A Muslim Teenager Pledges Allegiance… But To Whom?

By Brad Faye and Alexander Martin. Funding Deadline: March 3, 2014. Publishing Date: January 1, 2015. After discovering she has a very unique skill set, a Muslim teenager must decide to whom she wishes to pledge her allegiance.

Brad Faye writes,

There most likely isn't a question which writers are asked more than the age-old adage, "Where do you get your ideas from?"

I can only speak from experience, but just about every time I've been asked that question, my answer is usually a mere shrug accompanied with an, "I don't know." And for the most part, that really is the truth. Either that, or the fact that there were so many influences that I feel guilty taking up the other person's time by elaborating on all of them.

I know where I got the idea for One Nation: Out of Darkness, however. Thankfully, the universe that my partner Alex Martin and I had created for the One Nation mythos had pretty much been fleshed out at this point. And thanks to my newfound fascination of alchemy (a subject that had captured my interest through the manga Fullmetal Alchemist, Paulo Coelho's novel The Alchemist, and the work of Thom F. Cavalli's Alchemical Psychology: Old Recipes for Living in a New World), my objective became to introduce readers to our comic book through the eyes of a character who was undergoing the same experience that I was.

It was around the time that I began to shape this character that I also began to learn more and more about the Islamic religion, and how much the truth conflicted with the ideas I'd conceived following the events of 9/11. As a New York native who was living in Arizona the day of the attacks, I can vividly recall the scare my family went through while making sure our loved ones were safe, and I remember how that fear was quickly replaced by anger. Instead of asking what would lead somebody to do something so heinous, or rather than researching Islam myself, I took the easy road and demanded revenge against those who had the gall to attack us on American soil. And since the terrorists who had physically conducted the attacks were already dead, all I could do was root for vengeance against those who were still among the living. Not helping matters much was that the very first thing I remember seeing after turning on my television that morning was footage of people in Palestine celebrating the attacks. This footage – which came to me courtesy of FOX News – gave me the embodiment to which I could channel my anger and aggression – the Middle East and its dominant religion of Islam. In a very short time, I was drinking the USA Kool-Aid and felt anger towards anyone who wasn't.

Years later, I can only shake my head at my ignorance and be thankful for the enlightenment which I eventually discovered. This is not to say that I no longer love the United States or have given up the idea of it being the greatest nation in the world. What it means is that I will no longer draw conclusions until I have asked questions, and have done the research to insure I receive accurate answers. I will no longer allow ten seconds of news coverage to dictate what I think or how I feel about a particular subject. As a human – especially as a New Yorker – I'm always going to be prone to snap judgments. But while I may not be able to control that, I can control what I do following their inception.

That brings me back once again to One Nation: Out of the Darkness, and what began as an intended one-issue story that Alex and I planned to have illustrated to demonstrate our writing abilities. For the most part, comic book companies will not accept formatted scripts for solicitation, but will accept fully illustrated books. Alex and I therefore understood that if we wanted to find a regular publisher for One Nation, or at least a company that could put us in touch with an artist, we were going to need a completed comic book that we could present. There was just one problem – the more I learned about alchemy and the more I understood the truth about Islam, the further the character of Hadiya developed. I soon realized that there was no way I could limit her arc to merely one issue if she was to undergo a similar transformation that I had gone through over the past ten years. So much to Alex's chagrin, the origin of Hadiya was expanded to two issues… then three issues… and finally four issues.

In a world of novels, where the unexpected elaboration of a character and their world is perceived as a good thing, such growth would not be an issue. In the world of graphic novels, however, where more pages equates to more money, the situation was much different. Even after finding an artist who was willing to sacrifice some pay to work on this project, it was apparent we would need help if we were going to share Hadiya's experience with the rest of the world. That is where Kickstarter comes in.

For anybody not familiar with Kickstarter, it's a crowd-funding platform to help people get their projects off the ground. Once you determine how much you need in order to fund your project (in this case $13,000), you need to either receive complete funding from pledgers, or you don't receive anything at all. In exchange for people assisting you financially, you offer them incentives. In the case of our graphic novel, Alex and I are offering copies of the graphic novel, as well as the opportunity to be in the graphic novel. And seriously, who wouldn't want to see themselves in a graphic novel??

If you aren't able to contribute anything financially, it doesn't mean you can't still be a part of helping make One Nation: Out of the Darkness a reality by helping to spread the word about what we are doing. We want to create a new universe of heroes who can hopefully inspire in others what has helped to inspire me.

Getting back to my point earlier, I guess the streak continues of my story ideas still being generated from one of two places. Either the answer is, "I don't know where it came from" or it's, "a combination of many different things." It appears One Nation: Out of the Darkness is an example of the latter… Only this time I took the time to elaborate on what some of those influences were. I appreciate you taking the time to listen.

Bleeding Cool Goal: We are currently at just over $6,500 for this campaign. If we can reach $10,000 by Monday at noon PST, we will give away to one pledger an original piece of artwork from Joe Benitez (image attached).

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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