Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Flashback to Nikahang Kowsar's 2003 cartoons

I ran into Nik Kowsar yesterday. Nik was a cartoonist in Iran who eventually had to seek asylum in Canada and then the US. He lives around DC now, and doesn't do as much cartooning as he did, but he still helps other cartoonists via the CRNI. He sent along a few cartoons he'd done for sharing here.
 





 
The Bush ones were drawn for Iranian media right after the invasion of Iraq in  March and April of 2003. I was still working as a cartoonist in Tehran. I fled Iran on June 25th, 2003 for Canada.

I strongly believed that the whole campaign for finding Weapons of Mass Destruction was a scam and Cheney and his gang wouldn't be able to pin point even one rocket.

The 2 Saddam cartoons were drawn after his arrest near a village, north of Baghdad in December 2003. I was living in Toronto at the time.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Rosarium Publishing's new graphic novels

I got 3 new graphic novels in the mail today from Greenbelt's Rosarium Publishing presumably as review copies. Bill Campbell is the man behind the company, and we really should interview him soon.

However, following my general policy for books by people or publishers I know, I'll highlight, but not review them (unless one really knocks my socks off like March vol 1-3, which is rare these days. Honestly, life's too short to hurt anyone's feelings with a casual sentence in a review).

So these arrived, and all look interesting:


Malice in Ovenland

Vol. 1

Malice in Ovenland
JUVENILE FICTION
128 Pages, 7 x 10
Formats: Paperback, ebook: PDF, Fixed Layout EPUB, Fixed Layout KF8
Paperback, $17.95 (US $17.95) (CA $23.95)
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN 9780996769228

Instead of falling down a rabbit hole, Lily finds her way to a fantasy world through a messy kitchen appliance.

Lily Brown is a bright, curious, energetic young girl from Queens, New York. When her mom forces her to stay home for the summer and do chores, Lily fumes. Little did she know that the greasy oven in the kitchen was going to give her more excitement and adventure than she could possibly handle.

Born and raised in NYC, Micheline Hess does design at a prominent ad agency in Chelsea and spends her spare time developing graphic novels, short stories, and interactive iBooks for kids. She has always been fascinated by the visual narrative in books and film and is constantly endeavoring to weave her own sense of humorous story-telling into both her personal and sometimes professional work. She lives in New York City.

The art in this next one is very stylized, seemingly influenced by 1970s poster art.




The Little Black Fish
Illustrated by Bizhan Khodabandeh
7-9
JUVENILE FICTION
52 Pages, 6.75 x 10
Formats: Paperback, ebook: PDF, Fixed Layout KF8, Fixed Layout EPUB
Paperback, $9.95 (US $9.95) (CA $12.95)
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN 9781495607295


Based on the Persian children's classic by Samad Behrangi, this book is about a young fish's courage to question authority and strike out on her own An inquisitive little fish decided to question authority and leave the safety of her own home to venture out into the expansive sea. The creatures she meets along the way teach her important lessons and make her learn the most valuable treasure in life: freedom.

Bizhan Khodabandeh is a designer, illustrator, artist, and activist. He is the communications director for Virginia Commonwealth University's department of communication arts and design and the design manager of Gallery5 in Richmond. He is the recipient of a Silver Medal Award for comics and cartooning through the Society of Illustrators. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.



Jennifer's Journal: The Life of a SubUrban Girl Vol. 1

Jennifer's Journal
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
62 Pages, 7 x 10
Formats: Paperback, Fixed Layout EPUB, ebook: PDF, Fixed Layout KF8
Paperback, $8.95 (US $8.95) (CA $15.95)
Publication Date: May 2015
ISBN 9780990319160

"...this graphic novel chronicles the life of me, Jennifer Crute, a freckled-face African American artists. Pages from my actual journals illustrate my upbringing as a misfit in the suburbs of New Jersey and my daily interactions as an adult living in New York City."

