCAA's March Madness, we've collected some of the best Muslim superheroes and divided them into four 'divisions': Eight premier heroes from Marvel and its imprints, eight from DC and its brands, eight 'legacy' characters who have fallen in the line of service, and eight of the 'vanguard' protagonists from independent publishers. (Being Muslim, of course, isn't always their main or public trait, so in some cases, we've identified characters who readers have identified as being part of Islam even if their publisher hasn't yet explicitly.) They've fought alongside Superman, the X-Men, Batman, and the Avengers: Who, by your vote, rises to the top?
This is how the tournament works:
- Round one begins today (March 18) -- vote right now! (all 32)
- Round two begins March 25 12 a.m. EDT (sweet 16)
- Round three begins March 30 12 a.m. EDT (elite eight)
- Round four begins April 1 12 a.m. EDT (final four)
- Round five begins April 7 12 a.m. EDT (championship)
- The winner will be announced on April 9
Make sure to vote in all the brackets!