Monday, November 26, 2007
Here is secret agent Corvus throwing a gel disc at Amira.
Corvus is mute, apparently for psychological reasons। Steve and I will deal with this in future stories. For now, we find out that she is eccentric, and is obsessed with tactile things such as beads, feathers jewelry, fabric, textured glass, etc. She surrounds herself with these things and wears them.
I recently visited the Bergdorf Goodman Christmas windows in Manhattan. These windows are works of art, in my opinion. They are visually spectacular, like fine jewelry, but they are also dramatic, alluring and clever. Above all, they reach into the imagination in a very modern way. Anyone who visits Rockefeller Plaza at Christmas should take the short walk to view these windows. They are always worth seeing. This one reminds me of the character Corvus, sitting in her own space, surrounded by things that she collects obsessively.
Amira is a Sunni Muslim. Sunnis represent the vast majority of Muslims worldwide. They believe that the original Caliphate(ruling body), following the death of Muhammad, was chosen by Shurah (democratic process). It's leader was a man named Abu Bakr. Shi'a Muslims believe that the Caliphate must extend from Muhammad's bloodline, and/or from the bloodlines of those who were anointed by him into the Caliphate.
Honestly, when I read the headlines in the Middle East, the infighting between Sunni and Shi'a always sounds like racism, power grabbing, or gang warfare. It doesn't sound like theological differences.
Anyway, Amira is definitely not associated with any of that, and in fact, she shuns it. She does associate with Sufism, which is the Mystical sect of Islam. There is a Mystical aspect to all of the three great monotheist religions. In Judaism it's called Kabbalah. It does not have an official title in Christianity, but it's poets are known collectively as mystic saints. These include Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila.
There are mystical aspects to Buddhism as well. Bodhisattvas seem to fit into a Mystical context. The best way I have figured out how to describe a Bodhisattva is that it is a person who has achieved enlightenment, just like Buddha, but has chosen to remain somewhere between this world and the next, as they are dedicated to helping others achieve enlightenment. When you see a sculpture of a Bodhisattva, they have specific hand gestures which indicate a transcendent path from the material world to enlightenment.
Amira has the power of invisibility, and lasers on each wrist. She also has a special light effect, which causes disorientation of an enemy. All of this will be described in more detail in the book. Steve and I will try to at least partially describe the nanoscience behind some of the ideas. To my surprise, much of what we have learned indicates that the special abilities of the Children of Perseus are not impossible in the distant future--just not within fifty years...but hey...that's comics!
Amira will sometimes quote Sufi poets, including Rumi, who is well known around the world. More important, she is Arthur's friend, and she is willing to risk her life to save him just as he saved her...but who's Arthur...?