One on One
Naif al-Mutawa
The creator of the Middle Eastern superheroes The 99 joins Riz for a one-on-one talk.
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2009 09:06 GMT

Watch part two

This week on One on One, meet the creator of the Middle Eastern superheroes The 99, Dr. Naif al-Mutawa.

His education and work as a clinical psychologist seemed to take a completely different turn when he became the publisher of a hugely popular and unique comic book series.

From his earliest years, he was brought up between two cultures: that of his homeland Kuwait with the rich Arab culture, and the faster-paced, vibrant diversity of the US.

Naif al-Mutawa loved comics as a boy – and developed a passion for story-telling but, like many, was pushed towards an academic career.

He studied psychology in the US, gaining a number of degrees, including a PhD, and later applied his skills as a doctor of clinical psychology to working with survivors of political torture and Kuwaiti prisoners of war.

Through it all, however, he still thought about his burning desire to do something different and creative.

From that, The 99 was born – a hugely-successful comic book series focused on heroes displaying attributes that are revered in the Arab world and the Islamic world.

Although not religious comics, The 99 developed characters that al-Mutawa hoped would serve as role models for children in a region that desperately needs something positive and up-lifting.

The comics went on to become a hit globally and won al-Mutawa a number of awards and recognition as a serious player in changing the often negative perception of the Arab world.

Inspite of being fully-engaged in his passion, overseeing the growth of The 99, Naif al-Mutawa hasn't put aside his skills as a doctor and regularly teaches clinical psychology.

But like many superheroes, he continues to lead a double-life - as the founder of a new cultural wave for children across the world.

This episode of One on One aired from Saturday, October 24, 2009.

Al Jazeera
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