Muse is a new original hardcover graphic novel by Terry Dodson and SP Filippi… that’s not so new after all.
Originally published in 2008 as Träume, the book tells a rather raunchy story of Coraline, “a beautiful young lady who comes to serve as governess to a wealthy and very mysterious young man.”
However in December, it will be published by Humanoids in English for the first time.
Here are a few, less salacious pages to give you a taste.
Original covers for the European editions…
The fuzzy gray border between language and image is no more apparent than in comics. From sound effect to the logotecture of Will Eisner’s splash pages for The Spirit, words and pictures stand in for each other creating a language unique to the form. But the idea of language as art is not limited to just the funny pages, and in fact all written language originates from a pictorial form. In Habibi the new full-length graphic novel from Craig Thompson, story, language, and image come together in an exaltation of both the comic medium and the Arabic script.
The story opens with the sale of Dodola as a bride to a scribe. She’s only a child. Though not explicitly depicted, her “wedding night” is far from a comfortable happening. But her husband gives her the gift of language, teaching her the Arabic calligraphy which becomes such a relevant motif and theme throughout the book. Her husband is killed pages later by bandits, and she’s abducted into slavery, but before we are taken to that time in her life (and in Habibi there are many such flash, the story skips ahead to her life on a boat in a sea of sand, caring for Zam, an orphaned slave she has rescued.
So then is the tone of the book set, or rather, its variances. Habibi is a work of beauty and ugliness. There are acts of kindness and redemption packed in shoulder to shoulder with instances of abject cruelty and selfishness. These are real people living on the page in ink, and Thompson has sculpted characters that are perfectly imperfect.
It’s these weakness and strengths, working hand in hand, that drive the story. Dodola and Zam’s lives, played out in the fictional arabesque (and Arab-esque) nation of Wanatolia, a land that drifts amorphously between the problems and progress of the modern Islamic world and the jasmine-scented lamp lights of a Scheherazadian eve. Their lives separate and reweave throughout their lives, crossing all echelons of society, from the garbage strewn gutters of the poorest neighborhoods to the most lavish palaces imaginable.
“When I finished Blankets, I was so sick of drawing myself and midwestern snow blankets. I wanted to do either something fantastic, which comics are well suited for, or something journalistic like Joe Sacco’s stuff. Habibi sort of did both.”
The book itself is physically gorgeous, with an attention to design usually reserved for holy texts. Open the cover and you find yourself looking at a beautiful rendition of a scene of disgust: waves of garbage-strewn ocean. It is not a pleasant sight, but it is rendered with such detail and attention that one cannot miss the hidden message between this and the cover: sacred or profane, everything in this story has the fullest of it’s teller’s skill poured into it. “I don’t read or write Arabic,” said Thompson, “I had a friend who could translate English into Arabic, then I’d use a computer to arrange the layouts of the text, and then hand drew it into the book.” In some instances, Thompson used classical examples of Arabic calligraphy in the book, and over the years of work put into the project has learned… a little. “I know the 28 letters, and can recognize words if I know the spelling.”
With Habibi, Craig Thompson has cemented himself as a certified graphic novelist with a body of work easily comparable in scope and depth to that of any writer of contemporary literary fiction. In a little over a decade he’s produced now four graphic novels including the coming of age fable Good Bye Chunky Rice, the multi-award wining autobiographic work Blankets, and the North-African/European travelogue sketchbook Carnet de Voyage. (The latter, published by Top Shelf, is of particular interest to those readers of Habibi who are taken with and crave more of his absolutely gorgeous inkwork depictions of Arabic architecture and design.) Habibi stands as a new masterwork in American comics, and a graphic novel seriously worthy of sharing shelf space with Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco.
“I like creating a book you can get lost in.”
Habibi is an ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS $35 hardcover, 672 pages, available from Pantheon Books.
