History of Captain Brunei and the Brunei Superhero Story

So how did the idea for this superhero story started?

Let’s rewind the clocks back to 2010.

The Beginning – 2010

‘Guardians of Darussalam’ is a Brunei Superhero Story. The center of this story is a superhero named “Kapten Brunei” or “Captain Brunei”

I’m not gonna pretend that I was the first one to toy with the concept of ‘Captain Brunei’. There are many fan artworks of ‘Captain Brunei’ out there if you bother to search them.

But what I can tell you that for me, I had the idea back in 2010. I saw ‘Black Panther’ in an ‘Avengers’ cartoon and thought, “Hmmm there’s a black superhero so how about an Asian superhero? No wait, how about a local superhero (from my country Brunei) ?!!”

So I took Captain America’s basic design and modified it with our flag colours. And I also made a Shield just like Cap America.

Originally, I used Yellow but then I thought it would look cooler if I used a more Orange-ish/Gold-ish colour. I don’t know about you but the costume and the shield have that classic Pelita Brunei feel to it

brunei superhero

It was decided from very early on that his powers would be super strength ala local folklore hero (the Brunei Hercules) Awang Semaun.

Mashing up the backstories of my favourite superheroes Spiderman, Superman and Batman, I came up with a story:

He was an ordinary Bruneian living an ordinary life. One day, while he was fishing, he caught a mysterious Ikan Sumpit-Sumpit (Archer Fish) and ate it. Just like the legend of Awang Semaun, he gained super strength ability. He decided to become a superhero to fight crime and help the weak. However, his newfound fame got into his head which made him arrogant and snobbish (Ambung dan kebesaran). He may have found more fans but he lost sight of the ones that matters more; his family and close friends.

Now faced with a powerful and deadly cunning enemy that intends to use his arrogance against him, our Bruneian superhero must get back to his senses and listen to the wise words of his late father (who was a fisherman and taught him how to fish among other things) in order to truly become the great hero he was meant to be.

Web Comic – 2011

A year later, a friend of mine liked my concept of ‘Captain Brunei’. Back then, he was running a local Bruneian webcomic site called ‘Alpha Jaipan’. He asked me if he can adapt the concept into his webcomic character and I didn’t have a problem with that.

And so he made this:

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He made two more Captain Brunei webcomic here and here.

Not long, my friend told me his intention to ‘reboot’ the Captain Brunei idea and asked me whether I have some ideas.

Fortunately, I was coming up with another storyline for Captain Brunei and ideas for various characters started springing up in my mind.

The deal seemed simple enough. I write the story, he draws the comic.

Constructing the story – 2011

I sent him my idea for the Captain Brunei character:

At a quiet part of Brunei lives ADAM, a Bruneian in his 20ish who lives with his Mom. His father passed away few years ago (Similar to Peter Parker/Spiderman) He’s not skinny nor big.
He’s not nerdy nor socially awkward. He’s a good and kind kid who’s not badly influenced by the ‘Bandar kids’.

One day, while he was fishing, he caught a mysterious Ikan Sumpit-Sumpit (Archer Fish) and ate it. Just like the legend of Awang Semaun, he gained super strength ability.

I also came up with the concept of the ‘Sidekick’ character which later became ‘Ali’:

He was reluctant to use his superpowers and wanted to hide it/keep it secret from others. One day he saved ‘SIDEKICK’ from a car accident. the SIDEKICK saw he has super strenght and believed that ADAM should start to become a superhero and save others.

SIDEKICK is a comic/movie geek. And he becomes ADAM’s advisor/partner/’manager’

SIDEKICK began to promote ADAM as a superhero. Had someone design his costume CAPTAIN BRUNEI/BRUNEI MAN

– costume intentional rip off of Captain America costume – lack of originality and SIDEKICK being a fan of comics

My friend suggested that Captain Brunei should have a love interest.

So I originally came up with a love triangle arc between Adam’s ‘kampung girl’ childhood friend (who later became the character ‘Aisyah’) and the more ‘Bandar girl’ character I nicknamed ‘Party Girl’ at that time – come from a wealthy family, feisty, independent, sporty and a journalist (or a fashion designer…I actually couldn’t decide back then). My friend managed to sketch her – “a little princess with many faces” was how he described her.

Concept the wild girl

‘Party Girl’ does not appear in current story. Instead, her character is mainly divided into two characters: Ridzuan (Balau Man) and Liza ( Dayang Dynamite).

But as you know….’Life’ happens and we both went on to do our own thing and busy with other things going on our lives.

