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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 03/06/2017 : 1:53:27 PM
Writer for Yonge At Heart
Published by: Toronto Comics
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Rich: How did you find out about Toronto Comics?
Safiyya: My friend Ryan Clement who is a contributor to the last anthology (Toronto Comics Anthology #3) told me about it and suggested that I should contribute. I bought a copy of it at the Page and Panel store in the Toronto Reference Library, and was impressed with the Volume 3 stories so I took his advice and submitted a pitch.
Rich: What comic story do you provide the writing for in "Yonge At Heart" and what is it about?
Safiyya: I wrote the story, “1001 Torontonian Nights” about Beit Zatoun which was my favourite spot in Toronto before it closed down. It was located in Mirvish Village and was an activist cultural centre that held some amazing events. I remember thinking “What would happen if someone used magic to keep the centre open?” and then all of a sudden a comic about an amateur genie, a time warp and some beloved fans of the centre tumbled out of me.
Rich: What type of reader will enjoy your story in "Yonge At Heart"?
Safiyya: Well Beit Zatoun fans for starters. They had their regulars and people who really admired their work. I think anyone who likes genies and the supernatural would probably get a kick out of it. Also anyone who really liked Mirvish Village might appreciate the story.
Rich: Do you prefer art in black and white or color?
Safiyya: Gina Garcia Basora was the illustrator of my comic and is a formidable artist. I really do think she has the potential to go far in her career. Her work is unapologetically feminine which just reeled me in. She illustrated the comic in color – which I enjoyed because I felt color assisted in communicating the passion of the characters.
Rich: Would you contribute again to Toronto Comics if the chance arose?
Safiyya: Yes, definitely! The staff is very talented and it’s clear they are committed to quality as well as developing the skills of their contributors. Normally, I need to be inspired for anything creative so if I’m inspired by anything in the city, Toronto Comics will get a pitch from me.
Rich: What is the key to becoming a great writer?
Safiyya: Whether you’re a writer or an illustrator. As a writer, I can say that being inspired is key for me. Of course, I’m fairly new and still learning so I’m not sure what leads to greatness in art. But I’m assuming every step of the way that an artist needs passion and inspiration to continue on in their work.
Rich: Which other writers do you look up to?
Safiyya: G.Willow Wilson is someone I admire for her work on Ms.Marvel. I simply, utterly, completely adore Neil Gaiman. He’s a masterful storyteller and his ability to write complex female characters just takes my breath away.
Rich: If you could write any super-hero comic which one would it be and why?
Safiyya: I’d probably want to write an X-Men one with Sooraya Qadir (Dust) in it. I think Dust needs to be rewritten for something more than the shock value she contributes now and then.
Rich: Are there many comics geared towards Muslims?
Safiyya: Yes there are plenty, and Muslim superheroes definitely deserve their own category in comics at this point. There was the Muslim Green Lantern, Simon Baz. Also there’s Kamala Khan as Ms.Marvel, Dust and Monet St.Croix as X-Men. Out East, there’s The 99 – a Middle Eastern comic series that has apparently gained a following in the West. There’s the Egyptian web comic Qahera which also has a fan base on this side of the world. I haven’t read the two but it’s worth mentioning that comics seem to be gaining a lot of fans outside of the West and in the Islamic world. Apparently there’s even a new Saudi Arabian one with a Muslim female superhero, Latifa who I also haven’t read.
Rich: What is an intersectional super-hero?
Safiyya: Intersectionality is really about the different ways social categorizations contribute to a lived experience. Much of it involves race, class, gender and sexual orientation as well as other social categorizations. We have many examples of intersectional superheroes. Kamala Khan, Riri Williams, Miles Morales and Alan Scott are all examples of intersectional superheroes. In short, through their ethnicities, religions or sexual orientation they represent something other than the dominant archetype of superheroes out there.
Rich: Does mocha taste good?
Safiyya: For sure! I do highly recommend them. Luckily there are plenty comic stores in the city who have coffee bars and sell them.
Rich: Which comic book would you most like to be the writer on?
Safiyya: I think I’d like to contribute to Ms.Marvel as a writer if it’s anything.
Rich: How do you spend any free time you have?
Safiyya: I spend my free time reading, traveling and sometimes spending a day watching Netflix and just being lazy... LOL.
Rich: Anything you want to say to those who enjoy your writing?
Safiyya: To anyone who enjoys my story, I just want to express a heartfelt thank you.
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