DC Comics character Obscura is Malaysian

Obscura, also known as Munira Khairuddin, is a top espionage fighter

By Andrea Tim | Published: 19 Feb 2016

Msian DC character
Photo: DC Comics

Since DC Comics character Obscura (pictured above, left) made her appearance in Batgirl Vol. 4 #32 in 2014, she has ironically lived up to her name as far as mainstream comic characters have had most of the world's attention. However, what you didn't know about her before will make your jaw drop.

Obscura's real name is Munira Khairuddin and she is Malaysian.

The Star Online brought her ethnicity to light this morning, although it had already been pointed out by DC Comics writer Gail Simone (she and Fernando Pasarin created Obscura) in a Tumblr post dated 18 September 2014.

Gail describes Obscura as "a Malaysian Muslim woman in Batgirl (the Barbara Gordon one), working as a top espionage fighter in the Spy Smasher division." In another post on 24 November 2014, Gail replied to a comment asking about Obscura's ethnicity: "She is Malay, in fact."

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. Interestingly, she is based on a real-life woman called Munira Mustaffa.

In a blog post from December 2014 by writer and University of California, Riverside PhD candidate Jaymee Goh, she wrote that Gail approached her for help developing a new DC Comics character.

"We came up with Munira Khairuddin, a super spy foil to Batgirl, revamping Spy-Smasher/Katrina Armstrong," Jaymee wrote. "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 to researching terrorism in SEAsia."

According to a footnote in an article written by real-life Munira, she is a Masters degree holder in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism at the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College of London. She also works for several London and New York-based corporate intelligence and security firms as an intelligence analysis consultant.

Another piece of trivia for you to digest: Obscura isn't the only Asian character to appear in the aforementioned Batgirl issue. Bartender Alysia Yeoh is, as previously revealed by Gail, Batgirl's best friend and a transgender woman from Singapore.

Consider our minds blown.

Related: 'Wonder Woman' is the feminist movie of all superhero movies


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