Oh Hey, There’s A Malaysian Character In The DC Universe!
Rejoice DC fans! There's a Malaysian character in the DC Universe!
Meet Munira Khairuddin. The martial arts expert and spy goes with the codename 'Obscura'.
Writer Gail Simone describes Obscura as "a Malaysian Muslim woman in Batgirl (the Barbara Gordon one), working as a top espionage fighter in the Spy Smasher division."
Munira is a friend of Barbara's – Barbara being the well-known Gotham City Police Department Commissioner Jim Gordon's daughter – and was a student at Gotham University before she was recruited at the age of 18 by a secret counter-terrorism squad.
However, the character has been around for awhile now as Obscura made her first appearance on Batgirl Vol. 4 #32, which was published on 11 June, 2014
After her first appearance, Obscura was also featured in the two subsequent issues of Batgirl Vol. #4, and also in Batgirl Vol. #5.
It was said that the character was inspired by a real Malaysian, and came about because writer Gail Simone wanted to counter the anti-Malaysian sentiments following the MH370 and MH17 aviation tragedies
Freelance writer Jaymee Goh wrote on her blog that Munira Khairuddin was a character that was inspired by a person she knew in real life.
"She's loosely based on an actual friend of mine, Munira Mustaffa, a Malay woman doing security studies in the UK right now with an eye for researching terrorism in SEAsia,"Goh wrote on 14 December 2014.
Munira Mustaffa is now a counter-terrorism scholar, strategic intelligence analyst and due diligence consultant for several international corporate intelligence and security firms.
She completed her post-graduate degree in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism at the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College of London (UCL). Skills-wise, Munira is a polyglot; being able to also speak Russian and French.
Unfortunately, Simone no longer does Batgirl, so it's not clear what future Obscura has in the DC Universe. But we certainly hope we'll get to see Obscura again soon!
Oh, Obscura isn't the only Asian character to appear. Bartender Alysia Yeoh, who is of Singaporean descent, is Batgirl's best friend and she appeared before her Malaysian counterpart.