When you look hard enough where Lebanon doesn’t seem to be, you will always find a little bit of it, somehow, somewhat. And somehow, it has been more so in recent times.
Lebanese people are everywhere in the world and have had their effect on literature, art, music, fashion, architecture, and you name it. With their innate creativity and their remarkable talents, it couldn’t be otherwise.
Whatever the length of time they’ve been abroad, and whichever generation of immigrants they are, they remain proud of their identity and cultural heritage.
Now, a Lebanese DC superhero has come to the screen of millions of viewers in the world, and that’s the work of the Lebanese-American comic book writer, screenwriter, and film and television producer Geoff Johns.
Born in Detroit, Geoff Johns studied arts, film production, and film theory. You would probably know him as an executive producer on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Johns was the Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment (CCO) in 2010 and became its president in 2016. He’s the co-producer and creative consultant for Green Lantern and a writer for the upcoming Green Lantern Corps.
In attempts to diversify his comic writing and bring a more exciting flavor to the DC industry, Geoff Johns gave us the first Lebanese superhero: Simon Baz, one of the new Green Lanterns that appear in the Green Lantern Corps.
The character was actually introduced in 2012 as part of its Green Lantern story architect Rise of the Third Army. He was Hal Jordan’s replacement of the Green Lantern of Earth’s sector.
In the DC story, Simon Baz is a Lebanese American born in Dearborn, Michigan. His childhood represents the struggles of Lebanese Muslims in America after 9/11.
He and his family endured bullying, hatred, and prejudice during his early childhood, with him and his sister often enduring abuse at school for being Muslims.
Despite the hardship, Simon managed to graduate as an automotive engineer and got a job as an engineer at an automotive industry in Detroit.
The financial crisis hit the family when he lost his job and a car accident put his brother-in-law in a coma. His financial struggles pushed him to become a car thief. One night he stole a car full of explosives which led to his arrest.
As we would expect, his ethnic and religious background led to the assumption of him being a terrorist. He was deported to Guantanamo Bay where he was tortured.
During his interrogation by the FBI, a Green Lantern Ring burst into the room, and explained to Simon that he was chosen!
After his miraculous escape from prison, Simon Baz went head to head with the Justice League who were briefed on his charges and were concerned with Simon wielding the Green Lantern ring.
A long series of events would come to make this Lebanese character a member of the intergalactic militarized law enforcement organization.
Simon would go on to replace Hal Jordan Earth’s first Green Lantern and partner up with Jessica Cruz to become an essential member of peacekeeping intergalactic forces.
Simon was given unique powers, aside from the already awesome powers he has obtained from the ring. He is a bearer of a powerful device called Green Lantern Ring that enables him to construct anything he desires and imagines at will.
Obviously, with his automotive engineering skills, his “light constructs” tend often to be automobiles and auto tools.
Our Baz superhero was also given the power to heal, which he uses to wake up his brother-in-law from the coma and cure a Red Lantern of the effects of the Red Lantern Ring.
So, this is how Simon became the first Lebanese DC superhero. Geoff Johns painted him as ‘a heroic and emotionally complex character with a Lebanese Muslim heritage adding much-needed diversification to the DC world.’
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