With a lack of diversity in the superhero world, and a need for more positive Middle Eastern representation, a Toronto comedy duo known as Wishful Genies, took it into their own hands to create the world’s first Arab superhero: Habib.
Fady Ghali, a Canadian-Egyptian actor/comedian, and Rob Michaels, a Canadian-Iraqi writer/comedian/actor are the Genies behind the channel. After meeting in high school, graduating with business degrees, and being dissatisfied with the mundane corporate life, the pair created the channel in 2018 to simultaneously pursue comedy and attempt to become a platform for Arab voices.
We’re first introduced to Habib rescuing his future love interest with nothing but an oversized piece of pita bread. It’s love at first sight as she exclaims, “did you just kill the guy with bread?”. What makes the trailer hit home for many viewers is the relationship between Habib and his parents. When Habib’s father learns that his son is a superhero, every immigrant child can relate to his response: “you should still get a degree, you need a real job.”
In an effort to poke fun at the stereotypical roles Arabs are cast in, they utilize an antagonist named Wahish, who is immediately assumed to be a terrorist as opposed to a supervillain. “Ah, he’s gonna blow himself up!” a terrified civilian exclaims.
While the trailer for Habib started as a comedic sketch premise, it has been received exceptionally well and has proven that there is a genuine need for diverse representation.
At this time, Habib has been shared almost 6,000 times on Instagram alone and is at over 70,000 views on YouTube and over 600,000 cumulatively on Tik Tok. Simu Liu (soon-to-be Marvel superhero) commented on Facebook saying it was “highly enjoyable” and Scott Derrickson (the writer of Dr Strange) even retweeted the video and called it hysterical.
With the view count increasing daily, the only question left to ask is whether or not this will become a real movie, and to that the Genies say, “Inshallah”.