David Hine Talks Muslim Batman To BBC World Service

David Hine Talks Muslim Batman To BBC World Service

On the BBC World Service show Europe Today, the Islamic Batman story popped up. And, uncharacteristically, Nightrunner creator and writer David Hine decided to talk about it.

The show introduced the story, reporting on the right wing bloggers such as Warner Todd who have accused DC Comics of PC indoctrination.

David Hine then took to the mike, being interviewed, initially asked if, he was a part of indoctrination;

Well not only have I not been indoctrinated, I have no intention of indoctrining anyone else. What we're doing is writing a series of stories about Batman going worldwide . It's becoming a global franchise, so we're going to have a Batman in France, we're going to have a Batman in Argentina, in Africa. It was my task to come up with a story set in Paris. and I wanted something new, something a little bit different… The Batman heroes are not super powered they are people who have natural athletic abilities, and for me a parkour runner was the obvious choice. Parkour runners in Paris tend to be from ethnic minorities

Parkour runners are free runners who race across rooftops, I think it was one of the James Bond films featured one of these guys, it's absolutely perfect for what we're doing…

I don't think any super hero comic has ever laid claim to absolute realism. I think what we have done is created a character who has a very credible background. We have fantastic stories because we have a shape-shifting evil creature called the Corrigan. You know, this is fun, this is entertainment, and at the same time we have created a character who I think will be very very interesting.

He happens to be a muslim, as most French Algerian are. There are a million Algerians in France and most… every Algerian who is born in France is a French citizen, this is not a question of whether he, or not, is French.

As to the allegation that he is not a proper Frenchman, Hine retorted;

I'd like to see him in a room full of French Algerians making that point.

And if it was just political correctness gone mad;

I'm not sure whther political correctness is supposed to be good or bad, I don't even think about it, I mean, I'm writing a story that entertains, that I want the characters  to be engaging and interesting, and if there are political elements, obviously, there are going to be political elements come into a story but that's not what we're setting out to do.

I must say having seen these bloggers who I think are based in America, the reaction has been  stunning, overwhelming from both American and French fans, and it's been quite, I've been very pleased with the reaction and people are loving the character, irritated by this comments.

As to how many Muslim characters there are in superhero comics;

Probably not as many as there should be, I mean, America is a very diverse culture, as is France as is this country and we try to reflect that in the diversity of our characters. It's not a political statement.

As to Nightrunner's full face mask hiding his ethnic identity;

Ah, this is where I think the story can develop in very interesting ways, because yes, he will actually be out there at times maybe having to fight against his own people, I mean there is a scene where he helps to suppress a riot in his own area, and he"s seen as a representative of the establishment and that makes him a conflicted character. I think we could have some very interesting developments…

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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