Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 99: Muslim Justice League of Avengers ASSEMBLE!

I am posting this with full responsibility and expectations on impending clash of discourse. But here goes.

I came across this article today and let me cut to the chase:
I am a Muslim growing up being fed with Western pop culture media primarily cartoons and comics every morning, and the later half with influences from the Eastern side of the world through anime and manga. Having said that, upon reading about Muslim Superheroes - those two just don't sing. It's not in the culture even. While I love superhero comics to a certain extent, I stand firm that the idea of khaliphs clad in spandex does not fit within the context of Islam.

It's embarrassing to see servants of God with Allah's 99 attributes spreading the Da'wah and Islamic values while they themselves look like they can't be taken seriously. Imagine a superheroine wearing her Hijaab (head scarf) flying around town. Would she take 5 every time for prayers? Perhaps then they can explain about the prayer for Musafir (travellers). Still... *facepalm*

The Japanese have their Ninja and Samurai that they are proud of to this day. The superhero genre has long been a trademark of Western identity. Why not explore and exploit the possibilities of the origins and rich history of Middle Eastern assassins? Ubisoft surely paved the way on giving it a contemporary approach through Assassin's Creed.

Yes, we do believe in supernatural beings in fact Djinns are mentioned in the Qur'an. This is where I would say the approach of Karas - a supernatural being who fights evil in the realm of the spirits, thus can't be seen by the naked human eye - is more suitable and relative. How does punching someone in the gut or emitting a Holy beam to a supposed infidel villain in public make it any different than the terrorist who believe in their attacks?

Coincidently I am also working on a personal comic project regarding this theme of superheroes and Islamic faith by combining both world of Retrojak and Black Light. I spent weeks rationalizing on how to make it work. I agree with an artist friend Corey Lewis' stand on how we should just let lose and enjoy the fun of storytelling. This however just takes it to a different degree. Come on it's already selling the idea of a religious superhero team. A MUSLIM superhero team, no less! If that's not serious then I guess I'm just getting old and becoming more uptight about trivial matters.

With all that said, I understand this is probably one of those novelty business models created to bring down the Islamophobia in the face of the world but... I don't know man, to me it just.. doesn't fly. Regardless, I will contradict myself here by giving a pat in the back to the creator of The 99, Dr.Naif Al-Mutawa for his attempt to perform his Da'wah. President Obama gave a shout-out to this guy in his speech, okay?. He still has my respect, make no mistake about that. Who knows if sales go up then he has proven me wrong.

I may have a sense of humour of an undertaker but Muslim superheroes sounds funny to me.

Link: The 99's Official Site

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Final Fantasy Battle Overture

Direct link to mp3: Battle Overture I (Final Fantasy I Battle Medley) (7:15)

The day I have been waiting for so long has come - I am no longer held back or limited by technology and resources. As a kid I've always wanted to pay tribute to music behind the video games I loved so much. One of which is Final Fantasy. Nobuo Uematsu's music played a pivotal part in bringing the world alive.

Final Fantasy Battle Overture is my pet project, a labour of love I am committing myself to until the end of the year perhaps, where I will be recording my own rendition of all Final Fantasy battle music in the form of a medley.

Launching first is the battle tracks from FF I. The tracks are:
- Battle Scene (default battle)
- Inside a Boss Battle (mid boss)
- Boss Battle (A+B variation)
- Last Battle (with Chaos)

The only original track from FF I for the NES is Battle Scene (the only battle music when it first came out). The rest are taken from the FF I Anniversary re-release for the PSP.

I'm not wasting anymore time to begin arranging the beats for FF II. I honestly can't wait for FF IV (my favourite FF of all time). Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it :)

UPDATE: It's live on Youtube!