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Read any good comics from the Middle East recently? We have. And we want U.S. audiences to be able to check them out, too!

مقتطفات - pronounced muktatafaht means "pieces" or "excerpts" in Arabic or, for our purposes, "anthology."

During 2010-2011, the Harvard University Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) Outreach Center has been exploring the connections between the region, its people, and the comic book medium. With including significant comics work taking place in the Middle East region, parties at the CMES Outreach Center devised this project, Muktatafaht: A Middle East Comics Anthology,for American audiences to become more familiar with the surge of creativity taking place on the other side of the world.

Muktatafaht features the work of almost a dozen different Middle Eastern artists, ranging from humorous insights into daily life in Beirut and Cario to responses to the occupation of the Palestinian territories to personal reflections on life in Jordan. From the political to the fanciful, “the high brow to the raised brow.”

To get this project started we now turn to Kickstarter for the final phase, that of generating funds to print this extraordinary collection and share sights from people and places that won't feel half a world away if they become freely available at the turn of a page.

FAQ

  • Yes, the artists retain all rights to the work appearing in Muktatafaht.

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  • Each artist has agreed to allow their work to be freely used by the anthology.

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  • Muktatafaht will be free, save shipping and handling, as long as supplies last. The current plan is to have it available across the U.S. as part of Diamond Distributions Free Comic Book Day 2012 (pending their final approval). We will be investigating other ways of distributing it nationally and perhaps internationally thereafter (though, through our INCENTIVES for donors, we can guarantee direct mail and shipment to individuals).

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  • With the CMES Outreach Center covering all costs in terms of management, translation, international communications, etc., the funds will go to two major expenses: the cost of printing the books (approx. 104 pgs, b&w, perfect-bound spine and cover) and their shipping nationwide.

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  • The current estimated print run is 5000 copies.

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  • Middle East creators for Muktatafaht include:

    Mohamed el Shennawy (Egypt), Maya Zankoul (Lebanon), Lena Merhej (Lebanon), Mohammed Tawfik (Egypt), Mike V. Derderian (Jordan), Jana Traboulsi (Lebanon), Wassim Mouawad (Lebanon), Barrack Rima (Lebanon), Ghadi Gosn (Lebanon), Sandra Ghosn (Lebanon), Mahdi Fleifel and Basel Nasr (Palestinian Territories).

    More of their work and backgrounds will be featured in the project updates throughout the campaign.

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    Signed first page of artwork from Madhi Fleifel's comic.

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    Signed drawing by Barrack Rima.

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    Signed dedication page of Lena Merhej's "I Think We Will Be Calmer in the Next War": dedicated to the "birds of Paradise" -- as children, when they die, / it is said that they turn into birds in Paradise.

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- (24 days)