1001 by Sanya Anwar ( sanya-anwar ) is a absolutely delightful retelling of 1001 Nights, focusing on the heroine Scherezade, her life, her relationship with her sister, and who she is, as her life is about to undergo drastic change, and be threatened with becoming quite a lot shorter.
Available online for free, this is an independently published comic that was nominated for the Gene Day Award last year, and requires no further context to read. If you’re a newcomers to comics, or unfamiliar with the story of Scherezade, you will still be able to enjoy this comic just fine! Indeed, it just means that you’ll be all the more on the edge of your seat as the story progresses!
Now, I do want to take a moment for the warnings. There are scenes violence against women and murder in this story, and scenes of animal abuse and cruelty. There are also preserved animal remains because morbid science geeks are the same no matter what era they live in. Please keep this in mind before reading. The comic opens up with a scene of a woman about to be murdered, and the attack itself is later shown in detail, and given the source material, it’s entirely possible similar attacks will be shown again.
The comic itself is done so wonderfully in almost every aspect. Baghdad burned down after the point this comic is set, yet it is brought to life in the comic pages, and the sisters Scherezade and Dunyezade slot into the bustling city perfectly. They play off each other perfectly, with an interesting and realistic sisterly relationship, helping each other at one point, and bickering about appearances when going out at another.
They both have utterly solid characterization. Scherezade balances her commitment to doing her best for her tiny family with her overactive imagination distracting her from her work. When things get tough, she is willing to do whatever needs to be done, even if it isn’t pleasant. She hides hard truths from her younger sister to spare her added worry as well, even though her sister knows her too well to be really fooled.
Dunyezade is as smart as a whip, stealing an education both by having an open ear to lectures as she scrubs the floor at an alchemy academy, and a quick hand when it comes to scrolls and materials she doesn’t think will go missed. She’s got a kind heart though, and is quick to offer assistance when it is and isn’t appreciated.
The art is absolutely wonderful. Sanya Anwar’s work is wonderful, with especially lovely lining of the art. You can almost feel how much she enjoys this story and these characters as you read along. There’s energy in the movements caught in the frame, and there is a fantastic expressiveness in the characters. There’s many occasions that you just have to grin at the faces being made by some of the characters.
Issues One and Two are currently finished and available, and Issue Three is in the works. Go on and read what’s available so far, and then join the fans of this comic in eagerly waiting for the next installment.
Okay, I’m just gonna pop on my soap box for a minute here. Last month at NYCC I was tooling around artist alley, and I ran into this wonderful artist, Sanya Anwar. Her art is so beautiful, and she was super engaging and nice and I had a wonderful conversation with her. I ended up picking up the first two issues of her comic, “1001,” without knowing too much about it at first other than that she had written and drawn it all herself, which is usually enough to make me pick up any comic by an independent artist.
I’ve only just started attacking the pile of books I bought at NYCC, and I finally got around to reading 1001. HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS IT IS SO GOOD. Not only is it beautifully drawn, paced, laid out, and even printed, but the story is bananas good. It’s based on the legend of the creation of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, and if you know me you know how I love new stories based on older stories. Plus the characters are so likeable, which is a mega plus for me. And just look at that cover! I want that as a bigass poster!
I’m dying to see more of 1001, and pretty much anything else Sanya does. You guys I am so inspired, this story is another amazing piece that I have to try and measure myself up against, and I’m totally up for it.
Ladies and gentlemen, the cover art for Fearsome Fables II! This year, we are honoured to feature Sanya Anwar’s stunning illustration.
It’s been a busy week between edits, layout tweaks, etc. – not to mention other projects, regular life, etc.
Because of the sheer scope of these charity anthologies, and this being a two-person operation (myself and Peter Chiykowski), we know that we’ve been a little distant on our social networks as of late. Please forgive us!
By the end of the weekend, I’ll have the preview galleries posted on our Facebook page, and on the FF2 website. Stay tuned!