Riad Sattouf

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Riad Sattouf, in 2019

Riad Sattouf (born May 5, 1978) is a French cartoonist, comic artist, and film director.


  • I waited so long to tell this story partly because when I started to make comics I didn’t want to be the guy of Arab origin who makes comics about Arab people…I didn’t want to be the official Arab comics artist. So I made a lot of comics in France which weren’t related to this part of me. I made a movie. But even during all that other work, I was thinking I have this good story, how could I tell it?
  • So the reader thinks: “My God, this man is saying horrible things in front of a child!”…It’s more sincere ... I wanted to try to describe the dark side and the positive side – if there was a positive side – all together ... I wanted to express the paradox that was in my father between modernity and tradition. It is a very common and human paradox. How can you be modern and progressive and still respect ancestral tradition? It generates conflict in the mind, I think.
  • I don’t want to read modern comics, comics that are made today. I take care not to read too many contemporary comics, because I’m afraid it will influence me. Or it will complex me in a way. I see someone doing something great and I will say, “Oh, my god, I am shit — what am I doing?” So I prefer not to read them. Sometimes, when it appears to be incredible, I will read it — but I’m very afraid of reading modern comics. I read only old things and things I liked when I was young…
  • I tried not to generalize. But a lot of guys are like my father. He came from a poor family — the gap between where he started and where he ended up as a doctor was too big, and he was thinking he had a destiny! He was a little bit crazy. And he was so proud of this. He also hated Israel. It was a huge humiliation for him and his friends — the defeats by Israel. It was like a personal defeat. So he hated the United States, of course; he hated Europe because they had good relations with Israel. It was, like, biblical. As if Europe and the United States prefer the Jew to the Arab. And he wanted to say, “But I am as intelligent as them.” It was very strange.

Quotes about Riad Sattouf[edit]

  • (What’s the last great book you read?) ...I tore through two volumes of “The Arab of the Future,” by Riad Sattouf — it’s the most enjoyable graphic novel I’ve read in a while.

External links[edit]

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