In 2000, childhood friends, Bruce, Jamie, and Cameron; while working on the “Truth” anti-smoking campaign created a customized comic book targeting Asian American teenagers who smoke. The project proved to be very successful with more than a million issues being printed and distributed. Their collective experience on this project inspired them to express the action adventure stories they had grown up with from the Shahnameh, into this art form.
The Shahnameh’s main hero warrior, Rostam (or Rustam) seemed perfectly suited to the American Comic Book form. In keeping with the Comic Book tradition of blending rich folklore from the melting pot of world cultures, into the American tradition, Bruce, Jamie and Cameron launched the world’s first adaptation of Shahnameh (or Shaname) stories into this genre.
After a few years of research, translation and adaptation, our 1st series of stories were put together. It was our intention to create books that were not only stand alone stories, but that they would have a logical continuation with one another. This task was made all the more interesting because of Ferdowsi’s technique of using the double entendres, one in which the main story overlays, a deeper message of wisdom or advice. This project utilizes the graphic novel medium to introduce an important Iranian/Persian literary work to a number of very important audiences:
(1) English speaking comic book readers of the world
(2) Fantasy and Mythology book readers, and …
(2) The youth of Afghanis, Iranians, Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Tajiks, Georgians, etc. who want to connect with their culture, while growing up in Diaspora.