Jennifer Cruté started writing comics in 2003.  She is featured in a Current TV segment about women in comics called "KAPOW! The New Comic Book Heroines." She was nominated for a Glyph Comic Award for Best Rising Star.  Her cartoons have been featured in BITCH magazine. She was a finalist in Lambda Legal's Life Without Fair Courts contest.  She has lectured at the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art, Miami University, Ohio, and Skidmore College, and her comics and oil and mixed media work has shown at the Medialia Gallery in New York City,  the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MOCADA)  in Brooklyn; the Limner Gallery in Hudson, N.Y.; and the Ocean Hill Arts Sanctuary in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorist Arsia Rozegar on crowdfunding his adaptation of Shahnameh, a 1000-year-old Persian poem



by Mike Rhode

Arsia Rozegar will be best known to comic book fans for his coloring work on Marvel Comics and with Image Comics' Avalon Studios. Like many cartoonists these days, he's branching out into children's books.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I do a variety of stuff. I like to do my own cartooning and digital art, but I'm most of my more well-known mainstream work has been as a comic book digital colorist.
  
 How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I work digitally for the most part in Adobe  Photoshop. Sometimes I wish real-life had a Ctrl-Z.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I grew up with Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Transformers.

Can you tell us what your ethnic background is? I've not encountered your first name before.


I'm of Iranian heritage.  I was born in Tehran, Iran and came to the U.S.  with my parents when I was about a year and half old.  Iranian-born, American raised, proud citizen of Earth.  

"Arsia" is actually a rare name even for Iranians. My parents specifically chose a name that no-one had. 

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I grew up in the Washington, DC area. Had a tenure in Southern California for a while and then came back this way. I'm currently in Fairfax County. 

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I've been drawing and doing art as long as I can remember.  No formal training. Just simply had the desire to do it and make it happen.

Who are your influences?

This could be a potentially long list!  And it always changes over the years. Some of my big influences as far as comics and cartooning go off the top of my head are Shel Silverstein, Akira Toriyama, Jack Kirby, Peyo, Osamu Tezuka, Kevin Eastman, Frezzato, John & Sal Buscema, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, early Charles Schulz, I can probably keep going...  When I was a teenager reading comics, Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen were big influences.  As a comic colorist, Steve Oliff played a  role.
 
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

There was a period I had gotten really burnt out on working on a really popular Marvel title and asked to leave the book. Looking back that was probably not a wise decision. Oh well!

What work are you best-known for?

I think I'm best known for my color work on Marvel's Iron Man and The Hulk due to those titles' name value. 

What work are you most proud of?

There is an issue of Marvel's Double Shot where I colored a Klaus Janson Iron Man story. That was a lot of fun to do.  I'm also proud of the work I did with Steve Oliff and Olyoptics on Marvel's Thor Omnibus.  It was an honor to work alongside the Godfather of Comic Colors.   The most recent comic I'm coloring is André Araújo's MAN PLUS which comes out this summer.  

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

I would like to continue working on Shahnameh For Kids, a children's book based on an ancient Iranian mythology.  I currently have a Kickstarter campaign for it right now!  I'm working with the talented Mike Amante on it. I'm very happy with how the book turned out.  It'd be great to do a few more books for it and make it a series.  

Tell us more about your Kickstarter project and why you decided to do it.

Shahnameh For Kids is a full color illustrated children's book inspired by the Iranian epic poem called the Shahnameh.  



This has been a project I've been wanting to do for a while now. I wanted to create a pop version of its stories geared towards younger readers. I wanted to start with one if its more famous tales, and a personal favorite of mine, "The Story of Zal & Simorgh."

This is the culmination of several years of research of the Shahnameh and ancient Iranian studies. It was important to me that the book presented a proper visual representation of what true Iranian culture is.  This is something that is rarely shown in mainstream outlets.

I'm really happy with how the book turned out. I think it will appeal to everyone, especially those who love World Mythology.
 
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block? 
 
I usually don't have writer's block.  There's always so much inspiration around me at all times. Insomnia is more of an issue rather than writer's block.  


What do you think will be the future of your field?

I would think it would continue to go towards a digital medium even more-so than it is today.  

