How Allah, AI & I Made A Comic Book This Summer

So this summer, I made a comic book with Allah and the AI. Let me explain.

Allah is the Arabic word for god, but because of the way the Islamic faith is structured; it’s most often used in reference to the one true God of the Abrahamic religions, rather than referring to any other deity of any other belief system like the word god does in English. Allah, aside from being the creator of all life and the known universe; is also the author of Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. This is significant. Muslims believe that the words in the Qur’an are the words of Allah itself. 

When you read the book, you can see how that works out. Allah talks in the first person plural for most of the time, describing in detail what their wishes are and what they expect from their followers. Allah also takes direct credit for all the Abrahamic belief system, whether it be Judaism or the pre-Islamic Hanifism. The book is very clear: All the prophets from Moses to Joseph worshipped the same god, tried to spread the same set of instructions but the message got corrupted by the greed and frailty of men. So the Qur’an is the final book. Mohammed is the final Abrahamic prophet. Allah has spoken its final word.

So. I made a comic book with Allah and the AI. Once again, let me explain.

Midjourney is an artificial intelligence program that creates images from textual descriptions, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a robot who turns words into images. It’s not too dissimilar to other text-to-image AI programs like Stable Diffusion or DALL-E in its functionality: You give the robot a prompt, robot parses that prompt and generates an image based on the dataset it’s using. Where Midjourney feels different is how it seems to be able to convey the sense of emotion. The prompts you give to Midjourney turn into seemingly more touching images, in seemingly purposeful color-generation and seemingly deliberate compositional choices. Where other text-to-image AI programs seek to turn the words into images in a more representational manner; Midjourney is also comfortable dealing in the abstract. You don’t just have to ask the robot to make you a picture of Napoleon Bonaparte riding a shark through lava, you can also just ask the robot to make you a picture of that dread you feel after an uncertain breakup. Ask the robot to paint an idiom. Feed the robot some lines from your favorite poem.

Or give it the words of Allah.

So. This summer. Me, Allah and the AI. We made a comic book.

I was sitting on my balcony in Leipzig when I suddenly decided to read the Qur’an. I was reading about the representation of other prophets in the Qur’an, you see; and I found out that there was a whole surah, or chapter named after Mary, mother of Jesus; talking about not only Mary and Jesus but also about Moses and Joseph and Jacob and Isaac and Ishmael and Adam and Zecheriah and Noah; so in essence, all the Abrahamic protagonists. With an excitement not unlike the one I feel when I’m about to watch a superhero movie where characters from other movies get together, I started to read. 

Then as I read I wondered, what would the robot make of this? 

Here’s what I did: I compared and contrasted passable English translations of the Qur’an. I collected the ayet, or the verses of the surah Mary dealing with the birth of Jesus. I then fed those verses to the robot. Midjourney gives you four options with each prompt and can further work on an option should you choose to. So I curated the images accordingly. Then finally, I found a comic-book looking free font on Dafont, and put the corresponding ayah on the image the robot made of it and placed the images as if they were panels of a comic book.

So. Words by Allah. Art by the AI. Edited by a human being. Allah, AI and I made a comic book together.

Here’s the final result. Hope you enjoy it. 

Author: Yiğitcan Erdoğan

instagram: @beggarandchooser