DC’s first Arab-Muslim superhero to wear a Green Lantern ring will fight evil alongside celebrated names such as Green Arrow, Catwoman and Hawkman.

DC Comics’ chief creative officer Geoff Johns said he drew from own Lebanese ancestry to find inspiration for the character. Both he and character Simon Baz grew up in the Detroit area, which boasts one of the largest and oldest Arab communities in the US.

Johns said he is keen to show the effect that the New York terrorist attacks of 9/11 had on the Arab community of America, and the series will reveal that Baz’s family were subjected to harassment and prejudice after the events.

“He’s not a perfect character. He’s made some mistakes in his life, but that makes him more compelling and relatable,” said Johns.

In the beginning Baz is far from heroic. He disappoints devout Muslims, as his forearm tattoo that reads ‘courage’ in Arabic, is considered ‘haram,’ or religiously forbidden. He also lets down broader society by turning to a life of crime.

“Hopefully it’s a compelling character regardless of culture or ethnic background. … But I think it’s great to have an Arab-American superhero. This was opportunity and a chance to really go for it. I thought a lot about it – I thought back to what was familiar to me. This is such a personal story,” Johns said.

In August last year Marvel Comics revealed that Miles Morales, a half-black, half Latino teenager, is replacing Peter Parker as the face behind the famous webbed mask of Spider Man. In another move reflecting America’s diversity, creators said that in the future they would not rule out making Morales gay.