Greg Baldino is a Chicago-based writer and impresario, promoting arts and culture on several fronts. He writes regularly for Rain Taxi Magazine, and the American Library Association.[Note: We have had to remove images from the feed due to other high-traffic sites hotlinking our hosted images. We hope to be able to restore them here eventually. In the meantime, see bleedingcool.com for complete post]
Now I’m not one for spoilers, you all know that.
But it seems I have in my possession, the knowledge of exactly who is under the hoodie, the new Scarlet Spider, appearing in Point One and spinning out of Spider Island.
But there’s no fun in just telling you. Not when the reveal is such a while away.
So I’m going to let you guess. Here are ten possibilities. One of them is the correct identity. But who will guess correctly? One of those who do so in the message board below (and only one post per person) will win… something. No idea what yet.
Here are your contenders.
1. Peter Parker
2. Ben Reilly
3. Miles Morales
5. Aunt May
6. Shang Chi
7. Mary Jane Watson
8. Eddie Brock
9. Norman Osborn
10. Joe Michael Straczynski[Note: We have had to remove images from the feed due to other high-traffic sites hotlinking our hosted images. We hope to be able to restore them here eventually. In the meantime, see bleedingcool.com for complete post]
Newsarama is reporting that George Peréz will leave the ongoing relaunch Superman comic after issue 6, to be replaced by Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens.
The DC books seem to have been planned in six issue chunks, certainly when it comes to creators on the book, so this may fit in with original plans.
But if this true this will be the latest in a run of post-DC Comics New 52 relaunch changes, including John Rozum leaving Static Shock, JT Krul leaving Green Arrow, Ken Lashley leaving Blackhawks, Alessandro Vitti still announced but not actually drawing a page of Blackhawks, Roger Robinson off Mister Terrific with a few fill ins here and there to boot…
And Rob Liefeld? Still on Hawk & Dove...
Newsarama doesn’t give a clue as to the source of the story, something I’m encouraged to see as part of the ongoing Bleedingcoolisation of the comics industry.[Note: We have had to remove images from the feed due to other high-traffic sites hotlinking our hosted images. We hope to be able to restore them here eventually. In the meantime, see bleedingcool.com for complete post]
Are you Australian? Would you like to live in Asutralia? How abojut owning and running a comic shop there, in Albury New South Wales? Because that’s the location of bordering-on-twenty-years-strong Comic & Games Cafe, and owner Chris Luke is selling up to raise a family.
And it’s yours for $50,000 ONO (Australian dollars, which is pretty muh the same as the US dollar these days). Australia comes included. His Australian number, if you wish to speak to his Australian voice, is here: (02)6023-6253.
While IDW and Avatar run interesting retailer cover variants, from Godzilla squashing your store, to a retailer appearing as a Ghostbuster or entirely original pieces of War Goddess art specific to one store, Marvel appear to have taken a step back.
Their customer variant saw a number of comic readers pony up for two thousand copies of Amazing Spider-Man with a cover featuring a drawn version of them swinging across New York as Spider-Man, which fitted in perfectly with the themes of Spider-Island.
This time it’s a bit of a reverse step to the earlier Amazing Spider-Man variant cover.
Either way, Avengers The X-Sanction #1, featuring the return of Cable on a mission to wipe the Avengers from history (and not just by scheduling a Twilight Vs Harry Potter movie against it in Summery 2012) will allow retailers to get a photo of their store on the cover.
To participate, retailers have to match their orders of ordinary issues to those they ordered of Fear Itself #7, and then order 500 of more of their very own variant edition.
Retailers will be able to choose from two cover to put their shop photo on, Bryan Hitch and Carlo Pagulayan. The covers will be revealed at a later date, before final orders are due, but the comic is probably less iconic than the Spider-Man photo issue. You can make the argument that a Spider-Man comic with the shop on it is a mainstream impulse buy. Cable doesn’t quite do that.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at one of those Ghostbusters IDW retailer covers…