These Pakistani superheroes have been patrolling the streets of social media
DUBAI: As an honest fan of the superhero genre, the previous five months have been hard. Iron Man’s exit seems like a yesterday that’ll stay with you till tomorrow. It has, perhaps it will.
To use clichés with an iron hand, the end of Avengers: Endgame was nothing short of marvellous. And while we wallow in our misery, MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) announced a fourth spell of films, including a new superhero, Ms Marvel. That’s some relief.
Ms Marvel – aka Kamala Khan – is a Pakistan-American Muslim teenager and her inclusion in the MCU was long overdue. Now, that’s some hope.
While Marvel’s hunt for its latest vigilante has already begun, a set of superheroes doing rounds on Twitter has turned that hope into excitement.
Marvi is a Sindhi school teacher by day and a vigilante by night. She dons a shirt with a traditional Rilli print and goes about seeking justice, and the best part is that she is not alone in this list of local superheroes.
“Marvi is a part of a team of twelve superheroes,” creator Umair Najeeb tells The Express Tribune. “I plan to reveal each character, every couple of days.”
Umair, a 25-year-old visual artist definitely knows his craft. This series of Pakistani superheroes isn’t his first project. He has earlier designed posters for multiple feature films such as Pinky Memsaab, Chupan Chupai, Thora Jee Le and Kataskha.
The project is inspired by another series of illustrations he made for a project in which six designs of a beverage can represent six regions in Pakistan. “It was really, really well received and since I always wanted to work on superheroes, the character of Marvi just clicked. And then the list grew longer and longer.”
Umair has so far introduced four other team members:
A low-key nawab and a crime-fighter, like his name he is a sandstorm; travelling over two centuries in time to come and save his city in shambles.
A quirky Pakhtun hacker girl from Swat has the ability to tell the future. She is the youngest member of the team. Mischievous and clever, Buzz (as she likes to be called) is a 16-year-old tech-savvy student. Using her precognitive visions, she is trying to change the course of what is to come.
Reckless and short-tempered, Shahvez and Shahnawaz are twins with extreme hate for each other and newly discovered ability to manipulate electricity; a power they can’t contain. Hot-headed twins from Islamabad and Rawalpindi with electro-kinetic powers are each other’s nemesis and best halves at the same time.
An oddly quiet and mysterious shape-shifter from Gilgit-Baltistan has the ability to morph into a Markhor. Named by natives as ‘Protector of the Mountains’, Afsoon has resurfaced to take down her arch-rival, after centuries of hibernation.
“The series is basically an analogy for representation and inclusiveness. Pakistan has a very rich culture that usually does not get highlighted, or even if it does, it isn’t enough. I want to bring that to the forefront with new and engaging content,” says Umair.
“You won’t just see tall, fair skinned, chisel jawed, perfect bodied characters. You’ll see people from all races, and in all shapes and sizes. That’s the inclusiveness I want to show,” he says. “And the third layer is of them being Pakistani and fighting for Pakistan.”
The aim, however, is not to limit these characters to specific backgrounds and cities.
“I want Bazira to appeal to all tech-savy people and not just the Pukhtun girls. So when I talk about inclusion, I mean that for the audience as well. I want to target everyone out there.”
Asking about what the future holds for his characters, Umair reveals, “For now there will be twelve characters and the first phase you can say would cover their backstories. You’ll however eventually see them coming together later on in the story with a few additional characters.”
The artist hopes to launch a comic book by the end of this year and we are as excited as you!
Source: The Express Tribune