Monday, April 27, 2009

Marjane Satrapi's Azrael

Pantheon just re-released Marjane Satrapi's 2006 Chicken With Plums in softcover, which gave me the opportunity (well, excuse really) to re-read it. I was happy to find that I liked it every bit as much as I did the first time I read it, as that means I must have been pretty on-the-nose when I reviewed it for the first time (That review no longer exists, due the paper it appeared in having redesigned their site, but I did re-review it this weekend at Blog@, and you can read it here if you like).

Chicken With Plums is named for protagonist Nasser Ali Khan's favorite dish, something he fantasizes about and has offered to him during the eight days he lies in his bed, waiting for death to claim him once he's decided he would rather die than live in his present circumstance. It's a really good comic and you should totally read it if you haven't already; I think Persepolis is probably more important and significant, but Chicken With Plums is my favorite of Satrapi's books.

During the main character's eight day ordeal, he is visited by many people, some of whom are as real as he is, and some of who are more fantastical. One of them is Azrael.

You know Azrael right?
He's Jean-Paul Valley, an assassin created created by The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas through gene-splicing and brainwashing who temporarily took over the mantle of Batman for a few months. He was created by longtime Batman writer and editor Denny O'Neil and a young artist named Joe Quesada in 1992.

Wouldn't Marjane Satrapi drawing a Joe Quesada character creation cirica 1992 be fantastic?

I imagine it would look like this:

(Only Satrapi would have made the legs the same size as one another, and proportionate to the rest of the body).

Well, as it turns out, there's another Azrael aside from the Batman supporting character and Gargamel's cat on The Smurfs. There's also the Middle Eastern angel of death. Go figure.

It is, of course, the angel of death version that appears in Chicken With Plums, so Satrapi's Azrael actually looks like this: That's Azrael on the left, looking intently at a mourner.

He visits Nasser Ali Khan on the sixth day, and tells the dying man a story about another man who had seen him without instantly dying:

It's a nice scene in a nice story.

I still wouldn't mind seeing Satrapi draw a Quesada character someday though. Maybe Ash...?


Anonymous said...

I found this to be a pretty interesting blog. I've read the basics of Satrapi (Persepolis I & II), but not Chicken with Plums, yet. I enjoyed your drawing, too. I think it's a good estimate of her take on Azrael.

censustaker said...

So that's where they got the name Azrael from, huh? I always figured it'd be something like that but never bothered to look it up formally. Also, that looks interesting. Azrael is surprisingly dynamic on the page for a flat black shadow shape angel.