It’s always interesting to see new takes on fantasy and I was quite pleased to hear that Nadia Shammas and Sara Alafgeeh were drawing inspirations from their own Arab heritage for their upcoming graphic novel Squire. This new graphic novel, due to be released in Fall 2021, will tell the tale of Aiza, a 14 year-old, as she trains as Squire with the hope of becoming a knight in the military of the collapsing Bayt-Saji Empire and what that ambition might mean. It’s set in an Arab-influenced fantasy world. They’ll be exploring themes of identity, war, exploitation, and the dangers of nationalism in what’s described as a mix between Avatar: The Last AirbenderFullmetal Alchemist and Mulan. It promises to examine the difficulty between achieving a lifelong dream in the face of what that dream means for the world around you. A challenging notion to face no matter who you are.

The Comics Beat is proud to reveal the cover and concept art for SQUIRE, an upcoming YA fantasy graphic novel coming in Fall 2021. Squire is created by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh. The early looks we got at the graphic novel was quite stunning, Sara Alfageeh’s art is spectacular and this should be a fantastic way to appreciate her fantastic work and sumptuous use of colours. Nadia Shammas previous work has a comics editor should ensure this graphic novel’s story is focused and clever.

Turns out The Comics Beat team aren’t the only ones who are excited to see this graphic novel, nine publishers bid on the rights for the book in a pretty heated auction. A rare feat in the world of comics publishing. Ultimately, Andrew Eliopulos, the editor who edited NIMONA by Noelle Stevenson won the bid. If it’s anything to go by, this should be a sign that this is a graphic novel to keep our eyes on.

Here’s how HarperCollins Children describe the book

SQUIRE is a YA graphic novel set in a Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy world about a 14-year-old-girl, Aiza, who lives in an Empire wracked by famine and escalating border wars. Aiza dreams of becoming a knight, the most prestigious rank in the military, and the only way to elevate her status since her people, the Ornu, are second-class citizens in the Bayt-Saji Empire. Hiding her cultural background to train as a squire, she navigates the rigorous training that all knights undergo to test their mettle, making both friends and enemies in the process. However, everything falls apart after her friend gets badly injured during a raid and she uncovers a military conspiracy that threatens to keep the Empire in a state of perpetual war. Aiza will have to decide: turn her back on her morals and heritage, or turn her back on her dream and possibly, her only chance of freedom?”

Squire will be released in the Fall of 2021. Stay tuned for more exciting previews of Squire in the coming months.

Without further ado, see below for a preview of SQUIREit’s beautiful cover and the characters we’ll follow on this journey.

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