I thought I’d done with my book buying during my recent London trip, with visits to Foyles and Forbidden Planent. But, then while I was talking to Matt during the Headline meet-up, he recommended paying a call to Gosh Comics, (opposite the British Museum) if I had time before heading off back to Bradford the following day. I did have time, so I hopped on the tube and headed over.
It’s a cracking little store, with shelves, and shelves, and shelves of tempting graphic novels. I spotted this one, and remembered that Liz had said some good things about it, so I picked it up (along with Daytripper.)
Thankfully the side-trip and associated damage to my wallet and TBR pile was well worth it, as this was an excellent little read.
Cairo follows a group of very different people as their lives collide on the streets of Cairo. A drug runner, who despite his trade, works hard and cares for his family; political journalist trying to get the truth out, despite heavy censorship from the establishment; an Israeli soldier, a young, somewhat naïve American girl on her travels; and an unhappy Lebonese-American teen, with thoughts of becoming a suicide bomber. Oh, yeah, there’s also a magician turned gangster and a millennia old jin!
Quite the mix of characters, which allows the creators of this graphic novel to easily take them from the political and cultural hotbed of Cairo, off on magical adventure, though some of the regions mythical tales. With flying carpets, demons and a visit to the Undernile.
While it doesn’t have a political message as such, the character’s heritage and motivations are shaped by the region, and therefore inform some of their actions, and Wilson and Perker are careful with their writing and artwork to make sure it’s not lost, in the fun of the adventure.
Talking of the artwork is well matched to what’s going on in the story, conveying the lightness of the humour, as well as the more serious moments. The panels are stuffed with some great details, which are well worth keeping your eye out for, filing out some of the stuff that happens “off the page.” (Check out the photos of Shaheed and Kate, above Kate’s desk in page near the end.)
Lots of fun, I can see myself reading this one again in the near future, to see if I missed anything the first time around.