This is a podcast about topics we don’t always cover on this show. Religion. Spirituality. Gender roles. Traditionalist societies. Comic books.
G. Willow Wilson is the author of The Butterfly Mosque, Alif the Unseen, and the Hugo award winning comic book, Ms. Marvel. She’s also lived a fascinating, unusual life: she’s an American who converted to Islam and then moved to Egypt, where she met her now-husband. The hallmark of her work is an empathy and appreciation for societies that are often caricatured or even reviled by Americans.
This conversation went in some wonderful, weird directions. We talk about Richard Dawkins’ “God gene,” and why Wilson feels she has it, and I don’t. We talk about how sickness can strengthen faith, what happens to spirituality when it’s decoupled from beauty, and why being in Egypt made Wilson feel less free, but more appreciated.
We also talk about writing and comics, about the ways in which superheroes have become modern myths, and how her character, Ms. Marvel, became an surprise commercial success as well as an unexpected protest icon. We touch on Gamergate, representation in comic books, and Mike Pence’s rules for interacting with women who aren’t his wife.
Wilson has a quality you find in the very best writers: an ability to look at the same world you see every day, but somehow discover much more behind it.
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
The Color of Earth, by Dong Hwa Kim
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
“A Revolution Undone,” by H.A. Hellyer
“Throne of the Crescent Moon,” by Saladin Ahmed
“The Meccan Revelations,” by Ibn al’Arabi