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First Muslim Superhero Returns after 70 Years

SOMERVILLE – As the first Muslim superhero, Kismet started fighting the fascists and Nazis in southern France in 1944 during World War II, and aided the civilians while wearing his unique remarkable yellow fez of Algeria, Religion News reported on December 19.

“The conquered people of Europe carry on their ceaseless struggle against the forces of tyranny,” reads the adventures’ introduction of the Algerian Muslim superhero from Elliot Publications.

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“And fighting by their side, lending the power of his great mind and the force of his mighty fists, is Kismet, Man of Fate.”

Despite its unique success, Kismet was stopped just after four issues. Yet, seven decades later, Kismet is making a comeback in a new graphic novel from the American author A. David Lewis.

Lewis, who has a doctorate in religion and literature, grew up in a Jewish family but converted to Islam in 2006. He was interested in Kismet to address Islamophobia.

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The new story drops Kismet in Boston, the US as the city heals from the aftermath of 2013’s Boston Marathon bombing. Earlier this week, Lewis and the comic store Comicazi published the new novel just a few kilometers north of Boston.

According to Lewis, “Kismet is a reboot of what appears to be the first identified Muslim superhero character published in English. Most Muslims in the Golden Age of comics were written as flat, one-dimensional characters, or in sloppy ways that fed into stereotypes and conflated Muslims”.

Muslim heroes similar to Kismet appeared in 2000 when DC introduced a Turkish character named Janissary whose last appearance was in 2007.

Marvel character Monet St. Croix debuted in 1994 but wasn’t identified as a Muslim character until 2011. In 1995, Marvel introduced a Syrian superhero named Batal and immediately killed him off.

Marvel also introduced the Ms. Marvel series in 2013, or Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Pakistani American Muslim who discovers she has incredible shape-shifting abilities.

The series, very popular among both readers and critics, has won a large number of awards, including the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2015, along with a number of Eisner and Harvey awards.

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