Short Box: Eight Billion Genies HC


Eight Billion Genies HC


Release: Jul 19, 2023

Whenever you explain the high concept of one work by comparing it another that comparison seems to invite accusations of one “ripping off” the other, so when I say that the basic concept of Eight Billion Genies reminds me of the basic concept of Wonder Woman 1984, I want to be clear that I’m not making or inviting that accusation.

But yeah, just as in that movie everyone in the world got to make a wish and chaos ensued, in this book everyone in the world gets to make a wish and chaos ensues.

That is, however, very much where the similarities end, and per the back matter in this collection, the idea predates even the first Wonder Woman movie. (It is interesting to note that writer Charles Soule has written Wonder Woman comics in the past just for the coincidence…and I realize that in making this observation it could again seem like I’m inviting accusations. But again, no. People have similar ideas all the time.)

In this story, immediately upon the arrival of the eight billionth human on Earth, genies pop up everywhere, telling the people to whom they appear that they get just one wish. Some people act quickly and rashly, others are more careful and considered. Some make selfish wishes, others make wishes that are selfless. Some wishes are wasted simply because they come into conflict with other wishes and the approach the genies take is to have the wishes simply cancel each other out.

While we initially start out with a small cast of characters in a single location, as the story progresses it becomes something of a series of interconnected vignettes, exploring the effects of wishes coming true all over the world until ultimately bringing us back to where we started centuries earlier.

I’ve had this volume for a bit, but decided to finally move it off the to-be-read pile after seeing some news about Seth Rogen being attached to produce the Amazon adaptation.

It’s a fun, funny, and interesting collection of stories about what can happen when everyone’s wildest dreams come true, exploring human nature and the role that wishing plays in shaping and being shaped by that nature. I appreciate that Soule’s experience as a lawyer comes into play in some of the very carefully-worded wishes that get made, and seeing that lawyers play a strong role in what eventually becomes a wish-based economy.

I also really liked Browne’s design for the genies – who are themselves fun and interesting characters – as they feel like an update to the classic design that gives them the appearance of some kind of digital assistants, like a Siri or an Alexa brought to life, with each one bearing a resemblance to its assigned person.

Overall, a fun, well-illustrated book that’s worth the read.

Born and raised in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jon Maki developed an enduring love for comics at an early age.

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