AK Comics is a publishing company based in Egypt and founded by Dr. Ayman Kandeel in 2002. This publishing company is significant because it is focused on publishing comics that feature Middle Eastern superheroes. The comics are printed in both English and Arabic and sold in many different regions. No major changes are made between the different versions of the comics, however some negligible changes were made to the appearance and costumes of the superheroines due to conservative concerns in certain areas in the Middle East. The first issues of the comics were printed in 2004 and the readership seems to predominantly consist of young teenage boys.

There are currently four superheroes being published by AK Comics: Zein, Aya, Jalila, and Rakan.  Zein, “The Last Pharaoh,” is a mild and meek philosophy professor when he is not fighting the forces of evil with his superpowers. Aya, “The Princess of Darkness” is a law student who took up her hood to fight crime to avenge her father using only her wits and gadgets. Jalila is a nuclear scientist who gained many different superpowers, including flight and controlling radiation, through a nuclear blast and now uses them to protect the “City of All Faiths.” Rakan is an invincible warrior who battles the armies of a medieval fantastic land.

AK Comics offers some unique characteristics in both in setting and character. Zein, Aya, and Jalila all inhabit a world set in the near future after a great 55-year war. In this world people of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian faith all live together and subsequently face the same threats of crime and supervillains. Using the future as the setting for these stories helps to set AK Comics apart from other Middle Eastern popular fiction, which tends to center on the past. The treatment of women in the comics has also caught the attention of readers and critics: Jalila is often deemed the most powerful of the four superheroes, and both she and Aya take center stage wearing skin tight costumes and fighting evil. Though the worlds they inhabit are meant to represent the Middle East and confront social issues, there is no mention of any character’s religion in the comics. The explicit absence of faith was, according to Dr. Ayman Kandeel, a way to keep one belief from looking better than another.

Christian Mata

Further Reading

  • Radford, Bill. “Middle Eastern Superheroes on Mission to Bridge Social Gap.” The Gazette [Colorado Springs, CO] 19 Mar. 2006: n. pag. Newspaper Source. Web. 6 May 2015.
  • “Middle East Gets First Superheroes.” BBC News. BBC, 7 Mar. 2005. Web. 6 May 2015.