Enki Bilal is, no doubt, my favourite comic designer. This is the first, but not the only, time I´ll talk about him.
This image of the dancer and singer Nawal Kamil belongs to a series of pseudo-news under the name “El Cairo” happned supossedly in the 80’s. Christin wrote the texts and Billal created the photo-drawing collages. This series were publicated in Spain in Cimoc magazine in 1981.
Nawal, the protagonist of this new appears in a decadent place, an obscure hall of the Granada Casino, just downstairs. She appears half-nude, with the rimmel drawing her face because of tears of powerlessness. It seems that she has been raped. But there is an element that reveals that something more happened. She has a dagger in her right hand. Maybe she has killed her hounder. Nobody talks about it. I f he killed him, nobody knows.
This is an evidently powerful image and reflects the decadence of Orient. In 19th century Europe looked to Orient as a Paradise Lost but nowadays we know that close exotism there exists also decadence. El Cairo, one of the most populous cities of the world, capital of that country that millenniums ago was the most important Empire of Antiquity, is different today. The Granada Casino seems to reflect this situation: the stairs and the ocher-colored walls are ramshackle, not in ruins, but enough stable to continue opened.
This environment is a parallelism to the situation of our protagonist. She has been attacked and nobody helped her. She had to defend herself with a dagger. This fact remind me and heroine of the Old Testament, Judith, who beheaded Holofernes to save her fatherland. So, our Nawal could be a modern Judith, not in the sense of Klimt’s Judiths of Art Nouveau, just an anonymous Judith in the end of 20th century. She is not a heroine in the strict sense of the word, she only tries to survive in the dangerous world she lives.
This woman is quite different to the females that Bilal uses to draw. Here the nudity does appear harsh, she shows her sex explicitly revealing the sexual attack she has suffered, while she still wears the sexy top, that evidences the sexual component of her show as dancer and singer. I mean that Bilal always draws females in a fantastic sphere, extremely pale, with non real colours (blue hair and lips, red, green in the atmosphere). However, in this context, simulating a real fact, Bilal draws a woman that suffers, she`s crying, and shows his recently tainted body.
Just because this is not an usual Bilal female, taken from a different context, I want to emphasize the importance of this image. The Bilal fans surely enjoy this facet of his production.