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Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights Hardcover – January 1, 2013

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sergio Toppi began his career in illustration working in advertising and working for renowned Italian publisher Utet. His work has been displayed in the “Masters of the European Comic Book” exhibit at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and in the Museum of Comic Art in Angoulême.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Boom Entertainment (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936393484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936393480
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jmm on January 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's not by chance that Walter Simonson himself writes the foreword on this book. And you can go and ask Bill Sienkiewicz.

Italian artist Sergio Toppi had a singular, unique voice. His sense for layout has been "invoked" by many, but never imitated.

And now, thanks to Archaia, american readers will be able to know and enjoy it. Do yourself a favor and get this book, but do yourself a double favor and get it somewhere else if you want it in good condition. I tried three times and Amazon's terrible packaging service managed to ruin it all three.

Amazon's answer to this too frequent problem? Putting the book under review, as if there were something wrong with their stock, when what they should be "reviewing" is their unprofessional and highly inefficient packaging department.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Collins on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I never knew about Toppi until he passed away last year and an artist that I know mentioned it. As soon as I saw some of his work by doing a Google search I had to add whatever I could to my collection. I'm not a big fan of purchasing stuff in a foreign language because I like to read as much as I like to look. And in the case of Toppi, you don't get much story without the text due to the graphically stylized nature of his work. Luckily there were two tomes being published in English and were available for preorder at great prices so I went ahead and did so. I finally received this, the first one, the day after christmas and was ecstatic. It's everything I had hoped it would be. A nice hardcover binding with a matte finish and thick pages with just the right gloss to really make the artwork pop, at a great price with beautiful artwork and engaging stories. I'm a big fan of black and white comics when they are as engaging to look at as this, but was glad there were some color sections to show off Toppi's amazing watercolor work. The stories themselves and they way they are told are very European or Heavy Metal comics style, which is a good thing in my mind, but if you don't like that, buy just for the artwork and you may find you do. Archaia did a great job with this and I'm really excited to get the other book I ordered. I hope they end up doing more translations of Toppi's work to publish in English speaking countries as I know I will be right there ordering every one.
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Format: Hardcover
Disclaimer: Copy received via Netgalley

Did you ever see the old Sinbad movies? Maybe the one with the young Jane Seymour? The ones with the Ray Harryhausen special effects? Was it your first introduction to the Arabian Nights too? Did the actual tales with the frame story of sex and violence come as something as a surprise?

Well, Mr. Toppi follows the tradition of the original stories and not the movies.

And boy, is it something.

I had never heard of Sergio Toppi before seeing this book posted up on Netgalley. I picked it up simply because of the subject matter. Therefore, I do not know how this work fits into his oeuvre.

First, I would like to say something about the artwork. Mr. Simonson in his foreword notes that Toppi made excellent use of space as well as black and white. This is true. The copy I received via Netgalley, downloaded and read on computer, includes two tales that are done in color. The majority of the book is in down in black and white. The black and white illustrations are better than those that have been colored. The black and white drawings pull the reader in far more than those that have been colored. I do not know what the scheme in terms of color is for the final edition. But the black and white is stunning. The loneness of an exile is far more stabbing and heart rending in stark terms than in the washed out color. I hope the color is either just in the two stories or taken out all together in the hardcover version. (For parents, the artwork does have some topless women).

In short, Toppi’s artwork = WOW!

Sharaz-De (Sherazade) tells stories to save her life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At Emerald City Comic Con 2015 one of the artists I showed my portfolio to suggested I check out the Italian artist Sergio Toppi, saying "I think he's doing what you're trying to do here". I browsed through this book at the BOOM! studios convention booth and was impressed by how keenly the artist was able to pick up on my artistic sensibilities. Toppi's work is incredible blend of detailed line art and abstract forms - reminiscent of two of my favorite artists, Gustav Klimt and Gustave Dore. 2 of the 12 fables are in full watercolor, the rest are black and white. Each page looks like it should be a poster print. The drawback to this is that, at least in this collection, the storytelling is sacrificed for the sake of the image. Without the text and dialogue, one wouldn't be able to follow the story, which is a big problem in the world of comics/graphic novels. Thankfully, Archaia has printed this and another book The Collector in English, hopefully with more to follow.

As for the story itself, it is essential a sample of tales taken from the The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights: Volume 1 (Penguin Classics), which I haven't read yet. It's the same source as the popular story of Aladdin and while that story doesn't appear in this book, there are a fair number of malevolent djinni's that make appearances. These are basically similar to Grimm's Fairy Tales, made more exotic to most Western readers by their setting. This isn't a book to give kids who loved the Avengers films, but rather something for more mature readers who love strange literature that isn't plot or character driven.
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