This comic book series hopes to inspire young Karachiites to heal the city
What does the word ‘Raat’ remind you of?
Night? Terror? Darkness?
What if 'Raat' sent chills down the spines of criminals?
What if 'Raat' was a source of justice and security?
What if 'Raat' was someone who hoped to be the harbinger of light?
In comic book series Raat, the protagonist is just that. Created by artist Wasiq Haris (who also served as a supervisor for the comic book series Team Muhafiz), Raat is a young woman who carries out controlled vigilante justice in her city – alone and unassisted.
The comic, which is available online for free, has only had its first issue released so far.
Although not a lot has been revealed about the character in the first issue, the description tells you that she's an ordinary citizen in the city of ‘Kolachi’. Fed up of the crime and insecurity in the city, she tries to do something about it.
When fighting crime, like almost all superheroes, she hides her identity. She has black paint smeared around her eyes and wears a monstrous mask to complete her frightening look. At home, she’s quite the opposite – the loving Baaji of her baby sister.
A close look at the artwork and you’ll see the effort that has been put into the details to make the environment look as local as possible. You see cracks in walls, garbage on roads, ‘paan ki pheenk’ (paan spittle) splattered at so many places, and clippings of Dawn newspaper’s headlines pasted on the walls of the protagonist’s house.
With powerful, action-packed visuals and intense facial expressions, the artwork is not just the work of a promising artist but also sets the bar higher for the local comic book scene in the country. Wasiq has also done a brilliant job with the use of lights and shadows in his work, setting the perfect mood for the story.
A different kind of superhero
But what makes this character and comic different from other fictional female superheroes we've seen recently in the country?
Wasiq says his character is different because it is relatable. “It’s about a common person with no superpowers and no assistance at all… it’s a character grounded in reality”. But most importantly, this comic book series is not a ‘business venture’ and hence is free for all to read.
Raat also aims to bring to light the injustices and criminal activities taking place around us, and how absolutely no one is doing anything about it.
“We have a lot of problems in our society, and most of us are oblivious to it. I wanted to give the youth something that inspires them, encourages them and brings all the problems to light,” says Wasiq. “In essence this is what Raat does, it’s not a business, it’s not even for pleasure. It’s about inspiring change.”
By being a one-man-army behind this series, Wasiq also wants to send out a message to all the talented youngsters of the country: “I want them to look at my work and be inspired – that if one individual can make a comic book, they can too.”