"Kwak! Ouch! Please don't kill me! Ah-h-h-h … oink?"
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If a cartoonist wages an anti-jihad campaign featuring a piggish hero, but the New York Times, Rolling Stone and NBC fail to comment – did it actually happen?
Bosch Fawstin may be wondering by now if there is some truth to the old tree-falling-in-the-forest conundrum as he struggles to get his fair share of recognition and publicity in a timely but controversial venture. Fawstin, a "recovering Muslim," artist and writer brings his unique take on Muslim terrorism to the comics with his series "Pigman," which he began a few years back.
Seeing an obvious vacuum left on the field of quickly retreating "superheroes," Fawstin conjured up "Pigman" to save the day.
DC Comics originally supported artist Frank Miller in "Holy Terror, Batman" as Batman battled al-Qaeda after 9/11. But by 2010 Miller announced "it's no longer a DC book," as DC capitulated entirely to the re-education effort as required by shariah law. This was evidenced by moronic statements of fellow writer Grant Morrison, who urged Miller to join the army instead of using "fictionalized characters to fight fictionalized terrorists."
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Duh, Grant, all this time we thought superheroes we're all about-fighting the bad guys – such as when DC sent Hitler packing in the 1940s. Too bad you weren't there to set them straight.
Not going to happen in this war, with Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship in 2011, because he's "tired of his action being construed as American policy."
In defense of Superman though, the character's action follows after our hero joins in protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. True to life, just as Obama gave a curt nod of approval to the murderous regime and questionable election, Superman is scolded by U.S. authorities for acting as an "instrument of national policy." Sympathy for Superman.
Wonder Woman had a sudden attack of modesty at the age of 72, coincidentally just as the Islamic winds were howling at DC Comics. Series writer J. Michael Straczynski also covered up the obvious reason for the costume change with all kinds of rationales. Here's a few: "A look designed to be taken seriously as a warrior;" "a response to many female fans;" historical authenticity, which "reflects her origins in the world of Amazons;" a "tough, elegant street-fighter's look." I can't wait to see what Straczynski will whip up when Islamists demand a full black burqa over Miss WW.
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Now that DC Comics breathes securely beneath their little white flags, Batman has been exiled to Paris with sidekick Robin replaced by a Sunni Muslim immigrant "Bilal" or "NightRunner." The dhimmified "French Savior's" bio comes replete with chip on shoulder and lives in the area that erupts with riots and murder of Jews. "What unholy cr** you've gotten yourself into, Batman!"
Comics Alliance and several other graphic artists and comic production groups chalk the furor over the sudden switch of political loyalties as "racism" – what's new? Someone send them a thesaurus please.
Fawstin remarks on the sudden desire to please Muslims: "At this rate, Superman converting to Islam is inevitable" because Superman, Batman and Wonder Women have all been "pimped out by DC."
Fawstin produced "From DC to PC," a three-part cartoon response to DC Comics allowing Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to be "used by a Muslim comic book publisher in order to sell Islam as something it's not."
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His title may not say it, all but it gives us a good idea of the confrontational, patriotic and deliberately "offensive" nature of his hero, who is out to slaughter as many sacred cows as possible in a few pages of furious warfare. Action begins with two brothers mirroring Fawstin's real-life family situation at 9/11 and the widely divergent paths they took following the attacks.
Brother "Salaam" follows the bloody call to arms as a radical jihadist and gnashes his teeth somewhere. Meanwhile mild-mannered hero Killian Duke creates "Pigman," a counter-jihad superhero as a comic within a comic (or graphic novel) explaining his motives through characters.
Fawstin admits "Pigman," who takes off to fight "Super Jihadist" in the graphic novel's second installment, is a partial projection of himself as well as the mild-mannered cartoonist Killian. The crude, porcine alter-ego assumes a life of his own, gunning for Osama in Afghanistan and avenging the honor of the United States with as much contempt and rage as possible.
Fawstin shares his simmering anger over how Islam is presented to the West in a post in FrontPage Magazine: "Nearly 3,000 victims of jihad on 9/11 haven't been avenged because of respect for religion … a religion that calls for our destruction."
He was born to Albanian Muslim immigrant parents in New York and knows whereof he speaks. Fawstin's wrath over enforced "respect" is clear with a wee bit of racial and religious profiling and other things quite verboten in the West. "Pigman" is indelicate and intentionally insensitive – because as a citizen of a free nation he can be.
Fawstin may appear to be looking for a fight, but he claims he's already has one and so do the rest of us, but we quickly forget. While the war on Islamic terrorism is waged by psychologists wearing kid gloves, he points out how crudely we mocked Nazis and "Japs" in World War II in a global war, which we quickly won. Did racial profiling and outright demonizing our enemies help, and would we have won as easily without it?
Fawstin channels his thoughts in a conversation between Killian and his moderate Muslim friend, "Ahmad," over what constitutes "true" Islam. Acknowledging most of the Muslim community is not at war with us, he notes their "indifference about the evil being committed in the name of their religion" is giving terrorists cover.
"They force us to play a game of Muslim Roulette," the dialogue states, "since we can't tell which Muslim is going to blow himself up until he does."
