Bay Area Comic Book Writers Introduce First Sikh Super Hero
… Who Loves Elvis
There’s a new superhero in town and he doesn’t sport a cape, mask or wear embarrassing tights. He wears a turban.
His name is Deep Singh – and he fights the Taliban!
You can meet this Indian badass super agent in the first issue of Super Sikh, due out in March. Deep Singh travels to Graceland (he’s a huge Elvis fan), where he fights off agents of the Taliban who are tailing him and doing what bad guys always do — trying to kill him.
Super Sikh is the brainchild of Oakland-based writer Eileen Alden and Silicon Valley executive, Supreet Singh Manchada. The pair launched a Kickstarter campaign early this year to “help bring the first turban Sikh “super hero” to life.” In just 27 hours they had enough to produce the first issue. By February, they exceeded their original goal of $5000, raising more than $22,000.
Aldon and Manchada have brought in award-winning illustrator Amit Tayal, whose work has been published internationally. The Kickstarter money ensures at least three issues of the series.
There are than 28 million Sikhs worldwide and about a half million living in the USA. According to comicbookreligion.com, there are already 20 turban-wearing Sikh heroes and villains in comic books. So what sets Super Sikh apart? The Kickstarter campaign says Deep Singh is a “skillful, smart and very well-trained British Special Air Service agent.” That sounds a bit like James Bond. But Deep Singh’s creators promise a new kind of hero – “a modern hero in a turban who loves Elvis and hates bad guys,” and “will uphold his Sikh values even while he is living in a modern world with all of its complexity.”
Hopefully the comic will shed light on this 15th-century religion, perhaps one of the most misunderstood groups on the planet. In this post-9/11 era, their turbans, beards and head scarves have made Sikh men and women targets of hundreds of hate crimes and bullying. People, ignorant to the fact that Sikhism has no relation to Islam, mistake them for terrorists. In 2011, two Sikhs were shot in Elk Grove. One of the victims died. Machanda said he was bullied when he was a child, and that was one of the reasons he co-created this comic. He told Oakland.net, “I’ve always wanted to create a character that was a Sikh, but I never found someone who could write it and conceptualize it. What I needed was Eileen.”
SuperSikh will be printed in English. A digital version in Punjabi, Spanish and Mandarin will come later. There will be “crazy, PG-13 bad guys,” and a hero who uses “great internal pose of intuition, training, physical and mental strength, not a person who is granted supernatural powers or a mutant transformation.” Alden describes Deep Singh as a cross between Batman and Jason Bourne.