Comic Legends: DC's Disappearing Muslim Superhero

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and sixty-third week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

NOTE: Here is a bonus Comic Book Legends Revealed that I did for Martin Luther King Day about how a MLK comic book inspired an iconic civil rights protest!

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends.


DC pulled an issue of Superman that re-introduced a Muslim superhero.



Reader Denny G. wrote in to ask if it was true that DC pulled an issue of Superman because it featured a Muslim superhero. I don't think that Denny's specific claim is necessarily true (the "because" part), but since it IS true that DC DID pull an issue of Superman that was going to re-introduce an old Muslim superhero from the 1990s back into the DC Universe, I think it's fair enough to give this one a true.

Sinbad was a new Muslim superhero that Bill Loebs introduced into the Superman titles in 1990 during a fill-in arc on the Superman titles. The late, great Curt Swan came back to the Superman titles (that he drew for over 20 years in the 1950s through the 1980s before the books rebooted in 1986) and drew the storyline, which was about a young telekinetic hero from Qurac (DC's stand-in for Middle Eastern countries like Iran or Iraq). Sinbad (which, okay, was probably a bit of a sketchy name, even if Loebs obviously meant well) even got his own entry in the 1990 DC's Who's Who...

Anyhow, after writer Chris Roberson took over J. Michael Straczynski's "Grounded" storyline (where Superman decides to walk across the United States to re-immerse himself in the American experience after living on New Krypton for a year), Roberson decided to re-visit some Superman characters and events from the past. One of the characters he decided to deal with was Sinbad, who was now living in Los Angeles and going by the name Sharif...

That was John Cassaday's solicited cover.

In the letter column of Superman #711, they showed the ACTUAL cover, where Sharif now wore a crescent symbol on his costume

However, despite Superman #711 saying that that would be the next issue, the ACTUAL Superman #712 was instead an unpublished issue from Kurt Busiek's run on the book.

At the time, DC explained their reasoning as:

This fill in issue contains a lost classic, Lost Boy: A Tale of Krypto the Superdog, set shortly after Superboy died in Infinite Crisis and Superman went missing.

DC Comics determined that the previously solicited story did not work within the 'Grounded' storyline. However, Chris Roberson, will be back for the final two issues of Superman's year long walk across America. As we near the conclusion, catch up with Superman next month as he makes stops in Portland and Newberg, OR."

Roberson responded to the news thusly:

As much as I look forward to seeing an unpublished Kurt Busiek Superman story, it's a shame that DC didn't determine that the story we prepared for Superman 712 didn't work in the Grounded storyline in time for us to do a different story. As it happened, the Sharif story was included in the outline for the remaining issues of Grounded that I submitted in November. The outline was approved, and in February the issue synopsis that I provided was used to draft the solicitation text, to work up character designs for Sharif (the grown up version of Sinbad from the early 90s), and for cover art to be pencilled, inked, and colored. The script for the issue was accepted in April, and was drawn, inked, and lettered. Unfortunately, when the issue was ready to be sent to the printer in the third week of May I was informed that the decision had been made not to print it."

Obviously, DC then re-booted their continuity a few months later and Roberson then decided to no longer work with DC Comics anymore, so it is unlikely that this story will ever be revisited.

But hey, doesn't mean that some other writer can't bring Sinbad/Sharif back!

Thanks for the suggestion, Denny!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Was Carol Hathaway originally dead in the ER pilot?

Part 3 will be up soon! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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