Sharaz-De: Tales from the Arabian Nights by Sergio Toppi
The cover art was the reason I requested this ARC. It’s uniquely beautiful, strange and striking.
A set of tales inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights, European comics master Sergio Toppi’s Sharaz-de explores a barbaric society where the supernatural is the only remedy to injustice.
The lovely Sharaz-de, captive to a cruel and despotic king, must each night spin tales to entertain her master and save her head from the executioner. Her tales are filled with evil spirits, treasures, risk, and danger, but ever at their center hold the passions of gods and men.
I believe that there is an as-yet untranslated second volume in existence. Please let it be translated someday soon!
Yes–by which I mean “worth staring at”. If you’re looking for a radical retelling of the Arabian Nights tales, you won’t find it here, although most of the tales Toppi chose are not the most popular of the collection. The art, however, is worth the purchase ($29.95 cover price) and more.
Arabian Nights! I mean, obviously, but the tales themselves are compelling. Like all folktales, they point to attitudes and cultural truths at the time of recording, as well as truths and ideas about humanity. (Art here by Virginia Frances Sterret.)
Unique Art! I really can’t say enough about this. I stared at many of the illustrations for a long time.
I had never heard of Sergio Toppi before, probably because I’m a fairly recent graphic novel fan, and because very few of his works have been translated into English as of yet. Now I want to go out and buy everything of his, so that I can enjoy it again and again. His work is intricate, detailed, strange, beautiful, and truly unique. Can’t wait to discover more! Of course, my love of this book is helped by the fact that I love fairy tales and folk tales of all kinds, but although the text and art enhance each other, the drawings are good enough to stand on their own, no question.
I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.