Actual Writing – 2012

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I graduated with my Masters in 2012. Jobless and lots of free time, I went back thinking about the Captain Brunei idea and got more ambitious with the story by coming up with more superheroes. One day I said to myself, “why don’t I just go ahead and take a crack at actually writing them.” You’ll never know if it is truly a ‘cool idea’ until you go ahead and write them.

So write I did.

Between October 2012 to April 2013, I published 9 chapters online with an inconsistent schedule.

I got a job in May 2013 and I took a break from writing. I managed to publish 3 more chapters online a year later in July 2014 that acts as a ‘semi-ending’ to the story. I left it  in a cliffhanger with a hope that I’ll return to it someday.

The Return – 2017

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And return I did but I wasn’t going to straight up continue where I left off.

Instead, I went back to the beginning and plan on re-editing, re-tooling and re-publishing all the 12 chapters I wrote and hopefully it leads up to a NEW GRAND FINALE by the end of this year.

This time I’ll try to publish in a scheduled manner (or at least try harder to) and not shy away from sharing them to everyone. The ‘mistake’ I did last time was I shared it to a few and rely on them to share it with others and then put my hope on ‘word of mouth’. But that doesn’t happen HAHA (unless I’m a ‘somebody’ which I’m not).

So there you have it…the short history of Captain Brunei and Guardians of Darussalam.

In the meantime, go check out the Chapters released so far. I’ll try to publish them once every two weeks (so the next one will be on 19 February. Insya’allah)

Hope you enjoy it so far!

New Chapter – Chapter 4 – Captain Brunei and Balau Man

The Brunei Superhero story continues…

Chapter 4 – Ali

As a new type of drugs begin to seep into the black market, Adam and Ridzuan makes their debut as costumed heroes.

This new chapter also marks the end of Volume I of the story which is the basically the Origin story of the main characters.

You can read the latest Chapter HERE.

I’m open to any comments or suggestions.

When you’re done reading, you can head off to the commentary below.

CHAPTER 4 COMMENTARY

OK, first things first, we FINALLY get to the point where these characters suit up and adopt their superhero moniker. You have:

  1. Adam as Captain Brunei, obviously inspired by Marvel’s Captain America.
  2. Ridzuan as Balau Man, the ‘Batman’ of the story.
  3. Liza takes her social media username, Dayang Dynamite and starting to turn it into a brand. Although she has yet to don a superhero costume, I can safely say that she will eventually.

CAPTAIN BRUNEI or KAPTEN BRUNEI

I’m not gonna pretend that I was the first one to toy with the concept of ‘Captain Brunei’. There are many fan artworks of ‘Captain Brunei’ out there if you bother to search them. But what I can tell you that for me, I had the idea back in 2010  (you can find my original Tumblr post HERE). I’ll write more about the history/evolution of my version of Captain Brunei in a future post.

brunei superhero

Despite the name, Adam’s story owes more to Spiderman and Superman than Captain America.

BALAU MAN

In this chapter, Ridzuan finally suit up as the Batman-esque superhero, Balau Man based on ‘Hantu Balau’, a demonic all black entity. He is described looking like a cross between The Predator and Marvel’s Blackheart (with armor and eskrima sticks). I’m not much of an artist so I’ll just leave you with these two images and you can use your imagination Hahaha

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Why Balau Man? Simply because Balau and Bat both starts with the letter B. And also as an excuse for me to make a tribute to the wonderful Catatan Misteri.

In 2000, RTB aired this horror series called Catatan Misteri. I wouldn’t say it was high quality production but they made it up with an enjoyable plot. It was an anthology series with each episode telling different horror story (that are most likely to be  based on true story). The series has a sort of a cult following for a generation of Bruneians and like many others, I want to see the full episodes released on DVD or online.

One of the more memorable episode was the first one involving a demonic entity known as ‘Balau’ or ‘Hantu Balau’ that haunted this family who just moved into their new house. I’ve never heard of ‘Hantu Balau’ before and it seems that the term never had any previous basis. I guess Catatan Misteri did contribute a new terminology into our everyday language!

DAYANG DYNAMITE

I wanted the female superhero to have the word ‘Dayang’ on her name. In a spirit of the alliteration in ‘Wonder Woman’, I decided on ‘Dayang Dynamite’. Liza has yet to suit up as a superhero in this chapter but she will in the next volume. She will play a bigger role especially in this particular future story arc.

Again, you can read the latest Chapter HERE

I’m open to any comments or suggestions.

Enjoy!

Chapter 3 – Ridzuan

The Brunei Superhero story continues….

