cover image Sharaz-De


Sergio Toppi. Archaia Entertainment (, $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-93639-348-0

The late Toppi has been a longtime star of the European comics scene, yet English translations of his highly regarded works have been hard to come by for years. Sharaz-De, published in lavish hardcover, shows his exquisite illustrations at their best. The tale is familiar: faced with execution in the morning, Sharaz-De spins tale after tale for her barbaric king, with each story delaying her impending doom. Two chapters are given over to vibrant watercolors, adding a psychedelic undertone to the tightly woven ink work elsewhere, as jinn, devils, and selfish men do battle upon the pages. Toppi does not use conventional comic panels, but allows his illustrations to sprawl behind and around them, with a singular illustration depicting multiple aspects of the story depending on where your eye first lands. A foreword from Walter Simonson pays tribute to the artist, who died in August, 2012. The Tales from the Arabian Nights may be well enough known, but Toppi’s unparalleled skill at twisting fine art, design, and comic book structure together render this a real treat. (Dec.)