As part of their coverage of the 2nd annual CXC – Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, the Columbus Alive has compiled a list of 25 Essential Columbus Comics. These are comics and graphic novels created by Columbus writers and artists, and I’m proud to have Persia Blues (by yours truly and artist and fellow Columbusite Brent Bowman) be part of the list!
“Dara is a wonderful storyteller, and his Persia Blues trilogy is a great story with a strong female lead.”
The list was compiled with the help of 11 local creators and comic book fans, of which I was a member (and no, we did not vote for our own books). Go check out these books, and be sure to read the Alive’s other reports about CXC.
I recently ran across the website of British Council Iran, which describes itself as such:
“The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work in three key areas: Arts, English and Education and Society…Art continues to flourish in Iran, with a strong two-way appreciation and profound interest between UK and Iranian artists. We facilitate platforms for the manifestation of this shared interest through promoting understanding of the different arts sectors in both countries…”
In an article titled Images & Words: Weaving Together a World of Iranian Stories, writer Homa Naraghi (no relation, as far as I know) recounts her experience with the graphic novel (and subsequently, the animated movie) Persepolis. She goes on to say:
“No other graphic novel about Iran has been as widely talked about as Persepolis, but there are a few others out there using the opportunities offered by the genre that are worth taking a look at here:”
Among the graphic novels she names are some truly great reads, including my personal favorite Zahra’s Paradise. And she also kindly includes my humble GN, Persia Blues.
“Persia Blues (Vol I & II) Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman. The books take us along on the adventures of its character Minoo as she lives life in three worlds: the mythical and fantastical world that brings together elements of ancient Persia with those of the U.S., the modern day Iran, and the modern day Ohio, U.S. The book won the 2014 SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) prize for best graphic novel and was nominated for two other awards in 2014.”
It’s a thrill to be listed alongside so many great graphic novels created by the Iranian Diaspora.
Steven Myers is a Special Education Teacher in northern Ohio, a comic book fan and creator, and writes about comics and graphic novels on his blog. He has a nice review of my Persia Blues graphic novels here.
Bustle is a popular news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion site for young women.
In an article titled Wonder Woman In ‘BvS’ Is A Huge Step, But Not Enough, KT Hawbaker-Krohn argues that while Wonder Woman’s live-action debut is a great start, “There are so few woman superheroes seen in movies and on TV, and practically none who aren’t white, straight, and cisgender.” So she goes on to give Hollywood “17 amazing women superheroes who deserve their own time on-screen.”
Minoo Shirazi, the protagonist of our own Persia Blues graphic novels, makes the list! And she’s in good company, alongside Batwoman, Martha Washington, Black Orchid, and many other great female characters.
Thanks KT, I couldn’t agree more!
If you’re new to the world of Persia Blues, drop by the official website to check out over 30 pages of previews, behind the scenes stuff, and more.
Brent and I gave away 2 copies of Persia Blues vol. 2 via the website Goodreads. Each copy was signed by both of us, and included an original pencil sketch by Brent.
During the two week period of the giveaway, 407 people entered for a chance at the books. Congrats to Rhonda F. and Pamela C. on their win. We hope they enjoy the books, and look forward to possibly seeing their review on Goodreads.
Derek Royal from the The Comics Alternative podcast conducts an insightful and lengthy interview with yours truly and artist Brent Bowman about Persia Blues vol. 2.
We discuss everything from our collaborative process, to representations of Iranians in the media, writing a female protagonist, the Ohio State University campus, and much more. Click the link above to listen to our talk, and be sure to check out all the other great interviews and reviews at The Comics Alternative.
Would you like the chance to win a copy of Persia Blues vol. 2, signed by both myself and artist Brent Bowman? What if I told you it will also contain an original sketch by Brent? And that there are absolutely no strings attached?
Well, here’s your chance:
Have you ever wondered how the writers and artists of the books you read sound like? Of course not. But that didn’t stop us from sitting down with John Orlando for his PVDcast podcast!
Brent Bowman and I talk about Persia Blues vol. 2, our process for collaborating together, sources of inspiration, what took so long on my part to complete the script for the second book, and much more.
Head on over to the home of the PVDcast to hear our episode.
