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Diversity of global comics the arab world

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Diversity of global comics the arab world

  1. 1. Diversity of Global Comics: A Cross Section of Culture, Politics, and Scholarship The Middle East and North Africa A virtual exhibition by Liladhar R. Pendse, PhD Lpendse@library.berkeley.edu University of California, Berkeley
  2. 2. Introduction  This exhibition strives to highlight the diverse collection of comics and graphic novels that are held in the collection of the UC Berkeley library. The term diversity is interpreted here loosely due to its nuanced character.  To highlight, the diversity, visitors to this exhibit are presented with a selection of comics and graphic novels that are published in the different societies and countries. The terms comics and the graphic novels are used interchangeably throughout this narratives.  The comics and the graphic novels often reflect upon the socio-economic, ideological and political realities of the societies in which they are produced. This exhibit refuses to take an ideological stance on the views that have been expressed in the titles that have been displayed. However, the arrangements and the curatorial choices of particular titles over the others reflect an effort to celebrate our differences.
  3. 3. Map of Virtual Exhibition: the Middle East and North Africa  Arab artists in the Middle East and North African countries have continued to highlight various social, historical and economic events through various cartoon strips, caricatures, and the comics.  In this case on the Middle East, we present comics that vary from children's journals to more serious political caricatures.  These items are from the collections of UC Berkeley Libraries and also from the individual selectors who are interested in collecting these as a part of a hobby.  Theme 1: The translations and the adaptation of the Western themes in Arab Comics.  Theme 2: Expressing the nascent Arab nationalism through “locally” created heroes.  Theme 3: Expressing the traditional lore through comics.  Theme 4: Political Caricatures and Cartoons.  Theme 4: Online Presence.
  4. 4. Superman= ‫سوبرمان‬  One prominent superhero from the American comic’s that was adapted in the MENA comics is Superman.  Superman was published from 1964- 1999. The hero’s name was changed to Nabil Fawzi from the original Clark Kent so that the local audience can relate to him.
  5. 5. Miki= ‫ميكي‬ (Egypt)  Besides, the Superman, we have Miki (an adaptation of Disney’s Mickey Mouse).  Miki was published in Cairo by Dar al-Hilāl from 1959-2003, as a translation of Disney’s Mickey and it was adapted to suit the tastes of Arab children by re-envisioning American Mickey Mouse in the local Egyptian context.  The name of Uncle Scrooge was changed to Uncle Gold (‘Am dhahab= ‫عم‬ ‫ذهب‬.) (Source: http://bit.ly/1qHnM59)
  6. 6. Miki=‫ميكي‬ (continued) Image Source: http://majalat.tumblr.com/ and Wikipedia Miki Magazine | Issue 587 | 1972 | Egypt
  7. 7. BiSsāṭal-rīḥ=‫الريح‬ ‫بساط‬ (Lebanon)  Bissāṭal-rīḥmeans the flying carpet.  This comic was geared towards younger audience. It was published from 1961-1987(?).
  8. 8. Usamah: Majallah al-Atfal al- ‘Arabi (Syria)  Usamah is the Arab children’s magazine that was established in Damascus in 1969.  Its current editor is Reem Mahmoud. Its format includes comics as well as textual materials that consist of poems, anecdotes, and short stories.  Although not a comic in its true sense, ‘Usamah contained several cartoon strips. The goal of this magazine was reinforced the Baathist ideals of the Syrian State.
  9. 9. Usamah: Majallah al-Atfal al- ‘Arabi
  10. 10. Samīr=‫سمير‬  The second magazine is called Samīr. Samīr. magazine is an Egyptian weekly magazine for children. It is published weekly by the Dar al-Hilal al-Masriyah in Egypt.  The magazine offers itself as a magazine for those with ages 8 to 88. The first issue of Samir magazine was published on April 15, 1956.  The covers of the issues that are included in this exhibition show how the nationalist ideology of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era of United Arab Republic was dominant in Egypt.  The images on the covers of the comics depict in one instance an idealized version of young Egyptian dressed in the Boy Scouts uniform.
  11. 11. Samīr=‫سمير‬  The comics magazine “Samīr” whose audience was primarily Egyptian children often depicted nationalist symbols on its cover- page. Here we see Port Said’s Martyrs Memorial where a child laying the wreath.  Port Said Martyrs Memorial is a monument in Al-Sharq District, Port Said. The memorial was constructed to commemorate the martyrs of Port Said in the battles of the tripartite aggression during the Suez Crisis. The obelisk was erected on a base above a flame, also there is the Museum of Modern Art in Egypt under the base of the memorial.
  12. 12. Samīr today  Dar al-Hilāl in Cairo to this continues to produce Samīr.  The content is not accessible online. Some images of the cover-pages of the issues can be seen here:  http://www.daralhilal.com.e g/modules-6.html
  13. 13. Folk-Heroes in Arab and Middle Eastern Comics.  The third prominent theme that dominates the world of Arab comics is that of the folk-heroes.  Here we see a comic book with called Juḥā. Juḥā is also Nasreddin of Turkic lore.  He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool or the butt of a joke.
  14. 14. Online Middle Eastern and North African Comics  In the era that is often called a post-laptop era, many Arabic language comics have migrated to digital online format. Below are some digital Arabic comics.  Qahera Superhero (Egypt) : “ A superhero in Cairo” not a comic, but a digital painting as a thank you to everyone who has kept up with this comic through its long and slow history. there may be more of these (and yes, also more comics! eventually.) http://qaherathesuperhero.com/  “Majid (UAE) (Arabic: ‫ماجد‬ nap a si )-dna ygolohtna koob cimoc barA barA detinU eht ,ibahD ubA ni dehsilbup enizagam s'nerdlihc ynapmoC aideM ibahD ubA eht yb setarimE. http://majid.ae/  Maalak Online (LEBANON) http://www.malaakonline.com/  Tok-Tok (Tuk Tuk) (EGYPT) http://www.toktokmag.com/home.htm  Tush Fish (Tosh Fesh)  Tosh Fesh also releases a series of books dedicated to caricature and comics artists in the Arab word. The series focuses on the artists 'work that generally depicts the suffering and the bitter reality lived by ordinary citizens whether on a political or social scale. http://www.toshfish.com/index.php
  15. 15. Works cited  "Arabic Comic Books." Home. American University of Beirut, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <http://aub.edu.lb.libguides.com/Arabic-comic- books>.  Samīr. al-Qāhirah: Dār al-Hilāl, 1956. Print.  Bassiouney, Reem. Language and Identity in Modern Egypt. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 2014. Internet resource.

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