Ground-breaking Middle Eastern Comics Anthology Launches; Proceeds to Support ‘Samandal’

After more than five years in development, the Muqtatafat anthology, which brings together the varied work of fifteen comics artists from across the Middle East, is ready:

muqtatafat cover jpgAs Muqtatafat co-editor Anna Mudd writes, “this collection includes an awesome range of work – from autobiographical to political to surreal to silly, as well as a wonderful introduction by one of the contributing artists contextualizing the work.”

Further, she writes, “Any profits are being donated to support Samandal comics magazine, a fantastic publication in Beirut” whose existence is being threatened by the Lebanese government’s censorious fines.

Muqtatafat will be the first anthology of comics from Arab countries to be published in the US; it features 132 pages of English-language stories and Arabic-language stories in translation.

The full list of contributors includes many of the luminaries of Arab comics: Lena Merhej (Lebanon); Mike V. Derderian (Jordan); Omar Khouri (Lebanon); Maya Zankoul (Lebanon); Nidal El Khairy (Jordan); Mahdi Fleifel (Palestine,Holland); Basel Nasr (Palestine); Ghadi Ghosn (Lebanon); Sandra Ghosn (Lebanon, France); Wassim Maouad (Lebanon); Magdy El Shafee (Egypt); Jana Traboulsi (Lebanon); Mohamed El Shennawy (Egypt); Barrack Rima (Lebanon, Belgium); Mohamed Tawfik (Egypt).

It was co-edited by Mudd, A. David Lewis, and Paul Beran.

According to a news release, the anthology was originally assembled in 2011 “following high-profile college events and presentations on the subject of Middle Eastern comics voices. Its production, however, was put on indefinite hiatus prior to Ninth Art Press stepping in as publisher this year.”

Co-editor A. David Lewis wrote in the release that the major hurdle to getting Muqtatafat published was “short-sightedness”: “Those in the American comics industry didn’t necessarily know what to make of these Middle Eastern works, and they couldn’t count on there being a U.S. market for them.”

The anthology is available for sale through www.ninthartpress.com or on Amazon.

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