Marvel has added an unlikely super-heroine to its repertoire.
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Teaming up with ABC, a free new digital comic depicts the superhuman emotional energy summoned by "Madaya Mom," a mother of five, to survive a more than year-long siege in war-torn Syria.
The series has been online for free since the start of October. ABC news staffers initiated the idea based on their own inability to penetrate Madaya since Syria's President Bashar Assad began besieging the town in July 2015.
World media have published photographs of emaciated, hungry children from Madaya where dozens of people have starved to death.
Producer Rym Momtaz told The Guardian newspaper of her motives behind the project, that the network simply "had to get creative," due to lack of everyday access to the site.
They used their sources to find a woman living in Madaya who could provide day-to-day stories of how she and her family were managing to survive through very difficult times. The heroine's real identity is kept secret for her own security.
The first page of the comic features a heart-rending caption of the woman saying: "Our bodies are no longer used to eating, my children are hungry but are getting sick, severe stomach pains from the food because their bodies aren’t able to digest and absorb the food because they were hungry for so long."
“It was actually really heartening because she told me that she loved Spider-Man and she knew Marvel,” Momtaz told The Guardian. “She could not believe that the people who were behind Spider-Man had any interest in her life and had heard of her.”
Illustrator Dalibor Talajic, explaining the Syrian heroine's divergence from the traditional model of the all-powerful super-hero said: “Superheroes are not defined by their powers or their physique. Superhero is in the heart. Madaya Mom fits within this category because she finds strength to be human and unhardened.”