“I’m joined on this edition of the PVDcast by the creative team behind Persia Blues Vol. 2: Love & War. Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman are the two guys responsible for this critically acclaimed graphic novel. (You may recall that Dara joined me back on episode 17 to discuss the first installment of Persia Blues). We talk about their creative collaboration, their influences, their relationship with publisher, NBM and many other topics. A must listen for any aspiring creative people!”
And while you’re there, be sure to check out John’s archive of great interviews with creative types of all sorts, from writers and artists to wrestlers and movie critics.
Belt Magazine is an online publication with a focus on life and culture in the “rust belt.” Since 2013, they’ve featured essays, longform journalism, op-eds, and reviews of works by creators from the industrial Midwest. And they just ran a nice article on Persia Blues, entitled Graphically Persian in Ohio: Novel Adventures from Columbus Artists.
Here’s a snippet of what they had to say about Brent Bowman’s art in the book:
This combination noir and penny-dreadful background is apparent in the pages of Persia Blues, which alternates visual styles: ancient Persia is dark and moody, as if the story is coming to us from a great distance full of smudged shadow and deep recesses of sky; modern Iran is primarily depicted in line drawings with brightly lit, page-white backgrounds, as if we are watching reality TV.
I like the author’s theory as to the central mystery of the book’s dual settings. I won’t say whether he’s on the right track or not, but give it a read and see if you agree. Or do you have your own theories?
I, along with co-creator and artist Brent Bowman, were honored to have Persia Blues vol. 1 win the 2014 S.P.A.C.E. Prize for best graphic novel at the Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo. And I’m even happier to announce that the long-awaited second volume of the trilogy is hitting the shelves in a week or so!
In case you hadn’t had a chance to check out the solicitations, here’s what you can expect in volume 2:
Minoo Shirazi’s mysterious double life continues to unfold across 2,000 years of history in the second installment of the Persia Blues series.
In the fantastical world of ancient Persia, the shock of discovering a piece of her past is overshadowed by the imminent invasion of Ahriman’s armies. Only by finding the empire’s champion, Rostam, can she hope to turn back the tide of evil.
While in the modern world, Minoo’s life unfolds in Iran and America – where she has recently begun her graduate studies – as she deals with her stern father, dying mother, lost brother, and new American boyfriend. Across myths and modern realities, we delve deeper into the truth of Minoo’s life.
Here are a few pages of art:
For a longer preview, as well as reviews and interviews, please drop by the official Persia Blues website.
This past October, Columbus’ own Shadowbox Live – the sketch comedy, short play, and live music troupe – presented “The Tenshu,” a unique production featuring live martial arts, magic, giant puppets and supernatural experiences, accompanied by an original rock score. The show was a collaboration between Japanese choreographer/director Hiromi Sakamoto and New York Times Best Selling author of the Kabuki graphic novels, David Mack.
Accompanying the production was a gallery show featuring original comic book art from several local creators, including my artistic partner in crime, Brent Bowman. Several of Brent’s pages and paintings from volume 1 of Persia Blues were prominently on display:
We hope to make this the first of several more gallery shows.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the original art from the book, drop me a line via the Contact link on this site.
Brent Bowman and I are putting the finishing touches on the second volume of our creator-owned graphic novel, Persia Blues, published by the fine folks at NBM Publishing. Volume 2, subtitled “Love and War” is currently available for preorder from your local comic book store, book store, or Amazon.
If ordering through your comic shop, the Diamond order code is STK687411.
If ordering through a book store, the ISBN is 9781561639779.
Here’s the cover and official solicitation copy:
Minoo Shirazi’s mysterious double-life continues to unfold across 2000 years of history. In the fantastical world of ancient Persia, the shock of discovering her royal heritage is overshadowed by the imminent invasion of Ahriman’s armies. Only by finding the empire’s champion, Rostam, can she hope to turn back the tide of evil. While in the modern world, Minoo’s life in Iran and America – where she has recently begun her graduate studies – is examined through interactions with her stern father, dying mother, lost brother, and new American boyfriend. Across myths and modern realities, we delve deeper into the truth of Minoo’s life.
I’ll be updating the official Persia Blues website with more info and preview pages soon, so keep an eye out.
PS. Remind your store that volume 1 is still available for ordering: