{read online books} Habibi Author Craig Thompson – Sisnlaw.co.uk

Habibi A couple weeks ago, I read and reviewed Chester Brown's Paying For It , a book singularly concerned with separating love from sex Brown forwards the idea that fewer problems arise if we segregate sex as completely as we can from the relational sphere He does this to such an extent that he proposes that sex is a pleasure best paid for and made entirely transactional It's not spoiling anything to say that Brown, as he represents himself in the book, iswholly concerned with sex than he is with relationship Despite the author's protestations, readers will almost certainly feel some sorrow for him as he shows himself unable to enjoy the manifold blessing of romantic relationships We watch his philosophy play itself out and wonder: is it enough?Craig Thompson's latest work, Habibi, may function well as a companion piece to Paying For It, only emphasizing the inverse of Brown's work: love that excludes sex Thompson balances several themes throughout Habibi's unfolded history of two runaway slaves but perhaps chief among these is an exploration of love, of true love—and how it can exist, flourish, and grow even in the absence of sexual fulfillment Chester Brown focused on his women as pure objects, as receptacles for his sexuality to the exclusion of their ability to exist as fullorbed human persons with dreams, hopes, loves, or even (for the most part) personalities; Thompson, on the other hand, uses the objectification of his characters to craft them into noble persons deserving of dignity, of hope, of love.Thompson walks a narratively perilous path, pushing envelopes with his characters that draw out the terror of the human spirit balancing against the redeeming power of a fullbodied and depthdefying love His choices are dangerous because as his characters participate in choices that may seem abominable—and in some sense they are abominable choices, made so by their sheer necessity—Thompson risks the reader losing interest in the plight of these two characters Still, the compassionate reader won't be able to help investment into their two stories, which are really just one story.In Habibi, Thompson introduces us to his heroine, Dodola, as she is sold into marriage to a scribe who will teach her to read, to understand the power of stories Dodola is nine and Thompson does not spare us the aftermath of her wedding night What's worse is that the anguish of such a scene, such an experience, is small in comparison to the fate Dodola and her adopted son Zam will live out Thompson makes a cruel god for his world and creations; yet it is in his cruelty that we see the beauty of Dodola and Zam spill out in Habibi's nearly seven hundred pages.Habibi is a major work in comics literature and Thompson's first since the nearlysixhundredpage Blankets Comparisons will be obvious Both works traffic deeply in religious language and colour their texts in displays of sacred ferocity Both explore the boundaries and need for love and human contact Both play with nonlinearity in storytelling, skipping back and forth and only revealing the past in time to illuminate the future These two creations are very much the work of the same author and it's a joy to see his voice maturing.Still, for those hoping for another Blankets, Thompson has something very much different in store In both tone and scope, Habibi is an entirelyambitious work We see Thompson redressing things that were focal points in Blankets In the former book, Raina is depicted in such sacred light by Thompson that she becomes the ultimate example of female sexual objectification—all with the best intentions of course, but when young Craig deifies her, he makes her into little better than a graven image In Habibi, however, when Dodola is depicted nude (which is often), she is wholly human This is a triumph of Thompson's technique for in the midst of the narrative, she is being wholly objectified, yet these instances serve only to drive home her humanity For the majority of those within Habibi's narrative landscape, Dodola exists much as Chester Brown's ideal woman—she is merely a receptacle for their sexual advances Thompson, however, prevents the reader from seeing her in this way by refusing to give her the visual lyricism her bestowed upon Raina Both are sacred and both are holy, but the one is made so by her sexuality while the other is made so by her personhood It's a difficult line to draw and that Thompson illustrates it so well ably demonstrates why he is one the leading auteurs in the medium.[Even odds that Thompson actually tried this out at some point in his life.]Habibi is a book marked by rape, slavery, castration, forced marriages, the murder of children, harems, and love While in its murk and depths, it may not seem possible that the last of these—love—should so completely overpower all else, but this is the case Love is not always victorious, but it is always glorious The love of these two for each other is simultaneously heartrending and heartwarming And it is for this reason that I won't soon forget that when Habibi asks of love without sex, Is it enough? the answer, though quiet in the face of the world's roar, is defiant: Yes, it is.NoteOne word about the art: it's manifestly evident why this book took Thompson six years to create Beyond the research necessary to develop such a wellrounded story that borrows so heavily from the Qur'an, Habibi's art is a wonder The intricacy with which Thompson approaches his pages staggers the imagination—especially when one recalls the stressinjury pain in his hand that he related in Carnet de Voyage So many of the pages of Habibi feature delicate ornamentation pulled from Islamic culture, ornament that would take hours to complete Here's an example:These are corners from four different pages, showing the kind of decoration that Thompson wrapped around entire pages At first I presumed that he drew this just the once and reproduced the designwork for subsequent pages This photo though shows that each page's work was distinct That Thompson took the care to patiently (or impatiently, it hardly matters) draw out these magnificent designs helps flesh out just how much effort was poured into this production The six years shows and Thompson outdoes anything I'd seen from him previously.