Global Issues

TED Blog exclusive: The continuing saga of The99, superheroes inspired by Islam

Posted by: Emily McManus

Watch video >> Naif Al-Mutawa: Crossover comics: bridges or propaganda?

Exclusive video from TEDGlobal 2011! Following up on his TEDTalk last year, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of comic The99, talks about what happened after his Islam-inspired superheroes met the Justice League of America in a crossover comic. In the US, a backlash against the animated TV show kept it off the air. Critics accused The99 of radicalizing young children. Naif agrees: The99 will radicalize all children — to teach tolerance.

Watch and share and embed this talk, then plan to chat live with Dr. Naif on September 13 at 1pm Eastern time in TED Conversations. His question to you: Can fictional superheroes provide positive role models in children’s lives?

Join the conversation on September 13, 1pm Eastern >>

Comments (6)

  • Tammy J. Crumpton commented on Sep 27 2013

    Comics are a great way to communicate diverse issues that really engage their audiences. Naif Al-Mutawa was recently praised by Barack Obama for his Islamic Comics creation, The 99 which presents Islamic influenced superheroes as a way of combating stereotypes and offering different perspectives on Islam.

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  • Peter Grillet commented on Sep 8 2011

    I can only imagine the frustration being caused by endless delays to this project, rather than pursuing the traditional channel of TV, why not distribute the content in other ways? My friends no longer watch TV shows on TV they all with the exception of 2 watch them online, where they can watch them at their own pace.

    Why not put the shows out as a podcast or within an app? (Granted the age group would not own iPhones but I would happily download episodes onto my Blackberry to entertain my nephew while on long car journeys.)

    What about starting a YouTube channel? Or showing the episodes on your own globally accessible website? – Along side other content like interactive games with the same ideas and characters?

    Eventually once the demand for your series is recognized the TV stations will be begging you for your content because they will know that they are missing out on revenue.