Mary Valle: The 99, a comic series created by Naif Al-Mutawa, has gained popularity in the rest of the world but run into some suspicion here in the US. It’s about 99 superheroes who each embody one of the 99 Islamic attributes of God, but isn’t explicitly Islamic. Also: take note! 50 of the 99 are female. That’s over half. And! The female superheroines are modestly dressed, which isn’t a bummer, actually! I’ll let this story from i09 speak for girl and women comic fans everywhere.

So what’s the problem, America? I’ve had to suffer through many episodes of Veggie Tales, which baits unsuspecting children with extremely goofy-looking vegetables, then switches to Bible, Bible, Bible. In the name of “tolerance” I looked the other way and let my daughter’s love of Veggie Tales run its course, until it finally did itself in. It was the Easter episode, which ran as a full-bore advertisement for paganism: who needs bunnies and candy and fun when we could all get really bent out of shape about Jesus dying, lengthily, for us? It wrapped up with one of the worst animated gospel choirs I have ever seen. Thus we said “Good day!” to the creepy Jesus-loving plants.

I was a kid in a time when Sunday TV programming didn’t offer much for kids. If you were up early, you had to watch this claymation show called Davey and Goliath, which has always brought on a sigh of oh, this show.… ┬áThe morals came on fast and furious and I always felt doubly wronged by the Lutheran Church in America title card at the end. Not only was it not what I wanted to be watching; it was made by what might be very nice people, but people that would surely not make it into heaven.

Later that afternoon, it’d be time to settle in for a few episodes of Insight, which was Catholic but always seemed to have Martin Sheen dealing with a “drinking problem” and made me feel a little funny. What I’m trying to say is that I would have welcomed The 99 with open arms then, and I’ll gladly have it now.

I mentioned The 99 to my own girl comics-lover, and her ears went right up. We read the first issue of The 99 on http://www.the99.org/, which she liked, but found a little bit talky (backstory) and wished for more superheroes. We’ll be reading more and checking out Unbound, the movie, when we can. America: this is perfect Sunday programming. You know what I’m talking about.