Habibi: Tales Within Tales

Stories are the framework that we build our lives upon. Our beliefs, our fears, our relationship with the world, with birth, with death, with fate, all come out of the tales we whisper to each other, huddled round campfires in the dark. We have taught ourselves to respond to myth and legend, fable and saga. Fantasy used as a way to understand and codify the callous, bewildering universe around us.

In Habibi, Craig Thompson takes the idea of the story as key to survival and runs with it. Riffing on Islamic and Christian mythology, the Thousand and One Nights and the ways in which language can both divide and unite us, the book is an astonishing, bravura example of how the graphic novel can do things with a story that no other medium can touch.

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Print Works: Habibi, Ashes and dire digital downloads

Now, I loves me the ebooks. The Kindle I snagged for last year’s birthday is going strong, and stuffed full of goodness. It’s revolutionised the way I acquire and consume digital long-form fiction–oh, ok, how I buy and read books.

And yet, when it comes to comics and graphic novels, I’m resolutely and unrepentantly old-school. If it ain’t on print, I don’t want it. A lot of that, I guess, is down to the kind of comics I like to read. I’m no fan of masks and capes, and Marvel and DC for the most part leave me cold. I can’t remember the last time I bought a comic – either the flimsy glossy American pamphlet or good old sheddy English newsprint. It’s trade paperbacks and graphic novels for me, at. I’d much rather read a story all at once rather than wait for it to eke out on monthly 22-page instalments.

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