Richmond comic book on Iranian revolution set to conclude | Books and Literature

An animal-driven Richmond comic book series that takes a leftist perspective of the Iranian revolution of 1979 is coming to an end Friday, June 2.

The fifth and final installment of “The Little Red Fish” will be released this week at Velocity Comics in Richmond. Writer James Moffitt and artist Bizhan Khodabandeh released the first installment of their political allegory in 2015.

The story of “The Little Red Fish” focuses on the struggle between a humble community of fish somewhere in the Persian Gulf and the herons that oppress them from above the water. The characters and events in the book are inspired by the events of the Iranian revolution, a conflict that pitted the Iranian monarchy against dissatisfied secular and Muslim groups.

After overthrowing the monarchy, Iran voted to establish an Islamic republic led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The activities of the secular left in the Iranian revolution aren’t as well-known in the U.S., and part of the intent of “The Little Red Fish” is to bring attention to the left’s role in the event, Khodabandeh said.

“At the heart of it, the story is about dissent and a warning of what can happen in a revolution,” Khodabandeh said.

In researching for the book, Khodabandeh, whose father was born and raised in Iran, interviewed family members and other people who participated in or had secondhand knowledge of the events represented in “The Little Red Fish.”

With its cast of fishes, herons and eels, “The Little Red Fish” operates in the vein of George Orwell’s seminal political allegory, “Animal Farm.” Khodabandeh also took inspiration from “The Little Black Fish,” a children’s book that was banned in Iran at the time of its publication in the late 1960s.

For Khodabandeh, an instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of…

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