Scheherazade in pictures, now in Brazil

03 de julho de 2016

Stories told by the queen and adapted by the Italian comics author Sergio Toppi are hitting Brazilian bookstores in the first release from a new publishing house.

São Paulo – The “Book of one thousand and one nights” has been translated all over the world, turned into a theater play, was adapted for kids. This time, excerpts from the book are hitting the bookstores in comic book form, marking the debut of publisher Figura Editora, from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on the Brazilian market. Written by the Italian illustrator and comics author Sergio Toppi (1932-2012) and launched in 1979 in Italy, “Sharaz-de” is a free illustrated interpretation of less known tales told by the Persian queen Scheherazade in the Arabic classic.

Figura Editora was founded by publishers Rodrigo Rosa and Ivete Giraldo, who chose Toppi’s work for their first release. “We wanted the first book to be a very impactful work,” said Rosa, who’s a graphic artist and illustrator. “This was a watershed work in Toppi’s career, because he reached the peak of his style. He combines illustration and illustrated storytelling in a free adaptation of not-so-known tales from the ‘Book of one thousand and one nights.’ Toppi was almost a craftsman,” said Rosa.

In “Sharaz-de,” the author lets go of the lines that comic book panels dictate, opting instead for a narrative where drawings take up the entire page or depart from traditional framings, only occasionally resorting to the panel-oriented style.

In the classic Arabic book, King Shariar pledges to marry a different woman each day and murder them at night, after his wife cheats on him with a servant. Upon wedding the king, Scheherazade decides to tell him a different story each night, but save the ending for next night, and so forth. For Scheherazade, piquing the despot’s curiosity is a means to survive.

“He recreates the story based on his own interpretation, which harks back to Arab iconography, but he also draws from the film ‘Oedipus Rex,’ by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1967). He strove to avoid being commonplace. Almost 40 years later, Toppi’s work is now being published again in Brazil,” Rosa explained.

The publisher also said he is still in the selection process of upcoming releases from Figura, but notes that this is only the first volume of “Sharaz-de.” “Our next book might well be the second volume,” he said.

Fact sheet

Title: Sharaz-De, contos de As mil e uma noites (Volume 1) - Sharaz-De, tales from One thousand and one nights
Author: Sergio Toppi
Translated by: Maria Clara Carneiro
160 pages
ISBN: 978-85-5977-000-1
BRL 79.90
Where to buy: bookstores or the publishing house’s Facebook page (

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum