English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

October 29, 2009

“Rostam”, a Mythical Persian Hero, comes into Comic Books.

Filed under: Online Reports — mojde @ 10:27 pm


Ferdowsi is one the greatest poets from ancient Persia, who wrote Shahnameh over 1000 years ago. He is someone who has been the inspiration for many people and a great source of Iranian culture. There is a copy of his original epic poetry book “Shahnameh”found in most Persian homes.


They have used different illustrations to accompany and decorate the pages in different editions. The illustrations were inspired by the poems according to the interpretations of the artists. Poems are written in Persian calligraphy which is not readable for people who do not speak Farsi and the book reads from right to left. Ferdowsi is one of the only ones who speaks the pure Farsi not mixed with Arabic words that Persian use today.



Of course the translation of such poems to a different language would be so hard and maybe gives different impression of the actual, but these are some verses:
“Magnificent Buildings will be destroyed
From rain and the radiation of the sun.”
“I founded a great palace of verse so high [The Shahnameh]
That is impervious to the wind and the rain”
“Thus I won’t die that I am the eternal lord
“As I’ve spread the seed of the word”
“Whoever who has intelligence, vision and belief
Even after my death will praise me.”

At schools they have been teaching these mythical poems, the translations, and the stories adapted from the poems, to familiarize every Iranian child with this valuable source of literature. I personally grew up with reading the stories from Shahnameh and reciting the poems and I always had a passion for it and even a dream to make movies from it.


The children version of the book

This was a short introduction about the origin of the comics that these passionate Persians  put together.

Bruce Bahmani and Cameron Douraghy and Jamie Douraghy with collaboration of many other artists created the first comic books about one of the greatest and most famous characters in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Rostam. Rostam: Tales from the Shahnameh Comic Book wins a Golden Lioness Award, 2006,  from WAALM (World Academy of Arts Media & Literature) in Budapest, Hungary.

bruce and cameronaward


Bruce, which actually his real name is Behrouz, Bahmani lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was born in 1961 in U.S. He lived in Iran till he was 18 and he left there after the revolution.  He grew up reading American comics in Iran. Bruce wrote the very first issue the epic tale of Rostam & Sohrab. He is Half-Ghashghai, half-German. He is now a marketing director of Beyond Persia, which is an Audio Magazine.


Cameron, Kamran Douraghy Cameron is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Artisan Creative a creative services and design firm, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He, as well as Bruce, graduated from Parthian School .

While working on “Truth” anti-smoking campaign,as they had targeted Asian-American teenagers who smoke with customizing comic books, they decided to put together the action-adventure story that they grew up with; the stories from Shahnameh. The first book was a success.

In an interview with VOA Bruce and Cameron state that they decided to make this comics because they grew up with the poems and they wanted to introduce it to the world. They said that at the moment they don’t have many readers of the book, but they are hoping that it will expand.

As they mention in the site the books targeted two group of readers:

1) English speaking comic book readers of the world, and …

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

As 25% of the reader seem to be Americans.

Rostam is the mythical powerful warrior of Iran, son of Zal and Rodabeh who marries to Tahmineh, daughter if the king of Turan and have a son, Sohrab. The father and son are separated and not knowingly confront in a battle. I won’t ruin the story for whom those who want to get their hands on these interesting comic books and read the stories. Rostam has a horse, called Rakhsh.

rostam va rakhsh roughrostamrakhsh

There has been three books published by hyperwerks.com and they are working on their forth. Please click on the name of the books to view the images and enjoy the slide shows.

Rostam: Search for the King

Rostam: Return of the King

Rostam: Battle with the Deevs



Bruce Bahmani,  Cameron Douraghy, and Jamie Douraghyare the creators and producers of the books.

The illustrations are by Karl Altstaetter and writings by Robert Napton, lettering by Jason Levin and Coloring by Eve, Michael Bartolo.

Here is the GrandLan book review:

All the information about the books, some slides from the pages, some videos about the books are available at www.theshahnameh.com

Please check out the video about the book 1:


1 Comment »

  1. What an interesting topic to review. Thanks for all the information. I am going to check them out for sure.

    Comment by andrew — November 4, 2009 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

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