[Review courtesy of Good Ok Bad] Damn you, Craig Thompson I’m so disappointed with your book Habibi.Your book is absolutely awful, despite your fancy artwork You’ve totally lost my respect after I’ve read your book today In fact, I couldn’t even finish it Your book is problematic in so many ways It’s over the top racist and sexist and shallow I’ve never read a book before that glorifies and romanticizes sexual violence so much On every other page, your female protagonist was raped, objectified or victimized Every Arabic man in your book was a brutal, camelriding rapist with no morality or redeeming qualities at all The only reason Arabic men exist in your world is to abuse women, and the only reason Arabic women exist is to please men who can’t help being rapists Your quotes from the Quran in the midst of all the female nakedness and in between scenes of sexual violence, felt extremely offensive And I’m not even religious!These quotes added nothing substantial to your shallow story Reading your pretentious, offensive and ultimately pointless book was an extremely uncomfortable experience. It's just too bad This book is conceived in a truly spectacular way, and visually, it succeeds and succeeds and succeeds Even at its most whimsical and farflung, the stories of the prophets and the references to mysticism thread elegantly through the narrative Thompson has a knack for portraying themes through symbolism in an elaborate, poignant manner The book was at its best, actually, during these sidestories The basic narrative is, rather literally, fucked The theme of the story is commodification, consumption, exploitation, and Thompson undermines all of it through his depictions of women Dodola is exploited and raped again and again and again in a particularly unsettling manner: you can see that the narrative is grappling with some serious problems through these events, but she's also positioned in repellingly titillating ways as it's happening Women are given plenty of excuses to be naked (and their bodies are generally given the same idealized shape); men are stuffed into formless drapery; and nobody has any kind of meaningful sex until the end The last point would not be an issue if Thompson's treatment of sex left it at a point of convincing redemption It's not that exploitation, as a topic, is offlimits (and believe me I have SO MUCH sympathy for the environmental parallels he draws); it's the fact that you shouldn't engage in a practice you're actively condemning! For instance, the scene where Dodola, as a nineyearold, has compassion for her much older husband's vulnerabilities is moving and brave What is not moving and brave is the way Thompson depicts her during this panel naked, approaching him sexually and the fact that this compassion manifests as (it's implied) tending to his needs And this isn't even to touch the flagrant Orientalism For a book so meticulously researched you'd think he'd at least know to avoid all those harem cliches For god's sake So, so disappointing to see someone so talented fail in such a fundamental way. Yay for Orientalism!My beef with Thompson is about his staggering Orientalism, which I’ll get to shortly.Themes of longing and survival permeate Habibi The protagonists, Zam and Dodola, long for each other, likening this to a yearning for the Divine – Middle Eastern poets have done this for centuries Zam and Dodola endure horrible events in the name of survival, perhaps tying in with Thompson’s conservationist theme by implying that our disregard for the earth is tantamount to rape and castration of the planet These themes, however, are often drowned out—no matter how much Thompson underlines them—by the towering gaffes of his misrepresentation The country of Wanatolia may be fiction, but the cultures it mimics and clumsily muddles together are real.When one opens Habibi, one might assume that it takes place a long time ago, in a fictional, faraway land that happens to look and feel just like Disney’s Agrabah But, lo! Wanatolia has steam punkthemed palace guards and highrise condo construction that flies in the face of a village’s pollution and resulting poverty and famine Is it to represent the “Global South,” as Thompson claims in a Guernica interview?No It’s simply an Orientalist reimaging of a modern Arabia—Thompson needs modern machinery to further his conservationist theme, but he still wants his premodern harems full of odalisques with no cell phones and his premodern camel caravans crossing a desert that his very same construction companies would build roads through.Thompson admitted to Guernica that he drew inspiration for Habibi from the Orientalist art movement Orientalist paintings are a primary example of Orientalism as a racist point of view because they are Western depictions of Arab lands based on preconceptions of the painters (who often had never been to the region they were depicting) Thompson traps himself by not realizing that his magical land full of djinns and harems is exactly the kind of fantastical interpretation that many Middle Eastern people and Muslims have had enough of.And then we