Superheroes inspired by Islam
In “THE 99,” Naif Al-Mutawa’s new generation of comic book heroes fight more than crime — they smash stereotypes and battle extremism. Named after the 99 attributes of Allah, his characters reinforce positive messages of Islam and cross cultures to create a new moral framework for confronting evil, even teaming up with the Justice League of America.
Wonder How THE 99 Comics Are Created?
It all starts with an idea. Maybe the idea is about a certain character or a type of story that we want to tell. Sometimes, the creator of THE 99 generates the ideas for our stories but other times one of our writers or editors has a story that they’d like to tell or even read! An editor oversees the entire production process of the comic book, from discussing the direction of the story with the creator or publisher to hiring the various artists who will work on the book. Almost all of the people who work on our comic books are freelancers; this means they work from their own home or studio rather than in one of Teshkeel’s offices.
Once an idea has been approved, it slowly takes shape by first becoming a script. A script provides written direction from a writer to the artists who draw the comic book stories. The writer explains what action will take place in each panel and provides the dialogue and sound effects that will accompany that image.
A copy of the script gets sent to the penciler, an artist who adapts the writer’s words into action-filled images. A penciler must be able to draw just about anything from airplanes, buildings and cars to jungles, futuristic machinery and super-powered people with extraordinary abilities. Using a pencil, the penciler draws on a large piece of paper called an art board. Each page is broken down into panels that tell the story sequentially (in order). The penciler uses his drawing abilities to stage the pacing, frame the action and create the mood of the story.
Once the penciler has finished drawing, the pages are sent to the inker. The inker applies black ink to the penciler’s artwork with a pen or brush. This provides the dark lines that are necessary for the printing process. The inker does his best to enhance what the artist has penciled. The inked artwork gets scanned into a computer.
Working from a scan of the inked artwork the colorist provides the color that can add life and mood to the black and white artwork. Our colorists use a computer program called Adobe Photoshop. This program allows them to create a wide range of coloring effects that best enhance the action atmosphere of the story.
While the artwork is being colored, another process is also taking place; again, working from a scan of the artwork, a letterer is creating the speech balloons, captions and sound effects that add to the visual imagery.
When all these processes are complete, a production artist works on the computer to bring each piece together to create a finished computer file that the printer can work from. The editor reviews the files and finally sends them off to the printer.