Ridzuan returns to Brunei from overseas and set out his own investigation on criminals. Meanwhile, Ali tries to convince Adam to use his superpowers to help others.

You can read Chapter 3  HERE

The ‘Bruce Wayne’ of the story

The main highlight of this chapter is the introduction of Ridzuan who is obviously the ‘Bruce Wayne’ of the story – the billionaire turned superhero vigilante – thus completing this story’s version of the DC trinity (Adam is the ‘Clark Kent’ and Liza is the ‘Diana Prince’ of the story).

But of course, Ridzuan is not exactly like the brooding and capable man as Bruce Wayne. Ridzuan is a little bit more of thrill seeker and a naive idealist who thinks he can help by working outside the law or the system. To me, he represents those young freshly graduated idealistic Bruneians who returns to from overseas and thinks he can make a difference.

The ‘Nightrunner’ connection

In the chapter, there are references to Ridzuan idolizing a French vigilante/hero named Nightrunner. The idea is that Ridzuan encountered this figure while living in Paris and inspired him to take up parkour as well as becoming a masked hero.

There is actually a character called Nightrunner in the comics. Introduced in 2011, Nightrunner was a French-Algerian superhero who later got recruited by Batman to be his representative in Paris.

Bilal is a student from the Paris commune of Clichy-Sous-Bois, a neighborhood rife with conflict due to racial tensions. Bilal refused to take sides in the conflict, until one day he and his best friend Aarif were caught in the crossfire. Later that day, Aarif, obsessed with taking the law into his own hands, set fire to a police station, dying in the process. To honor the memory of his friend, Bilal began his training in Parkour and became the vigilante known as Nightrunner to prevent chaos and civil war in his city.

The ‘Nightrunner’ being referenced in this story may or may not be the same Nightrunner in the Batman comics. It’s just a cool little easter egg/nod to this comic book character.

The Return of the Brunei Superhero Story

Back in 2012, I started writing a Brunei superhero story titled ‘Guardians of Darussalam’ and published it online.

I’ve published several chapters sporadically between 2012 and 2014 in my spare time. I stopped because of several reasons (writer’s block, lost of interest, day job workload, etc). I said that I’ll return to it someday.

It has been three years and now I am re-editing and re-publishing the chapters I’ve written back then.

I am hoping to re-publish the chapters every week (one chapter per week).

I’m open to any constructive comments/suggestions.

Hope you all enjoy!

Click the links below to the read the chapters so far:

CHAPTER 1
6 Jan 2017
Adam encounters a magical giant archer fish that granted him extraordinary strength – the same ability as the legendary Bruneian folk hero Awang Semaun.

CHAPTER 2
15 Jan 2017
Liza helps a victim of physical abuse. Adam gets involved in a car accident.

Guardians of Darussalam

What if Superman and Batman were Bruneians?

That was the question that I’ve asked myself when I was a kid and I’ve pondered with the possible answers ever since.

I’ve always wanted to see an epic blockbuster type action movie set in Brunei. And there’s nothing more epic than a timeless superhero story.

The aim is to take elements of the classic superhero mythos – whether it be the Superman or Batman mythos – and try to fit it in a Bruneian setting.

Guardians of Darussalam

To me, a story about a Bruneian superhero should have elements from major superheroes such as Spiderman, Batman, Superman while tackling social themes relevant to Brunei. There is no point in telling a story without touching on subjects that we can relate to.

It is also important to ground it on local legends. We have our own legendary heroes: the super strength Herculean Awang Semaun – brother of the first Bruneian Sultan and Awang Jerambak – a man with lots of extraordinary weapons. I have taken some liberties on their myths/legends to fit in with the themes of the story.

Setting

The story is set in a heightened reality/fictional/alternate version of Brunei – a small  state at the northern part of the Borneo Island . Certain elements with real life basis are exaggerated or modified to serve the type of story being presented.

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Chapters

The current plan is to tell this story in three ‘Volumes’

Volume I – Origin. This will be straightforward: the Whys and Hows of the person becoming a superhero/hero.

Volume II – Crossover. Nothing is more exciting than  one superhero crossing paths with another superhero – whether in comics, cartoons or movies. Also, the public’s reactions and how the superheroes react to those reactions will hopefully be explored.

Volume III – Crisis. Final battle against the supervillain.

You can read all the chapters HERE

Although I originally envisioned this as a live action movie or a comic, I thought it would be better if I can initially just write it and let it out of head. Maybe someone who’s more capable and talented would adapt/remake this in another medium.

I accept any feedback or suggestions.

Enjoy!