Marvel releases comic featuring Arab American superhero from Dearborn

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Marvel issued a nationwide release Wednesday of its new character, an Arab American superhero, in the "Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13" comic book.

Amulet, aka Fadi Fadlalah, according to his creators, debuts in Marvel's pages to help shield Kamala Khan in "Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13," the first fictional Muslim hero to headline her own comic in 2013.

Here is Amulet giving Ms. Marvel a boost on the cover of "The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13" by Eduard Petrovich.

Amulet, the superhero of Lebanese descent, was brought to life by writer Saladin Ahmed, who is from Dearborn, and popular Jordanian American illustrator Sara Alfageeh.

"This one means a lot to me. Superhero comics helped teach me to read, but as an Arab American kid, I never quite saw myself in them," said Ahmed in January. "To be able to add a character with a name like mine, that shares my heritage and my hometown to this pantheon ... whew!"

The book sells at comic book shops for $3.99.

Amulet wears a bright-blue costume, has massive superpowers and carries an evil eye, an amulet, for protection on a leather strap around his neck, tucked under his shirt. 

The family heirloom gives him the power to ward off evil and protect Khan, another diverse Marvel character who became the first fictional Muslim hero to headline her own comic in 2013. Within the Marvel Universe, Khan — Ms. Marvel — is a teen Pakistani American from Jersey City, New Jersey, with shape-shifting abilities.

Alfageeh has worked as a character designer outside of Marvel. She and Ahmed had fun creating the concept for Amulet, she said in December.

Reporter holds a copy of the comic book "The Magnificent Ms. Marvel" where Amulet makes his debut.

"We talked about his defensive-style powers and how they tied into his background as a Lebanese kid," she said. "The blue-and-white color palette and the circular design were pulled from the Nazar, a symbol that pops up all over the Middle East that protects the wearer from the evil eye — the harmful intentions of others. A bit of a historical, supernatural touch.

"We tend to associate sharp corners and edges with evil, and rounded designs and circles with good. This character is a gentle giant, so I wanted to make sure that even with his size, he was shaped like a friend."

Both said they have big plans for Amulet in the future.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_