Geoff Johns, the chief creative officer and write of the relaunched “Green Lantern” series, has created Simon Baz, the first prominent Arab-American superhero and the first Arab-American superhero in the “Green Lantern” universe.
“I thought a lot about it — I thought back to what was familiar to me. This is such a personal story,” Johns tells the AP.
Baz’s storyline debuts in an issue Wednesday (Sept. 5) and in February 2013, the character is headed for the Justice League of America to fight alongside Catwoman, Hawkman and the Green Arrow.
The story of this new superhero starts when he is 10 years old, growing up in a Muslim family in Dearborn, Mich. and watching in horror as the planes hit the Towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Events unfold as his family faces intense ostracism following the attacks.
Johns adds to the AP that diversifying the superheroes only works if there is a good story, not just diversity for diversity’s sake — and he believes he found a good story in Baz.
“He’s not a perfect character. He’s obviously made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable. Hopefully (it’s) a compelling character regardless of culture or ethnic background. … But I think it’s great to have an Arab-American superhero. This was opportunity and a chance to really go for it,” says Johns.
This is not DC Comics first foray into diversifying its superheroes. The “Green Lantern” series introduced the first openly gay Green Lantern back in June.