Read a graphical novel (That's a decent way to call comics :P) after a long time. I have a very selective taste in comics. Especially if they are not Indian. The last comic that I read was LogiComix. Yes that wonderful graphical novel on the life and times of Bertrand Russel. That one was sheer poetry in terms of the flow and it was so crystal clear. No confusion anywhere.
I finished reading Cairo today. Yes, there is a comics called Cairo. :) Written by Willow Wilson and Art by Perker.
Let's go through the story in a gist. This was what actually got me hooked onto the comic.
"A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld, and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East's largest Metropolis."
Cairo is basically the story of five strangers.
One struggling manager of an Egyptian magazine whose articles are almost always censored and is struggling to make his ends meet. The girl whom he is dating, is a dancer in a bar. Her brother, Ali, is a drug peddlar. Near the Israel-Egypt border, the bedouins rescue a uniformed woman. A special forces recruit who has hurt herself in ambush and they are taking her to Cairo. An American Expatriate who is excited to be in Cairo, befriends another traveller of Lebanese origin.
By twist of fate, the flight to Lebanon is cancelled and Shaheed is forced to stay in Cairo. When he is wandering about in the streets of Cairo, Ali, the drug peddlar sells him a hookah for twenty dollars. Nar, the underworld Kingpin and a great evil magician is after Ali to get back the Hookah.
The American Expatriate and the Editor are kidnapped by Nar's men to blackmail Ali with the the life of this would-be-brother-in-law.
Meanwhile Shaheed realises that the hookah is actually the abode of a Jinn called Shams. A very powerful genie.
The special agent manages to threaten Ali into getting her into the Israel-Egypt route but not before Ali makes her promise that she will help him rescue his sister's lover.
The Editor and the Expatriate are taken into an ancient pyramid and locked up in a cell, but the Editor using his traditional knowledge and Shams using his magic down under, moves them to the Undernile, the legendary river of the dead that flows in the opposite direction of the Nile, under the Nile.
What happens after that is the rest of the story. Whether the Editor is rescued, Whether Shams is overpowered by Nar, Does Shaheed realise his true calling is the crux of the story told in an extremely crisp and entertaining format.
I would have definitely been thrilled if the comics was in Color. It would have definitely added a lot of depth into the Comic.
This one deserves to be made into a movie. The theme is quite apt. There were some frames where I actually I felt totally overpowered by the strength of the artist.
Color would have definitely made a big impact. Sigh !!!
P.S:- Oops I almost forgot to mention. The streets,the art, the architecture, everything is so genuine and authentic. Totally authentic. I was stunned when I saw the frames of the Egyptian Museum. Almost a genuine replica.