What do a smart-aleck drug smuggler, a female Special Forces Israeli solider, an idealistic American college student, a disenchanted Lebanese teenager, and a cynical op-ed columnist in the modern day city of Cairo have in common? Easy! They are all searching for (whether they know it or not) an enchanted hookah pipe that contains a benevolent genie who has the power (“We don’t pull things out of thin air, we manipulate probability.”) to make all of their dreams come true. The only obstacles in their way? A drug king-pin-turned-magician (who bears a striking resemble to Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil), the horned cousin of the benevolent genie who may or may not be Satan, and their own inability to work together as a team. If they can figure out how to do THAT, well, there just might be hope for peace in the Middle East. Funny, busy, and endlessly inventive, this stunning GN mixes faith, politics and fantasy in a way I’ve never seen before. The only thing I can think of that comes close is one of my favorite fantasies from ’08, The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick, which would make a nice companion prose read to this stellar graphic effort. And I’m not the only one to sing Cairo’s praises. It was also named one of the 2009 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association. So what are you waiting for? Take a magic carpet ride to Cairo today!
Cairo by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by M.K. Perker