This Wednesday, July 20th, an exciting new Egyptian comic book will be introduced to Cairo. Autostrade is a bi-monthly comic book and ‘highway for sequential madness’ according to its website, and its grand launch will be held at Ahmed Shawky Museum at 6:30PM. This is actually the book’s second launch event, after its launch at Bikya Book Café in Nasr City a few weeks ago.
Autostrade is the first core publication of Division Publishing, a new publishing house devoted only to creating and publishing comics in Egypt. As the first publishing house in Egypt to focus solely on comic books, Division Publishing House was founded by Marwan Imam and Mohamed Reda in early 2011. The duo aim to broaden the audience scope of comic books from just children to include adults of all ages, starting with Autostrade.
Division Publishing is now home to so many artists and writers of the art who had no other channel for their creativity.
‘There was this sense of frustration,’ says Marwan Imam, ‘Because there was no outlet for comic book artists.’
Together with artists Mohamed Samir Mazloum, Sara Abdel Azim, Gehad El Sheikh, Tarek Abo Omar, Hatem Mahrous, Mohamed Khaled, Ahmed Al Mojadidi, Salma Soliman and Tarek Diaa, Imam and Reda decided to create their own space for comic art production.
‘Who knows the comic art market better than us?’ asks Imam.
Autostrade is equally divided into English and Arabic stories by more than twenty writers and artists. Some artists have created their comic work solo, while others collaborated on their stories. Every artist was given twelve empty pages of Autostrade to work on a story.
After the distribution of Autostrade’s first issue, a poll will be made available online so that readers can vote for their favorite story.
‘The story with the highest votes becomes a separate publication,’ explains Imam.
The event will launch the first issue of Autostrade with the writers and artists available for a book signing and a Q&A session. The event will also feature live acoustic performances by Hany Mostafa and City Band. This launch should be an exciting event for comic book enthusiasts of all ages and art appreciators; so come to the Ahmed Shawky Museum to pick up your copy of Autostrade.