Comics – “B.D.” in French and “Manga” in Japanese – now constitute an art independent from painting and drawing, one that has been ranked number eight, after the seventh art, cinema.
Historically, comics began in Switzerland in 1830 and then moved to other European nations as well as the United States. The first periodicals known as “comic books” appeared in the United States in 1930. Decades later, translation of comics into Arabic started in Egypt. “Samir” was the most prominent – although not the first – of those periodicals; its first issue was published in 1956.
The first models of the Arabic comics showcased efforts to adapt to the Arabic environment. The names of heroes (e.g. Superman, Batman, Spiderman) were translated into Arabic in a literal manner to keep their original meaning. Vicky became Nadia, Clark Kent became Nabil Fawzi, Batman became Subhi, and his sidekick Robin became Zakkour.
Locally produced comic art did not thrive in Syria, or in any other Arab nation. Instead it remained a creative space for amateurs. Today, however, there are a good number of creative Syrian comic artists. Some of them have not failed to join and support the Syrian revolution, and they have created stories pertaining to the revolution. This development could be considered a revolution itself in the world of Syria fine arts.