terça-feira, 1 de janeiro de 2008

Malaak - Angel of Peace (graphic novel)

The US has Captain America, Canada has Wolverine and the Alpha Flight (according to John Byrne). England has Dr.Who, Mexico has the Chapulin Colorado, Argentina has Patoruzu, Belgium has Tintin. France has Asterix, and now, who is Lebanon´s Super Hero?

Answering that question in living colours is the task the lebanese illustrator, graphic designer and writer Joumana Medlej took for herself, and the result is a ravishing fresh graphic novel entitled "Malaak, Angel of Peace" which i´m holding on my hands, in its gigantic size and glorious 36 adventurous pages .

As it is a superhero comic, naturally, it follows some traditional superhero conventions, the origin story, the supernatural powers, the secret identity, so...what´s so special about this one?

Unlike some bizarre recent condescendent attempts at middle eastern superheroes published by clueless westerns and drawn by even clueless illustrators (hahaha some of them are brazilians like me) this is the real, intelligent, classy, proud, luxurious and original thing.

The story is set in today´s Beiruth (ok, in a parallel universe Beiruth), with its well known troubled past, suggests that interfering interdimentional demons, named Jinn, where the war perpretators, so, in response to that, the spirits living in a cedar forest provide an answer in the form of a young girl, who have to grow up, come to terms with her special powers and fight them off.

The art comes easy on the eyes, and the feeling is tangible. This is not rushed or for the rushed. If it sometimes remind you of an educative children´s book, it´s because the author experience on children´s book. It also might remind you of european comic albuns, with no need of "in your face" angry faces with billions of face lines and billions of teeth. It also reminds you that not all comics need to be set in New York, and that Lebanon is not that badly photographed place you see on that annoying warmongering channel with all the awful moving/scrolling "irreadable" news banners.

Some world travelling fictional characters occasionally suffer in the hand of bad writers who obviously have zero knowledge about the "exotic" culture they´re supposedly talking about.
Being brazilian myself, I often cringe when a lame movie or tv show or book or comic book talks some countries with total disregard of the real local culture, cripes, the examples are just too many I won´t bother you with it.

So, this is a rare opportunity to drink pearls of higher sensibility straight from the source.

Indulge yourself:

http://www.malaakonline.com
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