come to the other huge problem: its portrayal of women and the sexualizing of rape The female protagonist, Dodola, is raped constantly: as a child, by her first husband; as a child and teen, by men in the caravans she tried to steal food from; by the sultan whose harem she lived in Dodola’s history is a history of rape, also falling into the Orientalist trope of brutal male savages and their oppressed women And once Zam (or Habibi, the male protagonist) witnesses one of these rapes, both his consciousness and his dreams are plagued by sensual reenactments of her rape Do I really have to make the point here that sexualizing rape is dangerous and unacceptable?Tasnim at Muslimah Media Watch highlights the tired savage men/oppressed women dichotomy that Thompson’s novel rehashes: “Dodola’s narrative in particular features an endless array of savage men victimizing sexualized women, with hardly a page passing without nudity or brutality.” Every other page, Dodola was naked for one reason or another: being raped, bathing, birthing The way Thompson portrays the female form is littlethan a screen on which to project his Orientalist, newagey crap And with the current lack of female representation in comic books and graphic novels, you’d think he’d try a little harder to make his female protagonistthan a naked body.I genuinely appreciated Thompson’s attempt to include the Qur’an in a positive way, which is why I wanted to like this novel G Willow Wilson, who has a foot in both worlds because she is both Muslim and a graphic novelist, tried similarly, writing, “the sheer dearth of sympathetic Muslim characters in western literature (and the fiercely secular world of comics and graphic novels in particular) makes me want to forgive a few small sins of inauthenticity.” And the beautiful drawings almost sway me before I realize that just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s okay.But mixing Middle Eastern fairy tales with Qur’anic passages, newagey alchemist references, and a constantly naked female protagonistturnedodalisque makes it apparent that Habibi is Thompson’s attempt to write his own Arabian Nights.http://www.racialicious.com/2011/11/0 I picked up this mindboggling graphic novel on a whim, and I'll forever be grateful for that My head felt like a spaceship right after finishing Prepare for this to change your perception and the way you think about everything.Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection.And can I just say that this was exactly what I was looking for in graphic novels: intellectual, emotional, philosophical, religious, existential feelings Plus, not only was the dialogue written with haunting detail, but the illustrations oh man, the illustrations were a whole new level of beautiful and vibrant I think the above is my alltime favorite piece of drawing from Habibi The level of detail is remarkable I'm still reeling from everything that went down, but I do know this: I was left feeling both satisfied and craving forof Dodola and Zam, particularly the lavishing stories she told him There are a couple of them that keep haunting my mind wherever I go.To conclude, Craig Thompson is a mastermind, and I can't wait to pick upof his brilliant creations.*Note: I'm anAffiliate If you're interested in buying Habibi, just click on the image below to go through my link I'll make a small commission!* Support creators you love Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Wow I guarantee you've never read anything like this book. SpoilersAbsolutely awful, one of the most rage inducing things I've ever read I don't even know where to begin, there were that many fucked up things about it Random, rambly thoughts:Habibi was a ridiculously offensive graphic novel filled with nothing but racist, sexist, orientalist, misogynistic rubbish Then there was the glorification of abuse and rape running throughout, the main character couldn't go at least a couple of pages without being naked, raped or victimised.The story itself was shallow, nonsensical, over the top, unrealistic, and a general mess Habibi might have been set in a fictional country but it wasthan clear that it was some warped, stereotypical, and exaggerated portrayal of the Middle East and Arabs/muslims (what with the clothing, the main religion being Islam, the use of Arabic language, the characters being mostly Arab, and the harems, the jinn, the myths and stories told within).Thompson's idea of Middle Eastern culture was: ALL men are either rapists or slaves, ALL women get raped and have no free will, fathers will happily sell their young daughters for a little bit of money, girls can only resort to prostitution to survive because apparently there's no job opportunities, pretty much all Middle Eastern people live in poor/desperate/unclean conditions, that Arabs believe in slavery and have a booming and very public slave trade, that NO Middle Eastern people have selfrespect/morals/intelligence/kindness or compassion, and ALL middle aged/old men are pedophiles and rapists at heart and have no problem fucking young girls Not one Arab/muslim character was portrayed as anything other than horrid, vile, sex crazed or evil Not one woman was portrayed as anything other than weak, vulnerable, oppressed, bitchy or heartless.There's no doubt in my mind that Thompson has a worse than low opinion of Arabs, muslims, and other minorities Summary of sorts: The story starts with a child (Dodola) being heartlessly sold into a forced marriage, her oldgrotesque husband rapes her, then she's kidnapped from her rapist husband and sold into slavery, she manages to escape with a toddler (called Zam) and they live on a boat in the middle of a desert, she becomes a mother of sorts