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Awesome Con is always a blast. I will be guest this year and will also be doing a workshop demonstration on how comics are digitally colored.  I also enjoy going to SPX as a fan because there are so many great indy comics to check out.

What's your favorite thing about DC? 

The museums.  People take for granted how we have so many amazing museums and galleries with fantastic works of art to enjoy and appreciate.  It's our nation's crown jewel in my opinion.

Least favorite?

Sitting in traffic.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?'

The Freer-Sackler is great because it has lots of fantastic historical works (I'm partial to the Iranian wing) and the National Gallery of Art is amazing.

How about a favorite local restaurant? 

Nothing beats a home cooked meal from my mother.  

Do you have a website or blog? 



Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Meet Nik Kowsar, an Iranian-turned-American cartoonist

by Mike Rhode

Soon after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the Cartoonists Rights Network International began a fundraising campaign. I reached out to Nikahang "Nik" Kowsar at the time, but for one reason or another, his interview stalled in cyberlimbo. Sadly, Nik's thoughts will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. Since this interview was conducted in February, we've seen American writers of PEN sharply disagree about whether to give a courage award for Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists and presumed attempted murders at a Mohammad cartoon contest in Texas.


What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
I do editorial cartoons, as well as running Toonistan.com, that's an online platform made for helping non-cartoonists making their own cartoons.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
I use felt tip pens, scan with my iPhone using Scanner Pro app, and color the work with Photoshop, so it's a combination of all.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I was born in 1969 in Tehran, Iran. I'm technically Canadian, but a US resident. Canadian cartoonists helped me get out of Iran.

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?
I think Washington is the most relevant place on earth to work in relation with politics on Iran, and I've been running a Persian citizen journalism platform since 2009, and living in DC and the DC metro area since 2010. I'm now living not that far from JFK's "Eternal Flame" in Arlington.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
I studied Geology, and started drawing cartoons and caricature after buying a collection of David Levine's artwork when I was 21. A year later I was hired by Golagha Magazine, Iran's top satirical publication at the time and started working with professionals, that helped me get better with the trade. I also attended painting classes in Iran.I studied Journalism in Canada after leaving Iran.

Who are your influences?
I was in love with David Levine's lines and views, discovered Pat Oliphant and Kal through papers and magazine that reached the University library in Tehran. I also was influenced by Iranian cartoonists such as Iraj Zareh, Ahmad Arabani, Ahmad Sakhavarz and Afshin Sabouki. The last two are now residing in Canada.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
I would have started again by taking sketching courses and quitting Geology! I would have loved to study Journalism and  Design simultaneously and work harder. I would also get more sleep!

What work are you best-known for?
The Crocodile cartoon I drew in 2000, that lead to a National Security crisis in Iran and was the cause of a 4-day protest by the clergy in Qum, and hundreds of thousands of people attending Friday prayers chanting for my death. I had portrayed a crocodile, shedding "Crocodile Tears" strangling a journalist with its tale. Crocodile in Persian is "Temsah" that rhymed with the name of the cleric I had try to mock, who was Ayatollah Mesbah (aka Professor Mesbah). He was, and is, a pro-violence high ranking cleric who had made allegations against Iranian journalists. He also alleged that a CIA operative was in Tehran at the time, with a big suitcase full of US dollars to bribe Iranian journalists against Islam. This was a few weeks before the parliamentary elections in Iran. Many responded, and my response was that cartoon. I was arrested and spent 6 days at the notorious Evin prison, and was literally kicked out after the backlash of my arrest had become bigger than the parliamentary elections. I was on the covers of newspapers and a distraction for political parties for a week.Because of that single cartoon, the Ayatollah is called Professor Temsah (Crocodile), and I always wear Lacoste shirts to remind myself of the cartoon that totally changed my life.I have received death threats, and lived in exile as a refugee since 2003. Canada was my safe haven at that time, and my family joined me in 2007.

