Comic Books very much like Movies until quite recently have often been set aside as a minor popular art forms never quite achieving the respectability of other more noble artforms like painting, poetry, music or sculpting to name a few. It was probably thanks to Pop Art and its spearhead artists like Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein and even to some degree former Iranian diplomat Fereydoune Hoveyda that academic interest for such masters of the genre like Hergé, author of Tintin Adventures, and his colleagues who invented what became known as the French and Belgian Ligne Claire School Style truly started.
Other styles have since appeared and showcased at various festivals like the prestigious Festival d'Angouleme, and obviously the American Comic genre has distinguished itself while having its share of influence with Disney heroes or Super Heroes like Superman and Batman.
Interestingly in recent years particularly the past two
and a half decades French Comic books have also tried to shed light on middle
eastern civilizations and particularly
French Kings, President, diplomats, writers and voyagers
were to travel to
Maybe some of this cultural and historical interaction
including even the Islamic revolution that took root in
Interestingly in recent years Marjane Satrapy has turned into a French cultural icon since the publication of her comic book series Persepolis that explores not only the life of a school girl caught in Pre and Post Revolution Iran but also confronted to a culture clash with Western values and culture in an interesting and intellectually challenging way while remaining true to a very personal and simple style very much influenced by the French Belgian Ligne Claire.
In addition and already prior to Satrapy several French
pioneers of the French and Belgian Comic Book arena have tried to explore
Persian Culture and History through recurrent adventures. This has been the case
of two major icons of the French Belgian
Below are some of their recent works that have focused on two different era's in Persian History, that of Alix in Ancient Persia and that of Vasco a Medieval knight whose adventures lead him to Medieval Persia.
Each in their way have been based on meticulous historical and social research that make the adventures if not factual at least authentic for any reader interested in Persian Pre-Islamic and Post Islamic History.
Top: The Legendary Hergé Belgian creator of Tintin and French Jacques
Martin creator of Alix collaborated for the Journal de Tintin a weekly magazine
printed in the 60's and 70's that launched an entire generation of comic book
artists. ©Casterman. Bottom: The latest Alix Album by Jacques Martin
introduces life in
PG Warning: Suitable for Ages 10 and over
Upcoming Alix Album in the Series Les Voyages D'Alix : Alexandre le Grand
Plot: Upcoming Alix Album in the Series Les Voyages D'Alix : Alexandre le Grand. Alix and faithful buddy Enak explore the conquests of Alexander the Great. Contrary to the Alix Adventures, which respect historical chronology, The Voyages of Alix a sort of Time Machine Exploration
with no particular plot but are purpose but to present Ancient Civilizations and historical Characters regardless of chronological Time and Space.
PG Warning: Suitable for Ages 10 and over
Gilles Chaillet worked with Martin on Alix before creating his own hero Vasco
a medieval knight of the Middle Ages. Two of his adventures are set in
Poussiere D'Ispahan aka Sands of Ispfahan and Les Chiens de Bahram Ghör aka
The Dogs of Bahram Gür . ©Le Lombard
Plot: 14th Century Europe and
But Destiny will decide otherwise !
Far Away in the
Who is this mysterious hostage who will drive Vasco and Van Loo to undertake a dangerous trip to the Hostile land where Christians are less than welcome ? What are the true motivations of this cruel Vizir ? ...
All these intrigues and much
more will await you in this album.
Vasco will undertake a perilous journey marked by battles, fears and alliances
that will challenge the heroes from Sienna to
PG Warning: Suitable for All Ages
Les Chiens de Bahram Ghur aka The Dogs of Bahram Ghur
Plot: Second part of Vasco's adventures in
PG Warning: Sex and Violence reading suitable for age 12 and over
Vasco discovers Lust and Court Intrigues in Gilles Chaillet's
Bahram Gür ©Le Lombard
First printed by a little known French
edition l'Association, Marjane Satrapi's French Comic book
PG Warning: Sexual Content and Language makes it only suitable for ages 13 and over
Marjane Satrapy's French Comic book Persepolis is a much expected
animated movie in 2007 starring Catherine Deneuve who will be dubbing
the voice of Satrapi's mother ©l'Association
If unlike Greek, Roman or Egyptian
It is not surprising that cinema in turn has been exploiting this artform thanks to Storyboards that have been widely used by the Spielberg and Luc Besson ( both great admirers of Hergé) generation of filmmakers.
Iranian/Persian ties: Above Mozafferedin Shah Qajar coronation and visit to
and Queen Farah's visits to Belgium and France. ©Pictory Iranian.com
It should be noted that unfortunately non of the Works of Jacques Martin, Gilles Chaillet or Marjane Satrapy have been translated into Persian. Maybe it is high time to consider this possibility be it by Persian language publishers outside Iran in a near future until the same can one day be done back home in our country Iran.
VIVE L'AMITIE FRANCO-PERSANE ! (**)
Author's notes :
All Comic books are available on amazon.fr . However Vasco and Alix unlike Satrapi's Persepolis or Hergé's Tintin are not available in English.
(*) B.D. Abbreviation for Bande Dessiné aka Comic Book
(**) Long Live French Persian Friendship !
Recommended Reading: Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis Film Blog by Darius KADIVAR
Recommended Reading: Rostam Super Hero: Popularizing A Persian Myth... by Darius KADIVAR
Recommended Reading: Hergé's Fantasy Kingdom: The Land of the Black Pelican by Darius KADIVAR
Recommended Viewing: President De Gaulle Friendly visit to Iran and greeted at French-Iranian school Razi in 1963 by Iranian Student who speaks perfect French. Part 2 of President De Gaulle's Visit (YouTube)
About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant
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