In an unprecedented move that would have seemed impossible only a year ago, DC topliners Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are teaming up with The 99, a group of Islamic comic book heroes created by the Kuwaiti-based Teshkeel Media.  The 99, who don’t wear disguises, are ordinary people who develop one of the Qur’an-inspired 99 attributes of Allah after coming into contact with mystical gems infused with power and wisdom.  According to the Wall St. Journal, Teshkeel is selling nearly a million copies of The 99 comic books, which are created with help from a team of comic pros including Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore, Dan Panosian and John McCrea, across the Middle East and South Asia every year.


DC’s President and Publisher Paul Levitz told the UK’s Guardian newspaper: “It is a long-standing tradition for characters to meet others in the fictional world, and over the years a lot of the superheroes have been translated into Arabic, taking on ethnic elements. But this is a nice step forward. The most difficult creative test is when you are working with the least precedent and when you're trying to reach an audience that has a different cultural bias and different interests.”


The mini-series featuring this cross-cultural crossover is due out in comic shops around the world within a year, providing certain problems such as Wonder Woman’s skimpy costume can be solved to the satisfaction of all involved.  The founder of Teshkeel Media, Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, told The Guardian that he is not sure yet how the crossover will come together, “Are we going to have them working together from day one, or will they think the other is the enemy?  Enemy number one is fear. You could open it with Obama's speech [in Cairo] with the two sets of superheroes watching it and having different reactions. There's plenty of possibilities.”


In addition to comics, The 99 is soon to appear in its own cartoon series (see “The 99 Gets Cartoon Series”).