Origin of The Shahnameh Comic Book Idea

In 2000, childhood friends, Bruce, Jamie, and Cameron; worked on the “Truth” anti-smoking campaign and created a customized comic book targeting Asian American teenagers who smoke. This 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. And so, the Shahnameh Comic Book was created.

The Shahnameh’s main hero warrior, Rostam (Rustam) is perfectly suited to this Comic Book art form. Hence Bruce, Jamie and Cameron launched the world’s first adaptation of Shahnameh (Shaname) stories into this genre. They achieved this by blending rich folklore from the Persian Epic: The Shahnameh, into the American Comic Book medium.

After a few years of research, translation and adaptation, the 1st series of stories were assembled. It was the creators intention to create books that would not only stand alone stories, but that they would have a logical continuation with one another. This task was made all the more challenging because of Ferdowsi’s technique of using the double entendres. This usually takes form in the main story being overlain, with a deeper messages of wisdom or advice. This project utilizes the graphic novel medium to introduce an important Iranian/Persian literary work to a number of different and important audiences:

(1) English speaking comic book readers of the world.Shahnameh Comic Book

(2) Fantasy and Mythology book readers.

(3) The youth of Afghanis, Iranians, Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Georgians, who want to connect with their culture, while growing up in Diaspora.

So far 4 books have been produced with the intention of continuing this work into the future.

Jamie and Bruce in Tehran, 1973 and 30 years later in San Francisco, 2003