Habibi is 665 pages of black and white illustration built heftily on Will Eisner's work as well as Islamic calligraphy and illustration. Here's what it looks like:
|Dodolla tells the story of the Fisherman and the Djinn.|
Habibi focuses on the story of Dodolla and Zam; two slaves who escaped and grew up in the middle east, and sustained themselves on stories from the 1001 Nights and the Qu'ran. Thompson is able to draw upon, subvert and explore the figures and events in each of these stories, and somehow makes magic seem possible in a mundane world. The book almost effortlessly draws up issues of modern day slavery, rape and sexual exploitation, religion, pregnancy, post-partum depression, starvation, aristocracy, male and racial privilege, sexual identity and frustration, pollution, and suicide. This can be a very depressing book at times, but it will also lift your spirit. This book, while fictitious, is about real people dealing with reality. Habibi is life in a breath of ink.