The Malay edition of Elle Magazine tracked down the real woman who inspired the DC Comics character and Malaysian espionage fighter Munira Khairuddin, Obscura.
She first appeared in Batgirl #32-34 as a former friend of Barbara Gordon who was recruited by an elite counter-terrorism group who required that she fake her own death.
The model for the character, very much still alive and seen her reading the collection in question above, was Munira Mustaffa.
Who describes herself as “a strategic intelligence analyst and due diligence consultant for a London-based private firm” but she also is involved in “investigating fraud, money laundering and corruption to asset recovery” as well as conducting “also conduct geopolitical research and analysis on political violence and regional security”. And her background experience saw her “initially started out as a medical student, but switched to Forensic Sciences. From forensics, I majored in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism (COCT) at University College of London for my Masters degree.”
So, yes, she’s Batman. And talking about the move to comic book character, she told Elle Magazine,
When Jaymee Goh first approached me around mid-2014 about [the character of] Katarina Armstrong (also known as Spy Smasher) getting revamped as Munira Khairuddin/Obscura and loosely basing her on me, I was absolutely taken aback. I think one of the first questions I asked was, “Why me?” Jaymee said it was because I was literally the only Malay woman she knew who was doing security studies specialising in counterterrorism at the time. She also told [DC Comics’] Gail Simone that I am a huge Batman fan, which probably helped! Jaymee and Gail asked me to keep it a secret because they weren’t sure her publishers would go for it, let alone agree on naming the character after me. After that, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing until I saw around late 2014 that the New 52 series was published, and Munira Khairuddin made her first appearances in issues 32, 33 and 34.
There hasn’t been an appearance since the Batgirl revamp, but it looks like a re amp of the revamp is on the way….
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