Earlier this year a kids program began airing on Pakistani TV with a novel twist on superhero genre:
Burka Avenger stars a girls’ school teacher who dons a burka to combat a cast of Taliban-esque villains with a decidedly conservative view of the appropriate role of women in society (the show contains clear parallels to Malala Yousafzai, the young campaigner for girls’ education in Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban). To fight these nemeses, Jiya, the star of the show, employs a novel form of marshal arts that utilizes only books and pens. The message is clear: The pen is mightier than the sword.
On this blog, I try to cover both serious and amusing. This week’s topic is both.
Superheros are big business. Since 2008, the highest grossing film of the year has been a superhero film as often as not. The billions of pounds these films have made reflect millions of people watching them and with that a significant cultural influence. The Burka Avenger is just the latest example of these characters being used to discuss a significant issue. And while there have been many foreign imitations of them, they remain a fundamentally American totem and a means of spreading a distinctly American view of heroism.
Look out for posts on:
- Which comic inspired electronic tagging
- The first director to bring Batman to the screen
- Superman’s religion
- The real-life superheros
- The best improvisation ever
- Batman and guns
Note of thanks:
As I’ve never read a comic book in my life, I’m only able to do this series because I’ve been able to pick the brain’s of someone whose read literally thousands of them. So a big thanks to my good friend Sam Willis for providing quite a number of these facts.