Graphic Novel Author to Visit YSU

By Mary Van Jura

Dara Naraghi, a graphic novelist and comic creator, will visit Youngstown State University on Wednesday Oct. 28 in DeBartolo Hall room B91.

After meeting at a book festival in 2014, English professor Rebecca Barnhouse wrote a proposal to bring Naraghi to YSU to talk to students.

“I knew there was a lot of interest about writing and illustrating graphic novels at YSU, especially among creative writing students, and I thought he would be able to give students a lot of the kind of information they wanted,” Barnhouse said.

Barnhouse said Naraghi will cover a number of topics, including instructions to create script pages and artwork for graphic novels.

“He will discuss creating comics and graphic novels, including how to hone your skills, how to build relationships, how to be professional, how to get experience and what resources are available for graphic novelists,” Barnhouse said.

Naraghi has been writing comics for 23 years. He said that after a bad first experience with a West Coast publishing company where he was never paid for his work, he was ‘sour’ about creating comics.

Naraghi spent his childhood reading comics. He showed a great interest in “The Adventures of Tin Tin” comic series and Marvel and DC superheroes. As he grew older, Naraghi began delving into more mature, literary graphic novels.

“I always enjoyed creative writing and storytelling, so I guess it was just natural that at some point I combine these two loves and start writing my own comics,” Naraghi said.

In 2002, Naraghi said that a few of his artist friends brought him back to creating again, which led him to his first professionally published graphic novel in 2008.

“Which I’d consider the true start of my writing career since it was the first time I was paid properly for my efforts,” Naraghi said.

One of Naraghi’s proud works is an issue of the “Ghostbusters” comic in which he co-created a character with artist Salgood Sam, but Naraghi said he favors his current trilogy Persia Blues most. The story centers around Minoo Shirazi, a young Iranian woman who leads a mysterious double life.

“I’m enjoying blending Persian history and mythology with current Iranian politics and drawing inspiration from some of my own experiences in Iran as well as those of friends and family members,” Naraghi said.

He hopes that the students will gain knowledge and inspiration for creating comics, whether on their own or by collaborating with a writer or artist.

“If creating comics is something they want to do professionally, hopefully I can also leave them with some advice on how to navigate the treacherous waters of the business,” Naraghi said.

Barnhouse encourages anyone who is interested in graphic novels or Naraghi’s work to come and speak with him on Wednesday.