Making comic books in Iran

Spotted this NYT article today:

Iranian Comic-Book Artists Seek a Unique, Local Identity

“Many young Iranian artists admit to a passion for comic books from the United States and Europe. They can be purchased in Tehran, though they are expensive and often covered with the censors’ black ink. But local artists say they are trying to stamp their work with an Iranian identity.

Life for them, though, is not easy because their creative aspirations are kept firmly in check by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, responsible for approving all publications in the country.”

I don’t really know what the comics scene is like in Iran these days. I’d imagine most of the fans are younger and tech savvy, so they probably get their hands on pirated scans. When I was a kid growing up there, comics meants Herge’s Tin Tin, and to a lesser extent, Asterix and Obelix. There were some Farsi translations of the more well-known American superhero comics as well – Superman, Batman, Spider-Man – but they weren’t nearly as popular.

On the last couple of trips that my parents took back to Iran, I asked them to look for locally produced comic books and graphic novels, but they didn’t have any luck finding them.

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