Staff Picks (August): Zahhak — The Legend of the Serpent King


Cultural and religious mythology can come in a great variety of art forms. We have a long history as a species of pairing oral tradition with intricate visuals dating back thousands of years. In this way, Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King feels like a significant contribution to that proud history.

Designers Hamid Rahmanian and Simon Arizpe use beautifully rich illustrations and papercraft to summarize the horrid reign of the titular snake-shouldered king from his story in the epic poem “The Shahnameh”. Rahmanian’s illustrations and design feel reminiscent of complex shadow puppet silhouettes with a visual style the pays homage to classical Iranian painting. But it all truly shines when put in motion. As a paper engineer, Simon Arizpe has outdone himself. Often nesting entire pages of separate smaller papercrafts in a single page of the main book to show secondary scenes. The result is an interactive Pop-Up book detailing all the major events from the story literally bursting from the page, often eclipsing an area with color, depth, and action extending far beyond the confines of the book’s perceived dimensions.

Together they’ve created a pop-up book that makes full use of the medium and is guaranteed to impress on multiple readings. I highly recommend checking it out if you have any interest in mythology, papercraft, or just want to be surprised by how much someone can hide between the pages of a book!

Luke Martin

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Item Code: AUG171697
Release Date: 10/25/17
SRP: $39.99

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