Wayl (Arabic: وَيل ‘Woe’) is the story of Sufyan El-Taher, recently returned to Amman, the capital city of Jordan with his wife Sophia from a long life abroad to take over his family’s business empire after his father's death and as his sole living survivor. With tensions rising in the Middle East and lawlessness prevalent, Sufyan must face a city in ruins with crime and corruption as societal norm. This is a culture shock he was not prepared for, particularly when the interim CEO of his father's company decides he doesn't want anyone muscling in on the game...a decision that ultimately leads to the creation of a super-being in the Arab World's first psychological thriller superhero comic book!
The first issue of the 6-part series develops the introductory story of Sufyan’s return and his encounter with this new world, and the turn of events that leads to the creation of the super-being Wayl.
Issue #2 will introduce Wayl’s main adversary, the much talked-about pop cultural figure Abu Shakoosh, a supposed uncaught serial killer who roamed the streets of Amman in the early 1990s. The story arc of Wayl develops its own background story for Abu Shakoosh (Arabic: ‘Hammer Man’) and advances it for the comic’s purposes. The inclusion of Abu Shakoosh in the story canon with a fictional treatment serves to further capture home audiences’ attention through a relatable figure from urban legends.
Unlike superheroes created recently in the Middle East with a hidden or obvious political or religious agenda, Wayl aims to be pure entertainment that harks back to the glory days and golden age of comics as seen in the heydays of some big 4 publishers such as DC and Marvel.
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About the Comic
History & Development
The concept of Wayl started as a vision by creator Zaid Adham back in 2011, when the importance and prominence of the comic art scene in the Middle East was emphasized by the announcement of the launch of the Middle East Film & Comic Con 2012, the first of its kind in the region. With comics long being a staple of Middle Eastern popular culture, albeit either in imported or translated form, Zaid felt the need to create a comic book series that originated from the region and was sent out to the world, rather than the opposite.
Zaid recognized two fundamental problems with creating such a concept. The first was that modern pop culture always assigned villainous roles to characters of Middle Eastern origin, playing on ongoing socio-political and religious tensions that have long plagued the region. If being the villain wasn't the case, the other was that both international or homegrown attempts at launching comic book series or characters based in the Middle East maintained a stereotypical portrayal. There was a need to steer clear of the Arabian Knight with the scimitar who battles villains in the desert, or the Aladdin-esque battle between good and evil genies. The stereotypes would not be improved by attempting to push political or religious agendas either over or under the table. There needed to be a fair presentation of the modern Middle East within the realm of fantasy entertainment. Wayl was to be it.
Inspired by both personal experiences and his background as a filmmaker, Zaid set out to create Wayl and set his story in a real city. He chose his own birth town of Amman and set the story against a backdrop of fictional events and urban mythology. This came in most useful when introducing the villain, Abu Shakoosh. Long being a popular subject of Ammanite urban legends, Abu Shakoosh's history as an uncaught serial killer who targeted pharmacies was the most surefire way to attract readers from the region.
Zaid initially developed the art for Wayl and Abu Shakoosh with one set of artists and submitted it to the 2012 MEFCC, where it won the award for Best Original Artwork. With time conflicts and the lack of an available colorist for the completed issue coming into play, the project was put on hold indefinitely. Eventually and through the sheer coincidence, Zaid and artist Yasser Alireza met and exchanged information at a comic book store. A few weeks later, the project went back into production.
A long and arduous journey for both creator and artist, the first issue of Wayl's progress from script to comic form culminated finally in November of 2015 after a long battle with work schedules and tight deadlines. The comic is set to launch both in digital form and in print form with the 2016 MEFCC, April 7th-9th at the Dubai World Trade Center.