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مجلة سندباد – المجلد الأول - العدد 1 – حسين بيكار – مصر: دار المعارف، 1952

To many, the launch of the Egyptian comic magazine Sindibad in 1952, by Dar el-Ma’arif in Cairo, six months before the fall of King Farouk, marked the "real" birth of Arabic comics. Edited by Mohammad Said el Aryan, author of several historical novels, and illustrated for the most part by famous talented artist Hussein Bikar, Sindibad presented itself as a children magazine of the "entire Arab world" and the “Arab diaspora”: its editorial clearly stated that "this magazine is published in Cairo to be read by the children of the entire Arab world, from East (Machreq) to West (Maghreb). ...It is also the magazine of every boy and girl reading Arabic in the world, from America to Lebanon". El Aryan also explicitly gave the magazine a pedagogical bent, stating in the editorial of issue 16 that "Sindibad is a school after the end of the school day, a teacher when one has said goodbye to one's school teacher, and a faithful friend of children throughout the world..." Hussein Bikar adorned its pages with beautiful illustrations, setting the bar for children book aesthetics quite high, and going on to influence a whole generation of book illustrators (Mohieddine El Labbad, Bahgat Osman, etc.)


مجلة سندباد – العدد 6 – مصر: دار المعارف، 1960

Sinbad cast the two intrepid explorers Chaddad and Awwad in many thrilling adventures. Simple, punchy and entertaining scripts by Hassan Trad, and cutting edge visuals by leading artists added a lot to the appeal of the magazine. Preceding the boom in translation of Western comics which was to follow in the late 50s, Sinbad featured grassroots stories, with a pan Arab bent, but often no overt political message. It tried to dig into the multi-varied Arab heritage to highlight Arabs' rich history and followed the example of Kamel al-Kilani, whose works were also published by Dar al-Ma’arif.

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مجلة سندباد- المجلد الثاني -1952 - العدد 27

Mohieddine el Labbad, recounts his encounter with Sindibad in the following terms:

ثمتوجهتدارالمعارفطريقهاالمضيئبتجربةمجلةسندباد (1952 –1962 ) التيطبعتفيوجدانمئاتالآلافمنالأطفالالعربحضوراًقوياللبهجةوالنقاءوالأملوالوطنيةوالانتماءالعربيوالحساسيةالجديدةللغةوالفنالبصري،وربطتهذهالمجلةبينهؤلاءالأطفالعلىاتساعالخريطةالعربية

[Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 27, Childhood: Creativity and Representation / الطفولة: بين ﺍﻹﺑﺪﺍﻉ والتلقي‎ (2007)]


مجلة سندباد – غلاف المجلد الأول - 1952

Sindibad featured a regular entry with traditional Arab fables, re-transcribed and vocalized in simple Arabic language. Even though Sindibad championed Arab heritage and culture, it tried to steer away from politics, limiting its input to a few rare editorial short letters addressed weekly to Sindibad's readership. Sindibad featured the stories of "Bisbis and Farfar", "Sindibad's travels", the “Adventures of Zuzu”, etc. It also included games and activities, and tried to organize film screenings every Friday at Cinema Metro in Cairo, trying to cultivate its audience, and to create a cult of followers, in ways not so dissimilar from the latest immersive advertisement and outreach methods and techniques employed by big publishing companies.