to Zam In order for her and Zam to survive she prostitutes herself to passing caravans (and ALL the old men she meets arethan happy to fuck a child), she does that for years Then she's separated from Zam when she's kidnapped (again), this time she's forced into a harem with hundreds of other women… Ugh, then there'srape, WTFery, slavery, fucked upevil men, bitchy women, prostitution, incest At no point in the story was there one sane person or person with morals The Arab men were all slavers, greedy, violent, abusive, disgusting rapists who had no compassion or empathy or morals The black characters were either slaves or submissive or happy to serve The women were only ever portrayed as weak, and were constantly sexualised or brutalized None of the characters had any depth or personality, they were worse than stereotypes Dodola had no agency whatsoever, she was a constant victim and was pushed/pulled in every direction by those around her She was also drawn and depicted in a disgusting way No matter what she doing she was naked every other page… she was drawn like some sort of porn star What did her being naked add to the story? Nothing What was with all the sensual and loving drawings whenever she was being raped or attacked? Does Thompson think rape and abuse is sexy or romantic? Zam and Dodola's relationship made me sick… Dodola thought of Zam as her child (even though there was only a nine year age difference between them), they had a motherson relationship for a decade or so before they were separated Dodola used to bathe him as a toddler, change him, teach him things, and tell him stories before bed How could they get together when they had a parent/child relationship?! Even when she got pregnant herself she still thought of Zam as her true childso than her own biological child… So yea, for them to be together when they had parent/child feelings for each other was beyond vile.Dodola was only ever a sexual object, even when she was raped/being abused/giving birth she was drawn in a sickeningly sensual way Her being naked every other page was not only gratuitous but also made her seem evenvulnerable and victimlike to everyone around her, even her prepubescent 'son' was constantly perving on her She was ALWAYS the victim.Of course, Dodola was drawn as having no body hair despite her having no supplies and living in the middle of a desert I very much doubt she prostituted herself for razors or wax when she was so desperate for food for her and Zam I also find it highly unlikely that the caravans she 'traded' with would even stock those things She also managed to have the perfect body, even though she had little food/supplies — how did she manage to always look so good? In reality she would have looked hairy and malnourished with bad skin but that wouldn't have been sexy or 'exotic' enough for Thompson The only time she was drawn as grotesque was when she was heavily pregnant (apparently pregnancy is the most disgusting thing ever because pregnant women are no longer just blow up dolls for men so that immediately makes them some sort of ugly, alien species) It was fucked up Of course, Thompson didn't want to be realistic, he just wanted to draw his wet fantasy of Arab women.One of the worst parts was Thompson writing the rape apology towards the end where Dodola fondly reflected back on her old/middle aged husband — the man who forced himself on her when she was about eight years old Yea, she excused his rape because apparently the poor guy just couldn't help himself… he just wanted her oh so badly, and it wasn't his fault he was so horny for his child bride that he had to force himself on her… the poor guy had no control over it Ugh Does Thompson think Arab women would actually think like that? Or women in general would fondly excuse the pedophile that raped them?! REALLY?! Ugh, the rape apology was beyond disturbing — it almost seemed like Thompson hoped/thought that's how women/little girls would/should view rape and rapists, as something that couldn't be helped because naturally, the guy was needy and couldn't help himself… Also, to ease the 'suffering' rapists and pedos experience, women/little girls should happily seduce and fuck them because that's their job and they secretly love it (the act itself and pleasing men), and they should understand rapists and pedos Ugh, an absolutely awful portrayal of women, men, abuse, rape, and any nonwhite race.So first Dodola was a child bride to an old man, then she had to prostitute herself to countless men so the other guy in her life could survive, then she was forced into a harem and had a son, and then her other 'son' wanted her so to appease him she began a relationship with him Everything Dodola did was either out of her hands or done for the sake of a man… Heaven forbid, a woman doing something for herself or for someone that wasn't male What's with all these women in books/tv/movies whose only driving force is a man? Women can do things that having NOTHING to do with men.Another thing that pissed me off was that ALL the women in the harem hated Dodola because the sultan liked her most, they were so jealous of her that they wanted her dead Apparently, all women envy other women who getmale attention than them to such a degree that they want them dead Ridiculous.I guess the artwork was okay There were parts that were beautiful but those parts weren't down to Thompson, all he did was use/copy the Arabic language/art/design… There was nothing original from him at all He doesn't deserve credit for copying prominent Arabic art/language It's clear that Thompson wanted to base a novel on a foreign culture so his story could be 'exotic' and different He didn't bother to actually learn or