Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts

Monday, November 6, 2023

It's Iimi! International Intrigue!

When Bahrudin brought his wives to Malta with a scheme to get them all European citizenship, he hoped for a peaceful and simple trip. But Sumeja realized this was her one hope of setting up an escape hatch. But is she being followed? And if so, by whom? From the Emirates to Malta, from Malta to Zurich, from Zurich to Lisbon, how will Sumeja handle being caught up in the middle of… International Intrigue

Post-Comic Notes:

This was indeed a story aimed at providing background information for future stories. So, our heroines don't appear much in this story. But Iimi's point is a good one to frame the story in. We should pray for people to protect them from harm or to mitigate inevitable harm.

And, of course, when looking for heroes and villains, it would be good to remember that Kismetta's family is dysfunctional.

Between the rough draft and the publishing date, the EU requirements for a UAE passport holder changed. When the story was being prepared, an Emirati passport holder needed a Visa to visit the EU nations. It now allows visa-free travel for 90 days (It still needs a Visa for the United States). The American passport, beginning in 2025, will require an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) to travel Visa-free for 90 days in the Schengen zone countries of Europe.

That change required a rewrite of some pages. But the long and the short of it is that Sumeja wants Kismetta to live with her, and Bahrudin's polygamy means Zara can't apply for permanent residency in the United States. Therefore Europe. 

Art Credits:

The Cover was designed by "Bree Orlock" and Stardust Publications. Used with permission.

All page wallpapers by Figu Design.

Most of the panel backgrounds were done through AI. I wanted to capture the feel of these countries without risking violating the photography rights of those providing actual photos in the size and resolution I needed. (You can get free photos, and you can get high-quality photos. But the two categories seldom intersect.)

Monday, October 23, 2023

It's Iimi! Doomed to Fail?

In logic class, Iimi finds herself the center of attention as they focus on the war in the Gaza Strip. Can she convince the class to look beyond assumptions towards what must be done in a just war? Or will the class falsely assume she is "pro-Hamas" and leave her mission… Doomed to Fail?

Pre-Comic Notes:

This comic concerns the Catholic moral teaching of war and peace. This is not always easy to see in the face of heinous evil. Yes, Hamas must be condemned. Terrorism is never justified. But it is easy to fall into the temptations of "If you're not 100% on my side, you're 100% on theirs!" and "They deserve what happens to them!" But not all Palestinians are guilty, and not all responses are morally acceptable under the teaching of Just War.

So, if anyone thinks I have equated the crimes of Hamas with the morally questionable acts of Israel, they have misunderstood my point entirely.

I began scripting the comic roughly the third day (10/10) after the terrorist attacks and finished the comic on 10/15. Netanyahu had announced Israel was at war. Reservists were called up, and Gaza was encircled and cut off. Hamas and Israel were exchanging rocket and artillery fire. Israel told the Palestinians living in North Gaza to evacuate. But there were no significant ground conflicts yet. Since the comic was finalized, the bombing of the Gaza hospital happened. It would have been discussed with the changing perspectives of what happened and the assumptions made. Certainly Pope Francis calling for a day of fasting and prayer would have been discussed. The issues of refugees and aid convoys could have been added as well.

I was surprised that, as of the night before this comic was to be published, the invasion had not happened yet. May God guide those involved to seek a just peace.

Post-Comic Notes:

The reference to the male witnesses at the detective agency comes from the Islamic rules on the testimony of female witnesses having half the value of male witnesses. While Abu Dhabi has decreed that the testimony of men and women have equal weight, lawyers in the Emirates still advise that if the case involves Muslims, there should be a minimum of two male or one male and two female witnesses.

The price Sumeja was quoted was based on the websites I found belonging to Private Investigators in Dubai. Believe it or not, you can buy gold in certain ATMs in the UAE.

Art Credits:

This comic was a bit of an experiment. To reflect the dangerous mood of the real world, I used dark and menacing wallpapers behind the comic pages.

The Cover is AI. I had an additional reason this time. Given the loss of life in this conflict, I did not want to use an actual picture of the destruction. Doing so would seem disrespectful to the innocent among the people killed in the terrorist attacks and response.

The cover is framed by a page design by Figu-Design.

The street scenes of Sharjah on pages 13 and 16 and the house scenes on pages 17 and 18 are done by AI.

Page 3, 5, 7, 18 Wallpaper Backgrounds: Publisher's Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey/Fat Goblin Games.

Page 8: The chains wallpaper © John Buckley, used with permission. The additional top and bottom decoration by Figu-Design

Page 16: The gold frame frame is © John Buckley, used with permission.

 All other page wallpapers are by Figu-Design.

Monday, July 3, 2023

It’s Iimi! Three Hours in Dubai

As Kismetta lands in Dubai, her friends—anxious for her—pray for her. Kismetta herself prays that any harmful plans against her will be thwarted. But when Sumeja asks her a question at the airport, how will Kismetta cope with… Three Hours in Dubai

Pre-Comic Notes:

It would be helpful to review issues 116, 117, 118, 131, 133, 166, and 173 to understand the background of Kismetta’s concerns about Dubai.

Post-Comic Notes:

Art Credits:

The Mustache/beard on Rajih Nour and the male police officer was designed by “Daiger1975.”

The mustache/beard on the angry man at the airport was designed by “internetulv.”

 The Arabic on the title page says (if Google Translate is accurate) “Arrest Report.”

 And, yes, Dubai Airport does have jail cells. So do most airports, including American ones (which I only recently learned when researching). In America, we call them Holding Areas. They’re not intended for extended stays.

 As Iimi mentioned in the comic, the Emirates—especially Dubai—seems to combine libertarianism and totalitarianism. It is tolerant of non-Muslims living in some ways contrary to Islam (consumption of pork and alcohol) but strict in others… and that brings us to the blasphemy charge.

 It is still considered a serious crime in the UAE and challenged by human rights activists.

 The tricky part is portraying the differences in laws between the United States and the UAE without bogging down the narrative or turning the Dubai police into a cartoon villain caricature.


Right now, what happened is still a mystery to those involved. So, some of the facts that I know about arrest and incarceration in Dubai can’t be revealed yet… you’ll need to be patient.

Now, let’s talk about the UAE and comic art. As I’ve said many times, I can’t draw. Using photographic backgrounds depends on what sort of permissions are required. So, I’m relying on assets from the Comipo and Clip Studio Paint programs and trying to make them look like they COULD be from the Emirates.

 One of the problems with creating Arabic characters is the skin color options, outfits, and facial hair don’t always fit with the real world. So, I do the best I can. I’m sure some of the characters look cringe. But they’re not intentionally designed to look that way.

 Dubai police officer uniforms are more of a khaki color. Unfortunately, this is the closest resource I could find to use. Female police officers in Dubai do wear a hijab as part of the uniform. Creating a female police officer was a challenge, as this uniform can only be used by male characters in Comipo. So, I had to start with a male model, increase the eye size, add and resize a hijab, cut away at the waist to make the character slimmer and add breasts. It’s not ideal, but it’s the best I could do.