Have you read Alif the Unseen yet? It’s a fantastic (in every sense of the word) tale of a young hacker in an unnamed fictional Middle Eastern city who accidentally creates an unstoppable program and must run from The Hand, a cruel agent of the dictatorial government. Along the way, Alif and friends enlist the aid of a djinn, a cleric and many more, weaving an adventure on par with Wizard of Oz, but significantly, er, harsher.
Everything about Alif the Unseen lends itself to what could be an excellent comic, such as…
Its Cast of Characters
Though the titular young man isn’t entirely likeable, he is entirely relatable, as anyone can see a bit of himself in him, from his longing for love to his unrepentant cynicism. Dina, Alif’s neighbour and family friend since childhood, is his perfect foil — sharp, shy, confident and an all-around badass in her own way. The rest of the cast is rounded out by characters just begging to be brought to life by the deft hand of an artist, such as Vikram “the Vampire,” a djinn who comes to Alif’s aid (and is easily most readers’ favourite character) and the other unseen residents of the Empty Quarter. Want evidence of what Alif the Unseen‘s characters would look like brought to life? Before the book was released, there was a “Create-a-Genie” contest, and artist Allyson Haller won. Check out her awesome djinn.
Isn’t that just begging to be an variant cover?
G. Willow Wilson has the Chops
While Alif the Unseen is Wilson’s debut novel, she cut her teeth as a journalist and has written some awesome comics, such as the much-loved Cairo, the ambitious Air and the current run of Ms. Marvel, which made headlines all over for featuring a Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenage girl, as its main character (it also happens to be thoroughly enjoyable — order it and you won’t regret it). She knows how to write comics with heart, humour and just the right amount of fantasy.
The Empty Quarter Deserves to be Brought to Life
The Empty Quarter, where the djinn reside on the outskirts of the city (and our reality) and to which Alif and the Gang (not the official name of the group of protagonists, but it’s fun to add a bit of Little Rascals flair) escape, is described beautifully. If it were brought to life by an artist with a serious knack for such an Oz-like environment — such as J.H. Williams III or Skottie Young — the resulting art would adorn the walls of nerds the world over.
We can all agree that this would be awesome, correct? A comic based on one of the coolest novels released in the past few years seems like a no-brainer. So how about it, G. Willow Wilson?