Via Death & Taxes:
Batman writer David Hine has come out to explain his decision to have the Dark Knight team up with an Algerian Muslim, Nightrunner. In light of Hine’s remarks, a few more thoughts on why the right’s oh-so-wrong to protest.
When Batman headed to France to find a new ally in his global Batman, Inc., he originally considered recruiting a Musketeer-based crime fighter.
Hine, however, felt such a move would be too bland. He and the team wanted to create a character who tapped into France’s zeitgeist.
“Rather than use the obvious choice of The Musketeer as the new French Batman, I wanted to come up with the kind of hero I would want to see in a comic book if I were French,” says British-born Hine.
“The process of developing a story is complex and there are all kinds of things I looked at. The urban unrest and problems of the ethnic minorities under Sarkozy’s government dominate the news from France and it became inevitable that the hero should come from a French Algerian background.”
Hine also said that Clichy-Sous-Bois, a neighborhood known for its riots, provided an “obvious location” for Nightrunner, real name Bilal Asselah, a Sunni Muslim Algerian who lives in—and is a citizen of—France.
Nightrunner’s story goes like this: raised by a single mother in Clichy-Sous-Bois, he and his friends remained, to use his word, “neutral” in the ongoing clashes between their Muslim neighbors and French police. On day, however, Bilal and best pal Aarif got caught in the crossfire, leading to increased anger within them both.
Though Bilal swore not to take revenge, Aarif decided otherwise, and torched a police station an incident that led to his death, which only inflamed protests. It was then that Bilal began practicing Parkour, or free-running, and listening to a peace-mongering Muslim singer named Leni, who inspires him to take up the Nightrunner mantle.