VODKA O’CLOCK 1714: A. DAVID LEWIS
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A. David Lewis is on the show for the first time. He opened up about what it means to be Eisner-nominated in a category that’s not about making comics, but writing about comics. We talk about his Muslim characters that people might not be aware of. David himself converted from Judaism to Islam in 2012. However, as a white man, he is aware of his privilege and not being perceived as a threat from passers-by which people of darker skin or Middle Eastern descent have to face.
Kismet is a character from comics’ early days and was in public domain. David saw something endearing in him and decided to continue his stories. This took Kismet to the Broken Frontier anthology where the character resurfaced for the first time since 1944. Kismet is now available online for free at awaveblueworld.com where two pages a week are released. He humbly denies that his religious conversion is the same as coming out as transgender or gay because his appearance and academia allow him to blend in as he always did. To him, he’s not brave at all.
Kismet is an Algerian Muslim superhero who David pulls through time, like Captain America. He was there fighting the Axis powers in the 40s and then comes to America in 2016. Kismet and American Muslim man, Qadar, are connected cosmically. Qadar was just an average guy and suddenly he has to deal with sharing his space with Kismet.
In the new comic, you meet Deena and Rabia, who really come through as equally prominent as Kismet. They’re two intelligent characters who have agency and unique qualities that come through clearly.
The KISMET team has created a gorgeous series so far from pencils to colors to letters. Noel Tuazon was an Eisner-nominated artist before coming on board for the Broken Frontier short story. The colors and rich, earthy pallet from Rob Croonenborghs bring warmth to the pages. Then we have the genius of lettering, Taylor Esposito, who took over a series regular. Taylor was recently nominated for a Mike Wieringo Award.
The short story from the Broken Frontier anthology will be included in the 2018 print edition of this KISMET series.
MUSLIM SUPERHEROES: COMICS, ISLAM, AND REPRESENTATION is a book David co-edited with Martin Lund about Muslim superheroes and representation. It includes essays from various people.
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The roster of Muslim superheroes in the comic book medium has grown over the years, as has the complexity of their depictions. Muslim Superheroes tracks the initial absence, reluctant inclusion, tokenistic employment, and then nuanced scripting of Islamic protagonists in the American superhero comic book market and beyond.
This scholarly anthology investigates the ways in which Muslim superhero characters fulfill, counter, or complicate Western stereotypes and navigate popular audience expectations globally, under the looming threat of Islamophobia. The contributors consider assumptions buried in the very notion of a character who is both a superhero and a Muslim with an interdisciplinary and international focus characteristic of both Islamic studies and comics studies scholarship. Muslim Superheroes investigates both intranational American racial formation and international American geopolitics, juxtaposed with social developments outside U.S. borders.
Providing unprecedented depth to the study of Muslim superheroes, this collection analyzes, through a series of close readings and comparative studies, how Muslim and non-Muslim comics creators and critics have produced, reproduced, and represented different conceptions of Islam and Muslimness embodied in the genre characters.
CYRIC & SYRIA COMICS:
David started a non-profit organization Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective. It collects comics based on Syrian folklore so that children can read about their own heritage. They’ve raised enough to pay creators for their work emphasizing that non-profit doesn’t mean people work for free.
They primarily raise money on Giving Tuesday (after Black Friday). Eventually, they would like to have kids create their own stories. Razoo.com/cyric
- Syria Comic (CYRIC org)
- A Wave Blue World “KISMET” online for free
- Twitter: @adlewis @kismet1944 @syriacomic @muslimsupes