Posted by RazzaTazz (9676 posts) - - Show Bio
The Middle East has long been a fertile ground for comic book stories, at least since the end of the 1970s when Iran so publicly challenged the USA in the international arena.  In terms of its effectiveness in comics though it has generally not been as effective.  Not necessarily wanting to get too connected in modern politics DC Comics created the fictional countries of Bialya, Khandaq and Qurac to provide some modern relevance to the current stat of international politics (these countries probably representing one of the small gulf states,  Egypt and Iraq.)  These settings didn't always necessarily connect with the reader though and left them a little bit indifferent.  The problem though is that the real countries (notably Iran) did not connect as well either.  In the Death in the Family story arc where Jason Todd dies (spoilers) the Joker is later made an ambassador by Iran and then tries to kill the General Assembly of the United Nations.  Although this was a dramatic moment to some it nonetheless felt somewhat forced from its inception to its resolution (Superman sucks all the poison gas out of the assembly, which means he either has the ability to selectively suck in specific gases with his lungs, or that he sucked in all the gas which would have killed everyone anyway.)  This disconnect with the region was seemingly addressed though in real life by the events of the Arab Spring starting last year and leading up until now (or at least this is my impression.)  So what is the difference between the one depiction of the Middle East and the other?  I would say that after the Arab Spring that the developments in the region became much more personal as the people involved took to Twitter and facebook to get their message out.  For the first time the message was defined not by the media by directly by the participants.  This in turn gave the situation a human face which it never had.  Thus instead of the usual depiction of the events, now for instance there is the case as in the Huntress miniseries where part of the events is geared to stopping the human smuggling of women to prostitution rings and in the most recent Wonder Woman, Diana walks into a small outpost in Libya and singlehandedly rescues a single girl, which is a worthy cause, but not given the same geopolitical meaning as it would have been before.  This focus away from the old style for me works much more effectively as the region is not given a human face rather than the face of its rulers.  Admittedly it might still gloss over a lot of the problems that the region faces, but a doe of reality is always a good place to understand something better.  
#2 Posted by RazzaTazz (9676 posts) - - Show Bio
@lykopis: The Huntress series was really good (up until the last issue) both for contemporary issues but also the somewhat vicarious travel to Italy :)
#3 Edited by Onemoreposter (4069 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't care what anybody says


#5 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that comics haven't done the best job in portraying the middle east, or "The East" in general. For the most part, Asia is often portrayed as an amalgamation of exoticized stereotypes. This is especially true for DC Comics since it inherited much of this attitude from the Golden Age where Arabs/Iranians/South Asians were depicted as turbaned bands of thieves and assassins roaming desert lands or as powerful, towering figures who often accompanied magicians and svengali characters, like Ra's Al Ghul's body guard Ubu or Zatara's man-servant Tong. And one doesn't need to look further than the cover of Detective Comics #1 (1937) and some choice issues of Captain America to see how East Asians were vilified. But, with the exception of 300 and Holy Terror! (because Frank Miller still thinks we're in 30s and 40s, I guess...), comics have improved vastly and appear to be getting more and more progressive.