El Shafee to Try Again Publishing ‘Metro’

Apparently, today ArabLit is all about censorship and graphic novels. First, I get intrigued by Henry Matthews’ comic-preservation project, next by Khaled Abul-Naga’s promise to support a filming of BuSSy “with the censored parts left in,” and now Chip Rossetti has posted part two to his series on Arabic graphic novels on Publishing Perspectives: with an emphasis on censorship.

The most exciting news, for me, is that “despite the legal challenges, [Magdy] El Shafee has made arrangements for a new Arabic edition [of his graphic novel Metro] with another publishing house, to come out within the next six months.” (More about the legal challenges here.)

But this was almost equally good news:

Ahmad Al Aidy, who has authored a groundbreaking millennial-generation Arabic novel (An Takun ‘Abbas al Abd; translated into English as Being Abbas el Abd), and scripted satiric comics as well as cartoons for Egyptian newspapers, suggests that the effect of the court case and fine against Metro is having the opposite effect of what was intended, since “it is encouraging more people to do graphic novels now.” Magdy El Shafee agrees that there is an upsurge of interest in graphic novels, particularly when compared to the difficult publishing environment he found when he first published Metro.

As Matthews has said elsewhere, I think the talent is here—certainly in Lebanon and Egypt, but I’m sure elsewhere in the Arabic-writing world—and the time is now.

Thanks to DXBLit for pointing me toward Publishing Perspectives this morning.