Don’t mess with the lady in black!

Religion Dispatches reports on a new Pakistani cartoon, The Burka Avenger and links to a YouTube of the first episode, with subtitles.
The protagonist is a schoolteacher orphaned as a toddler (I think the visuals imply a religious riot, but I’m not sure) and raised by a kindly couple who taught her a martial-arts system that uses books and pens as weapons. Now she dedicates her skills to fighting the corrupt officials and religious zealots determined to shut down schools for girls: Truth, justice and equal rights to education!
The first episode reminds me somewhat of a lot of cartoons and comics from World War II. It’s subtle as a brick about who the bad guys are, and makes them buffoonish too. But I’m okay with that. People who want to deny girls an education deserve to wear the black hats.
The fact Jiya wears a burka in action has generated a lot of attention. My impression from the first episode is that it’s just a practical way to hide her identity (she doesn’t wear one in her secret identity).
As a life-long comics fan, I do love seeing what another country and culture does with the super-hero concept. As Kurt Busiek once said, if super-heroes are normally a power fantasy for teenage boys, they can be adapted to a hundred other uses: gay rights, growing old, left-wing causes, right-wing causes and here a fantasy for girls. Or really for anyone who wants to believe that someone will stand up when oppression strikes.
As a final thought, I wonder how badly the right wing would freak out if a Wonder Woman cartoon took stances like this?

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Filed under Comics, Personal, Politics, Undead sexist cliches

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