The recently released Intro Issue of Super Sikh, an action comic book created by the successful Kickstarter project of Silicon Valley natives Eileen Alden and Supreet Singh Manchanda and illustrator Amit Tayal, is a welcome reprise to the white, typically American, spandex-clad collection of superheroes popular in media and entertainment today.
Only four pages long, but intricately illustrated in detail from casual driving scenes to the usual anticipated “BOOM!” action sequences, Super Sikh tells the tale of a muscular, goodhearted, and turban-wearing Sikh man who puts a stop to the Taliban’s book burning at a girls’ school.The heavily politicized topic is quick to establish our hero’s values: he hates oppression — especially when it comes to preventing the education of young girls — and, he loves using heavily artillery, such as flamethrowers. Yet, while Super Sikh uniquely attacks South Asian stereotypes, he also shares many features with his Anglo-Saxon superheroes: he’s kept his identity a secret from his anxious aunt, and he’s probably got a love interest in his future given her particular concern over her nephew’s marital status.
Any criticisms about the Intro Issue are related to its brevity: the action sequences being too abrupt, the plot being too easily resolved — but I am excited to see the story development and portrayal in the upcoming full issues of Super Sikh. The comic’s success will derive from the novel concept of a Sikh hero solving tested, true, and definitively unoriginal conflicts against oppressive, racist, and hopefully also alien-world-dominating villains. This clever combination of new and also well-trodden comic book ground can relate to both non-white ethnicities seeking representation of their cultural traits in mainstream entertainment and also devout action-lovers looking for new twists on the selfless hero’s tale. Super Sikh is a cultural and creative phenomenon worth reading, and its concept is a righteous battle for diverse heroism with kickass action.