|Publication date||August, 2007|
|Writer(s)||Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa
|Creator(s)||Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa
The series is a creation of Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, founder and C.E.O. of Teshkeel Media Group. The creative team for The 99 is composed of comic book industry veterans such as Fabian Nicieza, Stuart Moore, June Brigman, Dan Panosian, John McCrea, Ron Wagner, Sean Parsons and Monica Kubina– all of whom have worked at both Marvel and DC Comics.
Although the series is based on Islamic concepts, it is promoted as appealing to universal virtues, and the religion of each character is not made explicit.
An Origins Preview was first published in the Middle East in May 2006, followed by the same issue printing in the USA in July 2007 99 #1 printed in September, 2006 within the Middle East, and was published as First Light in August 2007. Subsequent issues printed monthly to 99 #7 within the USA and is ongoing monthly internationally. Indonesian and Indian editions are ongoing on a monthly basis.
DC have revealed that they are planning a Justice League crossover mini-series with the 99.
Members of The 99 are ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe, who come into possession of one of the 99 mystical Noor Stones (Ahjar Al Noor, Stones of Light) and find themselves empowered in a specific manner. All dilemmas faced by The 99 will be overcome through the combined powers of three or more members. Through this, The 99 series aims to promote values such as cooperation and unity throughout the Islamic world. Although the series is not religious, it aims to communicate Islamic virtues which are, as viewed by Dr. Al-Mutawa, universal in nature.
The concept of The 99 is based on the 99 attributes of Allah. Many of these names refer to characteristics that can be possessed by human individuals. For example – generosity, strength, faithfulness, wisdom are all virtues encouraged by a number of faiths.
In compliance with Islamic tradition, the Arabic version of the aliases of each of the 99 is written without the definite article “Al-“, because use of this precise form is exclusive to Allah. This serves to remind that The 99 are only mortals, and sets them as human role models, with their qualities and weaknesses.
Those of the 99 who have been revealed thus far are:
- Jabbar, The Powerful;
- Noora, The Light;
- Darr, The Afflicter;
- Jami, The Assembler;
- Widad, The Loving;
- Fattah, The Opener;
- Mumita, The Destroyer;
- Raqib, The Watcher;
- Bari, The Healer;
- Sami, The Listener;
- Musawwira, The Organiser;
- Hadya, The Guide;
- Rafie,The Lifter;
- Baqi, The Everlasting;
- Baeth, The Sender.
A character known as Batina the Hidden has also been mentioned in interviews as an example of the variety of depictions of female characters in the comic – she will be the only one wearing a burqua out of the 40 female characters in the main cast.
Given that villain Rughal has one of the Noor Stones, and based on what was revealed so far about his story (mysteriously resurrected and ageless), he is likely to be Hei, The Ever Living.
As well as being published in English and Arabic in print form it is also available for download online via Qmags.
The first of five planned 99-based theme parks opened in Kuwait in March 2009. An animated series is in production, and Teshkeel Comics signed a multimillion dollar deal with Endemol to produce the series.
- ^ ‘Why I created Islamic super heroes’, BBC, July 2, 2009
- ^ Frontline/World Report on the 99
- ^ Origins Preview at the Comic Book DB
- ^ First Light at the Comic Book DB
- ^ The Justice League and The 99 to Join Forces in Upcoming Mini-series, The Source, DC Comics, July 2, 2009
- ^ DC Comics’ superheroes join forces with characters inspired by Allah, The Guardian, July 5, 2009
- ^ The 99 Goes Online, Broken Frontier, July 2, 2007
- ^ Islamic Superheroes Going Global, Time, August 5, 2008
- ^ Endemol Adapting THE 99 Comic Books for TV
- Official website
- The 99 Animation
- Comics to Battle for Truth, Justice and the Islamic Way, The New York Times, January 22, 2006
- Superheroes Powered on Islam, The Washington Post, February 8, 2006
- Muslim (not Marvel) superheroes, The Guardian, March 27, 2006
- Holy Superhero!, The Gazette, May 6, 2006
- Previewing Teshkeel’s The 99, Newsarama
- Reinventing Superman FLYP Media
- Kuwaiti Entrepreneur Hopes to Create the Next Pokémon, Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2008
- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s ‘The 99’ Newshour, March 20, 2009