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By the time I reached the little gray box reading “End of Book 1″ in the last panel of Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman’s Persia Blues, Vol. 1 Leaving Home, I still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, but, to the creators’ credit, they had conjured the good kind of uncertainty — a sense of engaging suspense, with clues strewn throughout the pages, rather than a confusion borne of bad storytelling or uninteresting characters and subjects.
Here’s what I do know: Persia Blues is the story of a young woman, or two versions of the same young woman, Minoo Shirazi.
One Minoo is a fearless swordswoman and adventurer thieving and fighting her way through the Persian Empire, aided by a mysterious fire power and her cautious, adventure-adverse lover, a scholar named Tyler. This Minoo’s culture isn’t just Zoroastrianism, but its god and devil figures Ahura Mazda and Ahriman walk among human beings, as do mythological creatures.
I talked Monday with writer Dara Naraghi about his Kickstarter campaign for his new graphic novel Persia Blues, which will be published by NBM next summer; the book is done, and the Kickstarter is to pay his artist Brent Bowman. In addition to the campaign, we also spoke about the genesis of the book and the creative process, and I decided that part of the interview would be more at home at Robot 6. To accompany this part of the conversation, Dara has sent along some exclusive art from Persia Blues, which is set in two eras and drawn in two different styles.
Robot 6: Let’s start with the elevator pitch: What is this story about?
Dara Naraghi: At its very core, Persia Blues is the story of a smart, independent young woman trying to define herself and her place in the world, in the face of family obligations and societal pressures. More broadly, I’ve been describing the book like this: Minoo Shirazi is a rebellious young Iranian woman, struggling to define herself amidst the strict social conventions of an oppressive regime, and the differing wishes of an overbearing father. Minoo Shirazi is also a free-spirited adventurer in a fantasy world, a place where aspects of modern America and ancient Persia meld into a unique landscape.
And yet, neither of these women are the true Minoo Shirazi.
On her journey(s) of self-discovery, she will encounter diverse elements from Iran’s rich culture and history, both real and mythological, and eventually solve the mystery of her world(s).