It must be a little galling to see exactly how well the "pimped out" version of America's superheroes has been received and promoted by standard markets. Not only have the three mega superheroes dropped all apparent loyalty to America, but they are also teamed up with "The 99," a league of Muslim superheroes embodying the 99 names/attributes of Allah (although declared to be "secular").
Dr. Al-Mutawa a Kuwaiti is a clinical psychologist and creator of "The 99," the first group of comic, Islamic archetype superheroes. Al-Mutawa started up in 2006 and now has a literal army of supporters behind him with money from Saudi government, grants and people falling all over themselves to promote "The 99." From its first inception as a cartoon series in graphic form, it was worked into a cartoon now carried by Cartoon Network.
In 2010 the American superheroes known as the Justice League all meekly decided to let Muslims teach them how to "save" the world. Islam is not directly addressed in the stories nor proselytized, except for the names and qualities of the players, which must be important or the Saudis whose main export is Wahabism, would be having none of it.
Forgive me if I sincerely doubt the intentions of Al-Mutawa, the Saudis and many others heaping praise and money on the effort. He claims in a Guardian interview, a desire to "'fix Islam from the inside' by focusing on positive parts of the religion and by inculcating a peaceful, tolerant, multicultural version of Islam to the rest of the world."
I'd really like to believe that but have 99 reasons not to. For instance Al-Mutawa's disingenuous claim that Fox News was putting "a fatwa " on him. Silly man, fatwas are for Muslims! They conceive them, issue them and execute them. Nice smear though, Al-Mutawa.
Then there are the heroes and their qualities: "Battina the Hidden" from Yemen, a place of truly hidden al-Qaeda operatives and funnel for all kinds of arms and terrorism; Mumita "the Destroyer," who inflicts pain supernaturally; "Hadya the Guide," a Pakistani-British teenager in London who memorizes maps and knows where the subway tunnels run. Those qualities are mild compared to some Western comics, but when applied to a group who is currently waging war across the world, it gives pause to wonder.
After feigning fear of rejection and reprisals from hard-core Islamists, Al-Mutawa hasn't stopped raking in the rewards, both monetarily and politically. Forbes Magazine recently named The 99 as one of the top 20 trends sweeping the globe.
Probably the most famed supporter of "The 99" is President Obama himself, who congratulated Al-Mutawa for "capturing the imaginations of young people through the message of tolerance." Al-Mutawa originally fished for the compliment and the President's support when he first unveiled his Islamic superheroes, and he didn't have to wait long.
Kuwait authorities are so thrilled with the success of "The 99" that they created a theme park in their honor in 2009, and more is being planned: movies, a clothing line and all the Disney-type merchandise with a Muslim twist. Al-Mutawa and his creation were featured in a PBS documentary "Wham! Bam! Islam!" The support for keeping Islam moderate is understandable, but the amount of hype and endless congratulation seems unbalanced and a little weird.
In 2011 Al-Mutawa and group released a full-length feature film, "99 Unbound." The film and cartoon both hark back to the 13th century Mongol invasion of Bagdad and the great library the raiders sacked and destroyed. The 99 "save" knowledge in themselves, which is symbolized by the names of Allah.
The opening line of the film: "It is said that all the darkness of the world could be shattered by the light in just one pure heart."
It sounds suspiciously like the opening lines of the Gospel of John, where one pure heart was declared to be available as the "Light of the world" to anyone who wanted it. His promise doesn't appeal to Hollywood or PBS, but this mystical take on Islam apparently does.
Also according to The National newspaper website, anyone who is just a little suspicious of "The 99" meme is a grave threat to freedom. Their headline reads, "Do not let Islamophobes defeat 'The 99' everyday heroes."
I've read the Koran and "The 99" are not recognizable for the most part as originating from its pages, nor is it possible for anyone to "defeat" fictional superheroes, but don't let that stop bad writers.
Fawstin isn't dazzled or in despair by public adulation of "The 99" or the abdication of America's superheroes: "Until 'The 99' are unleashed against jihad, there's no reason to believe that this comic is anything other than Islamic propaganda, and DC Comics is in on it."
Fawstin holds his ground in a personal counter-jihad movement in word and image. He has a relatively small but loyal and admiring public as well as many good reviews. Will he ever grace the cover Rolling Stone or be featured on PBS? He's not holding his breath but was interviewed (by a Muslim) on the Jon Stewart show, which apparently edited the life out of most he what he had to say.
Yet Fawstin says he will continue his unusual method of cultural warfare: "Not only aren't the bad guys getting it in real life, but they aren't even getting what's coming to them in fiction. There's an unnatural vacuum in pop culture that's going to have to be filled, and it looks like Pigman will have to be big enough to fill it up all by himself. For now."
Bosch Fawstin is a cartoonist whose graphic novel, "Table for One," received an Eisner Award nomination. His current work is a graphic novel, "The Infidel," with the first two chapters available as digital comic books. He appeared on "The Daily Show," contributes to Breitbart and other webzines and blogs. His "Andrew Breitbart: Fighter" drawing was auctioned off on Fox News, and Michael Savage has discussed his work on The Savage Nation.