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Comics and Sacred TextsReimagining Religion and Graphic Narratives$
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Assaf Gamzou and Ken Koltun-Fromm

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781496819215

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496819215.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Writing the Sacred in Craig Thompson’s Habibi

Writing the Sacred in Craig Thompson’s Habibi

(p.5) Chapter One Writing the Sacred in Craig Thompson’s Habibi
Comics and Sacred Texts

Madeline Backus

Ken Koltun-From

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter discusses how Craig Thompson’s Habibi (2011) constructs the oriental sacred through Arabic calligraphy, weaving sacrality into the visual and textual narrative of the imagined, exotic other. The exotic and even erotic forms of calligraphy stylize a natural and imminently accessible sacred that works within an oriental mode of visual exposure. We can see this oriental sacred in the natural landscape, in the mythic and salvific animals, in the Islamic textual traditions of hadiths and Qur’an, and in the material body of Dodola who captures the young Zam’s erotic fantasies. Thompson deploys calligraphy to open Islamic and Arabic culture to the oriental gaze, imagining the sacred within the imagined world of Richard Burton’s 1,001 Arabian Nights. Within this space and gaze, Arabic calligraphy takes on the form and function of the sacred orient.

Keywords:   Sacred, Orientalism, Islamic calligraphy, Habibi, Thompson

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