After dropping in on a recent YA-writing workshop in Cairo, translator/commentator Chip Rosetti published the first of a two-part series for the online magazine Publishing Perspectives about Arabic graphic novels.
Part I focuses mainly on graphic novels for kids, but also notes that the form has interest for grown-ups, too:
While comics have long been popular among children in the Arab world (two of the biggest series are the venerable “Mickey Mouse” and the Egyptian-based “Aladdin” comics), there is a new spark of interest in adult comics in the region. “In the last two years, there’s been a kind of synchronicity in Egypt, Lebanon, and Emirates for graphic novels,” says artist and writer Magdy El Shafee. In March, for example, the young Emirati author, Qais Sedki, won the prestigious Shaykh Zayed Book Award for his graphic novel Siwar al-Dhahab (Gold Ring), the first Arabic-language manga comic.
El Shafee, of course, is the author of Cairo’s first graphic novel, Metro, which was yanked from shelves and banned. An excerpt of the graphic novel is available online in English, and it will be published in Italian, but it’s not available—so far as I know—in Arabic.
Rosetti also notes the influence of the tri-lingual Samandal, a Lebanon-based graphic-format magazine. If you haven’t yet checked out Samandal online, well, goodness.
Thanks to DXBLit for pointing my travel-lagged, jet-lagged self in this direction!
Thanks for posting this! Magdy El Shafee (and what’s happening with Metro) will be featured in part two next week…
I figured that’s one of the folks you were talking about when I read “paying the price” (quite literally) for transgressing boundaries.
I look forward to seeing it!
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