As many other Persians, the first comic book I ever read (in my case, the first book) was a "Tintin" by the great Belgian artist "Herge". It was very interesting for me to notice a "Miniature" painting in one of the pages of "King Ottokars Sceptre". Later I read an article that even compared the characters in the book with Iranian king and his royal guard.
Also another icon of French-Belgian comic book arena, who explored the Persian culture was Jacques Martin. Martin collaborated with Herge on his Tintin Journal. Alix was hero of Martin's stories. In "Les Voyages d'Alix: Persepolis", Alix explores Apadana, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, Naghsheh Rostam and Pasargardae and many other splendid locations that are recreated by Jacques Martin. We are invited to discover what if felt like to live at the time of King Darius and Xerxes not only amongst the nobility but amongst the inhabitants of the great city.
Top: The Legendary Hergé and Jacques Martin creator of Alix collaborated for the Journal de Tintin a weekly magazine. Bottom: The Alix Album by Jacques Martin introduces life in Persepolis.
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 Persia at the time of Bahram Gur when Persia and the Byzantine Empire were rivals. Poussière D'Ispahan aka Sands of Ispahan and Les Chiens de Bahram Ghur aka The Dogs of Bahram Gur.
In these books, Gilles Chaillet offers us magnificent and precise reconstructions of the splendid medieval towns of Shiraz and Isfahan. The life and customs, religious and political intrigues and mindset of that distant era come to life.
There might be a reason for this influence of Persian art and history on French comics. In 1873, Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar first modern Persian monarch to visit Europe. After that French Kings, President, diplomats, writers, historians and voyagers traveled to Persia and vice versa.
And the last artist, but not least, is the Persian-French Marjane Satrapi and her Persepolis comics that are explored thoroughly in this blog.
[images and some extracts courtesy of Darius Kadivar, for a more in depth look at Persian influences on French comic books see his great article here]
Editor's Note: Arash is a new contributor to Project 300. He is a computer engineer and he writes from Vancouver. Among his interests, comics probably outrank the rest, which include movies and miniature paintings.