Title: Mighty Assyrians
Writer: Tony Shalalo
Artist: Osiris Jr.
Acknowledgements: Stanley Savige Diary, John Homeh (Remembered), www.assyrianlevies.info
Publisher: Assyrian Comics, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Mighty Assyrians is a historical comic that follows a young Assyrian boy in Australia named Sargon who comes home from school one afternoon after being called a liar and that the ancestry is claims to be apart of is extinct.
Sargon’s grandfather takes him into his private office and begins to educate the young boy about his heritage though one particular event involving an Assyrian general called Agha Petros and his interaction with Lieutenant General, Sir Stanley George Savige of the Australian Imperial Forces during the Christian Genocide of 1915, more commonly called the Armenian Genocide.
The story follows Petros explaining his ancestry to Savige and how the tribes were fighting for survival while battling the Ottoman Turks and Kurds.
Mighty Assyrians holds a dear place in my heart as an Assyrian and having grown up hearing the same things that Sargon was told over the years, especially in school. I remember one time a teacher called me a liar because the Assyrians were extinct and I told her, “Then you’re talking to a ghost.” She actually called my dad who tell him the situation and he confirmed my statement. I didn’t get an apology, but if it happened today, she would have been fired for her behavior.
Writer Tony Shalalo had some interesting challenges in making this comic book. Shalalo resides in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia while his artist Osiris Jr. is a resident of Spain. The two creators struggled through not only dealing with time zone difficulties, but language barriers, but some how put together a beautifully illustrated historical comic.
What is even more impressive is that Mighty Assyrians is Shalalo’s very first comic and although the conversations seem forced as he searched for the perfect words to express the historical figures conversations, the story is coherent and easy to understand. This is all something I would never expect from a first time writer and for that the story is quite impressive.
I am not sure if this is a one shot or will turn into a historical anthology series, but I will say this, for a first time writer, Shalalo will be able to create a long time career in comics if he follows his passion.
Mighty Assyrians is a historical comic that, although at times choppy in its conversations, is easy to follow. As a first time writer, Tony Shalalo is extremely impressive and will have a long career in this industry if he continues to improve.