Trending

DC Comics mocked for noting characters spoke 'Pakistanian'

DC Comics editors likely should have done a quick fact check before noting that several comic book characters were speaking "Pakistanian."

Not only is Pakistanian not a language - it isn't a word

In Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2, published by DC Comics, a deranged demigod attacks the Shimshal village in Pakistan. A man, about to fall off a cliff yells, "Help us, Allah..." while another says "Father!" (Khaver Siddiqi/Twitter/DCComics)

DC Comics editors likely should have done a quick fact check before noting that several comic book characters were speaking "Pakistanian" in one of their publications.

In Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2, a deranged demigod attacks the Shimshal village in Pakistan. A man, about to fall off a cliff yells, "Help us, Allah..."

The moment might have had more gravitas however, had the editor's note not then added that this dialogue was "translated from Pakistanian."

Pakistanian is not only not a language – Pakistan's official language is Urdu – it's also not a word.

A person who lives in Pakistan is Pakistani, and they could speak anything from Punjabi to Pashto to Wakhi, the latter of which is the dominant language in the region around Shimshal. 

Many people noted the error online following the story's publication, but Pakistani writer Khaver Siddiqi's post gained the most traction with more than 600 retweets. 

He notes that Marvel has been doing a better job in reference to the comic book company's Ms. Marvel, who is a Pakistani-American superhero. 

"I'm not offended at being called Pakistanian — I'm just offended that nobody had the time to do one Google search. That's all. Spoiled the story for me," Siddiqi said to Buzzfeed

The moment came as a slight irony to Saddiqi, because even though he's Pakistani, he had to double check that the Shimshal region was real. It is, and it lies in a remote area of the country.

Siddiqi argued to Buzzfeed that if DC's writers did research to find the area in which this comic is set, then they could have at least looked up which language the people there speak.

The other issue Siddiqi sees with the comic is that it could mislead anyone who is unfamiliar with the country. 

"Think of it this way, for some people who read this comic this may or may not be their only exposure to Pakistan," he said to Fusion in an email

Siddiqi was hardly the only one to poke fun at a DC editor's mistake. Many 'Pakistinians' joked that perhaps it was they who were speaking the wrong language this whole time. 

But there were also strong concerns that people are already ignorant about Pakistan, and that the page may make matters worse.

Comedian Kumail Nunjani joined in, noting that DC could have easily used Google or asked a Pakistani person, like him. 

A couple of Pakistani-Americans also noted that it might be worth adding "Pakistanian" to their resumés.

Or maybe on New Earth, the main setting within the DC Comics multi-verse, Pakistanian is a real language... 

If so, the only way to know what's really happening in that scene might be to translate it back to its original language.

Either way, DC Entertainment, DC Comics' parent company, could not be reached for comment on whether or not they believe a person could actually speak Pakistanian. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now