research the different facets and beauty of the culture Nope, he just wanted to twist and exaggerate atrocities from its past so he could produce something shocking and hard hitting… Well, all he managed to produce was a racist, sexist, disgusting piece of unrealistic crap Yea, I won't read any of his other graphic novels. I am just sad and very upset, ignorant and shallow orientalism go through this book from start to finish The artwork is amazing, although I hate it when arabic calligraphy is misused as a decor and with random meaningless letters The elaborate usage of religious stories that had nothing to do with the ideologies in the book and its storyline that were further exploited sometimes by misinterpretations was just too much for me Overall it's overwhelming and not in a good way, as a Muslim woman I feel very offended, and I know these cases did exist in the past but this has nothing to do with the middle east or Arabs or Islam for that matter, Every spoilt culture went through these phases, slavery, child marriages and rape This was to me very offensive and extremely racist. From the internationally acclaimed author of Blankets , a highly anticipated new graphic novel Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world not unlike our own fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling Habibi is a laboriously gorgeous comic, with beautiful drawings, inks and atmosphere Ever since Craig Thompson announced it on his blog years ago, I had been really excited I had loved Goodbye Chunky Rice, liked Blankets, and was sure that Thompson would craft a beautiful story with all the care that it would require It's a real shame that it's a hopelessly orientalist narrative with virtually every other *ism you can think of added in with bonus writing that really isn't that great We spend 672 pages with Dodola and Zam (sometimes also known as Habibi, other times known as Cham*) but, at the end, I can really tell you very little about either character Dodola likes stories! She considers Zam her true child! That's really it With Zam, all I can tell you is that he is in love with Dodola That really is all I could tell you about his character.And perhaps that wouldn't be so bad, if Dodola and Zam weren't the only characters that are given even the briefest amount of depth Basically, every man excepting one is out to covet and salivate over female flesh, and even that exception has a moment when first introduced where it's unclear whether or not he would have done something to Dodola were Zam not to claim her as his The women (the very few there are) are all sexualized with absolutely no autonomy No, not even Dodola On the topic of Dodola, where do I even start As a child she is sold to be a middleaged man's bride, who rapes her (but also teaches her to read!) When her husband is murdered in front of her, she is sold into slavery (but that's where she meets Zam!) She escapes with a child to live in the desert, where she sleeps with the men in traveling caravans in order to get food When she is raped, it is to cause trauma for Zam, and promptly thereafter she is captured to be a part of the Sultan's harem Yes, that's right Captured To be a part of the Sultan's Harem.There, she gets a few servants to wait on her (black, of course), she gets pregnant and frets over what Zam would think of her, she sleeps with the Sultan to keep him enticed, which works for a while until it doesn't She then gets thrown into a polluted river with the expectation of drowning her (along with a large amount of women the sultan throws away because he is ~bored~), where Zam rescues her and nurses her back to health Afterwards, she lets Zam have what he's always wanted~ and they start a sexual relationship.Dodola has no autonomy in Habibi She is almost always sexualized, but never does it seem to be anything Dodola herself controls She makes mention of not viewing her body as her own, as it has always belonged to other men, and how her attempt to start a romantic relationship with Zam was phrased is made me sick It wasn't about her wants, or needs, beyond that she wanted to bear Zam's child and she wanted to make Zam happy Dodola never says that she wants to sleep with him other than as a means to an end, and the reader has no reason to think that she would want to be with him Even her dreams and fantasies involve her naked with her back arched to expose breast and ass The rape scenes are an attempt for righteous indignation and criticism, but how they are rendered is as much about romanticizing the act and giving the viewer a free pass to indulge as it is about damning At one point I decided to start counting how many pages Dodola appeared sexualized or naked, but I lost heart after I got to 85 pages.There's , including making a butchery of the Hijra (also known as the third gender) wherein Zam becomes one and later intends to kill himself for having wrecked his body in front of God and Dodola PLUS some inexplicable bigotry where Zam, who has been raised completely separate from society goes into town and screams at the Hijra going around that they are filthy and unnatural*, or how the romance came completely out of left field and didn't touch on the emotional incest at all, but frankly thinking about this bookis upsetting There are some nice comic layouts that flow very well, and the art is gorgeous, which is the only reason this book has that second star I would not recommend this book to anyone.*there is no explanation for the shifting names that I can recall*which makes zero sense that someone removed from society would come in and immediately show bigotry Confusion I could have understood, but vitriol?

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