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Middle Eastern Superheroes Coming To Comic-Con

AK Comics Jalila, Rakan, Zein and Aya hit Comic-Con via newly published U.S. issues featuring AKs roster of caped Middle Eastern superheroes.

From a booth, attendees will be introduced to pages of four U.S. titles featuring the visually striking superheroes, as well the creative team bringing them to life. The L.A.- and Cairo-based company also will assemble artists, writers and editors for a panel to be presented 10:30 am in Room 8 on Thursday, July 20, 2006.

Established in 2002, AK Comics is a global comicbook publisher of original action titles, with superheroes and storylines based in the Middle East. Current titles include JALILA, THE PROTECTOR OF THE CITY OF ALL THE FAITHS, RAKAN, THE LONE WARRIOR, ZEIN, THE LAST PHARAOH and AYA, THE PRINCESS OF DARKNESS.

The AK Comics titles are distributed throughout the Middle East and Europe in both Arabic and English. The company launched retail distribution of its core titles in the U.S. in May, with four comic titles now available through direct sales and soon via the corporate website,

AK stands for Ayman Kandeel, the founder whose love for Western-style comic books inspired him to launch his own comic publishing company. Its U.S. editor, Daerick Gross Sr., boasts a background steeped in comic book culture. After working with AK founder/ceo Ayman Kandeel and managing director Marwan El Nashar to launch four titles in the U.S. in May, Gross believes the San Diego event will prove watershed as the company officially introduces its caped superheroes to the U.S. market.

The launch has been going well, Gross says. But we at AK Comics believe the 2006 Comic-Con could serve as a major springboard for rapid further growth in the U.S. market.

In AYATHE PRINCESS OF DARKNESS, as a child, a terrified little Rania Mokhtar hides in a closet and watches when a couple of mobsters murder her father. The men then arrange the scene so her mother will become accused of the crime and stand trial and she receives a life sentence. These two events shape Rania into a tough and determined young woman, willing to stand up against all evils and never to feel helpless again.

With this mindset, she enters law school as an adult and begins searching for a way to free her mother. She becomes a brilliant and motivated student who happens to rescue a mugging victim in an off-campus alley, an event that again changes her life profoundly.

The mysterious Number Zero, who witnesses the event, offers her an opportunity to improve her skills and become a force for good. She accepts and, unknowingly, joins the worldwide underground crime-fighting organization The Umbrella, an enterprise funded by some of the richest people on the planincluding Zein. Rania undergoes extensive training and masters all forms of martial combat, forensics, disguise and other detective skills, emerging to begin her secret career as Aya, the Princess of Darkness.

In JALILAPROTECTOR OF THE CITY OF ALL FAITHS, after leaving her two misbehaving, younger brothers behind with the nanny, 16-year-old Ansam Dajani and her parents attended an awards ceremony at the nuclear reactor/laboratory where her father and mother worked. But a group of terrorists attack the plant and set off a horrific nuclear blast that later became know as the Dimondona Devastation. There were only two known survivors at ground zero: Ansam and the terrorist that set the blast, Aton. Ansam was wearing an anti-radiation suit designed by her father, and Aton was just lucky.

The suit was only designed to protect against radiation, and not a full-scale nuclear explosion and through the staggering blast she gained nuclear-based superhuman powers.

Thinking she was killed with her parents, relatives from another city stepped in to raise her brothers, not knowing that she was being cared for, and trained intensively by The Umbrella. With their help, she learns how to harness and control her power. She emerges as Jalila the Protector of the City of All Faiths.

As Ansam, she reunites with her, now troubled, brothers, and begins a career as a scientist, taking up her parents work. As Jalila she uses her great powers to save her city from destructive forces. Those include the extreme United Liberation Force, the Xenox Brigade and the Double Axes, who want to control, or destroy the City of All Faiths.

In RAKAN THE LONE WARRIOR, Rakan, the solemn warrior, wanders the deserts of 12th century Arabia and Persia, accompanied only by his horse and his sister, Arameh, an oil-black saber-tooth. He is a product of those excruciating times. As a crippled child, he witnessed a barbarian attack on his nomadic tribe and was left as the sole survivor. Weak, lame and asthmatic, he had little chance of survival until a saber-tooth, rescued him and raised him with her cub, Arameh. Life with the cats strengthened his leg and lessened his asthma.

Arameh becomes closer to Rakan than any human. Together they wander the Arabian wildernesses on a singular quest to find Reem, the abducted daughter of Hakim, The Old Wise One. Hakim took over the rearing of the young Rakan, teaching him the ways of SHEBA, embracing its techniques of wisdom and peace, as well as combat skill.

Now, wielding the Sword of Majido, Rakan faces dark forces, wizards and dragons. He also encounters battles and wars between nations, but never takes sides. Rakan only protects the innocent who suffer because of the violence. He believes in his heart that men will never learn how to live in peace by killing one and other.

In ZEIN, Zein was born in 14,000 B.C to a powerful King, Ra-Ez in an era of enlightenment and technological advancement. Zeins ancient world vanished in a cataclysmic event (known as the Great Collision), when a large meteor destroyed everything and left earth uninhabitable for several millennia. Hoping to save his thirteen children, the King placed them in special hibernation chambers, protecting them from the impact and the after-effects of the meteor. On the Eve of Re-dawning, 9,000 years later (5,000 B.C), the Royal Siblings awakened from hibernation. Zein and his siblings rose with mysterious and supernatural powers, which had developed during the long years of hibernation.

Bitter and angry, most of Zeins siblings rejected their fathers charge to rebuild Origins City and their way of life and disperse. They roam the ancient lands, leaving Zein and his youngest sister, Nefertah, alone to fulfill his that dream. All the siblings are nearly immortal and close to invincible, but only Zein is aided by the powers of the Jewel of the River, a mysterious jewel given by his father.

In modern times, Zein perseveres in his task of protecting the ancient lands of his forefathers. He now lives as Dr. Amgad Darwish, a professor of humanities. To function effectively in a mortal society, Zeins name and occupation change from era to era. His sole companion is Isis, an equally ageless super-computer.

The company is producing an initial two episodes of ZEIN THE LAST PHARAOH, representing the first installments in a 26-episode series scheduled for foreign release in spring 2007. The animation is a mix of 2D and 3D styles, produced originally in Arabic for later dubbing into English.

Since its establishment in 2002, AK Comics, publishing in Arabic and English, sells titles in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with plans to expand throughout the entire Middle East. AK Comics distributes 30,000 Arabic-language issues and 18,000 English issues in Egypt K.S.A & U.A.E. per month, plus a lively economy edition of 12,000 copies in crisp monochrome aimed at attracting new young readers.

AK Comics operates a full-time office in Los Angeles, serving as the hub for distribution of the comics in the United States and a base for liaisons with Hollywood animation producers, licensing representatives and networks. The newly established L.A. office has already succeeded in establishing distribution of its comic titles with the industrys leading wholesalers, with the first AK Comics titles now in stores nationwide.

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Rick DeMott
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