On Thursday night Craig Thompson, author of Blankets, gave a talk and a signing for his new work, Habibi, at Pegasus Books. I read Blankets at the urgings of Bill, and I have to admit that although I was enthralled by the story, I wasn’t in love with the art. Thompson’s new feat, though, is amazing. Every page.
Half of the story is the background of Thompson’s coming to the story, that after chronicling his coming of age in a small Midwestern town with a stoic and super religious family, he turned to the Middle East. He put so much research into Islamic folklore, which is in itself admirable, but he came to a point where he knew that when he read Richard Burton’s 1,001 Nights, he was reading Burton’s specific take on things. Wanting to go straight to the source for a more authentic take on aesthetics and history, Thompson focused on Islamic writing.
He then said some beautiful things about the written language, that it looks like music on the page. If you look at a passage, you can see exactly what he means. From there, it’s as if Islamic writing was destined to be a part of Thompson’s next project. He always saw comics as pictures you read, and now he could incorporate type you could look at. Beautiful.
He took us through a bit of his process (which you can get a glimpse of here), and it just made me really respect the guy. It took him seven years – SEVEN – to complete Habibi, and here I haven’t even held down one job for longer than two. Thankfully Thompson is undeniably speedy and talented when it comes to acknowledging his fans personally, and it took him far less than seven years to sketch Bill a beautiful profile of a woman:
If you’re looking for an epic you can read, or a comic that’s just incredibly beautiful, I strongly suggest you check out Habibi.
If you’re in San Francisco this weekend, Thompson will be at APE! (Drop by Booth 651 while you’re there!)