What work are you most proud of?
I was part of the group that founded the Iranian Cartoon House and we started the classes that became a center to discover talent. Many of those young kids are now seasoned and experienced artists; some are working as professional cartoonists and animators. It was great seeing two of them in San Francisco a few weeks ago.My work in the late 90's and after had impact on the newspaper readers and editorial became very popular in Iran, where I had to work for 3 different newspapers a day. I somehow became my own competition. We have very great cartoonists in Iran, and possibly I was a good communicator who was helpful in creating jobs for many of those highly talented but shy artists. Cartooning became a serious business in those years and politicians used to respond to this sort of critique. That also turned me into a target of the Islamist hardliners.At last, being with Cartoonists Rights Network International is something I'm really proud of. I was once their client, and now a member of the board, trying to find ways and means to support cartoonists who have experienced hard situations and need their voices to be heard.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?
I love to find enough funds to turn Toonistan.com to a tool for masses, to give them a voice through cartoons, and help local and national campaigns against dictators. This cannot happen without technical help of brilliant cartoonists. I would also love to create a safer situation for my colleagues in Islamic countries to who are under threat and have to self censor themselves in fear of radical Islamist retribution.

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
I watch movies. I also have a Fibromyalgia block! Sometimes I can't even draw a line without pain. Fibromyalgia attacks or flares really block anything...mind, muscles, wrist...I think I can't take anything for granted anymore!

What do you think will be the future of your field?
It's been a really hard decade for editorial cartoonists, but I think millions of people have understood the impact of cartoons and I hope publishers learn from the masses as well and hire more cartoonists.In the digital age, we have to find a way to connect better and deeper and possibly mixing cartoons with applications that could also give audiences a chance to communicate with us and other people would give a new meaning to our profession.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?
I usually attend meetings or events at the Newseum, National Press Club and sessions at a number of think tanks in DC.

What's your favorite thing about DC?
It's a beautiful place. I love the National Mall, museums, theaters, Georgetown,  National Airport, and the monuments. DC is not only a historical place, but you sense the history in the making.

Least favorite?
Ummm...some taxi drivers who expect you to be a devoted Radical Muslim and discuss matters that you hate! I'm a Muslim lite! I drink alcohol and love bacon and avoid people who tell me what I should do or be!I've met many cab drivers who were in love with Iran's former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I told one that if he loves Mahmoud that much, he should leave DC immediately, go to Iran and work for him! He changed the subject after I made that suggestion!

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?
I love Lincoln Memorial for many reasons. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the Udvar-Hazy center near Dulles, remind me of the days I hoped to become a pilot! National History Museum gets me back to the days I studied mineralogy and  paleontology. And as a journalist, who could not love the Newseum? I've also taken friends to the Library of Congress and the Congress.

How about a favorite local restaurant?
For meat loving times, Ray's Hell Burger and Ruth's Chris Steak House.
For Pizza, Pupatella in Arlington.
And for Iranian cuisine, Amoo’s House of Kabob in McLean.
For fast food, I cannot love Moby Dick House of Kabob enough.

Do you have a website or blog?
I run Toonistan.com and I'm the editor in chief of khodnevis.org.
I'm not a journalist, but I should probably note that Nik recently turned the tables and interviewed me for the CRNI on “Supporting Mohammad Saba'aneh,” the Palestinian cartoonist  who also ran afoul of Islamic cartooning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Post on anti-Semitic Iranian cartoon book

This was on the wires a couple of days ago, but the Post appears to have a reporter in Iran - as much as I bash them at times, it's a good paper. I read most of the foreign reporting, but rarely note the bylines. See "Young Iranians Release Book Caricaturing The Holocaust," By Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post Foreign Service, Sunday, September 28, 2008; A23.

Friday, May 30, 2008

NY Times (and New Yorker) on Iranian cartoonist

I must confess that I was completely unfamiliar with Mohassess's work, but there's an exhibit of it in New York city. See Life in Iran, Etched With Suspicion and Humor By KAREN ROSENBERG, New York Times May 30, 2008. In Ardeshir Mohassess’s drawings, the coded beauty of traditional Persian art comes face to face with the ugliness of successive autocratic regimes.

and "Satire, Iranian," by Ben McGrath, New Yorker June 2, 2008