For the first time ever, an Arab-Muslim character, Simon Baz, has been added to the ranks of DC Comics "Green Lantern" series.
Geoff Johns, chief creative officer at DC Comics, created Simon Baz after drawing from his own experiences as an Arab-American. The special character is the first Arab-American superhero to wear the Green Lantern ring. The character and creator are both of Lebanese descent and native to the Detroit, Michigan area, which is one of the largest and oldest Arab communities in the U.S.
"I thought a lot about it – I thought back to what was familiar to me," Johns explained, according to the Associated Press. "This is such a personal story."
Johns revealed that Baz will join the Justice League of America- one of DC Comics most prominent issues- and that the character will fight alongside well-known superheroes including Green Arrow, Catwoman, and Hawkman.
Moreover, Johns said he took economic as well as ethnic experiences from his childhood and incorporated them into Baz's background. The olive-skinned, muscular character is introduced at 10-years-old where he and his Muslim family react to the horrors of the terrorist attack of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. As the story unfolds, the family finds themselves under suspicion and ostracism.
"Obviously, it's affecting everybody," said Johns, who grew up in a Lebanese Christian household. "One of the things I really wanted to show was its effect on Simon and his family in a very negative way."
The Arab-Muslim character is the second attempt for DC Comics to diversify their characters. Earlier this summer, the company announced that the Green Lantern himself was a gay character.
"He's not a perfect character. He's made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable," added Johns of Simon Baz.
"Hopefully it's a compelling character regardless of culture or ethnic background… But I think it's great to have an Arab-American superhero," said Johns. "This was opportunity and chance to really go for it."
On Twitter, "Green Lantern" fans expressed positive reactions to the addition of the Muslim character.
"So Cool," wrote Abdulla, while Callum posted, "Expecting s--- to hit the fan when Fox News finds out the new Green Lantern, Baz, is a Muslim."