SALADIN AHMED ON WRITING BLACK BOLT, INFLUENTIAL EDITORS + WRITER WHO GOT HIM GIG, TURNING A MARVEL D-LISTER INTO A-LIST POTENTIAL, COSMIC PRISONS + AHMED’S CONNECTION TO SECRET LIFE OF PRISONERS (MF GALAXY 127)



HIS LOVE FOR CRUSHER CREEL, BLACK BOLT’S RACIAL IDENTITY, HOW WRITING COMICS PROTECTS HIM FROM A “GOOD OLD-FASHIONED NERVOUS BREAKDOWN”



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Saladin Ahmed is a fascinating cat. He’s best known as the Arab and Muslim American fantasy novelist who crafted Throne of the Crescent Moon which was nominated for the Hugo and won the Locus Award for best first novel. But his ethnicity also includes Polish and Irish, and his writing also includes short stories, articles, a stunning number of Tweets, and the new Marvel Comics series Black Bolt about the king of the Inhumans.

We met at the Science Fiction Research Association conference in Detroit in 2012, and he was as fun and down to earth in person as he is online. When I learned that he was writing for Marvel I just knew I had to find out what it was like for him as a novelist to leap into the world of comics, and was delighted to learn that like me, he was a lifelong comics fan who’d always wanted to create comics, too.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Saladin Ahmed discusses:

  • Which influential editors and which groundbreaking comics writer helped him get the gig
  • How his shot at turning a D-list Marvel character such as Black Bolt into A-list potential gave him the chance to write one of his favourite Z-list characters into the story, and why
  • What aspects of real-world politics about alienation and prison he wants to address with Black Bolt, and which others he won’t touch and why
  • His personal connections to prison and knowledge of the secret life of prisoners, and why they matter
  • How writing comics helps keep him safe from what he called a “good old-fashioned nervous breakdown” and liberated him from the soul-crushing and intimidating solitary grind of novel-writing

Ahmed spoke with me by Skype from his home near Detroit on June 02, 2017.

Saladin Ahmed’s Patreon
Christian Ward
CBR - Black Bolt sent to cosmic prison
Marvel editor Sana Amanat
Marvel’s Sana Amanat page
Sana Amanat’s TEDx talk
Sana Amanat Talks Ms. Marvel - Late Night with Seth Meyers
Off Panel #52: A Day in the Life with Marvel Editor Wil Moss
The Inhumans
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe
Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual
Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man
5 Ways The U.S. Prison Industrial Complex Mimics Slavery
Angela Davis on the Prison-Industrial Complex
Inhumans coming to TV + debut on IMAX
Arabian Knight
How one 31-year-old paid off $220,000 in student loans in 3 years

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