by Zach Manuel
This story is called The Shish-Kebab Kingdom, a story of my own creation based off of the “Arabian Nights” tales of yore (I had some inspiration from Disney’s adaption of “Aladdin”) and some of my own thoughts of gender equality and fair treatment of women. This story takes place in India from the 1390’s and beyond.
Age: 23, Born: sometime in 1375
The third of four brothers, Ack was born a noble but mostly spends time living among peasants because he considers himself a common man. He is a jock who pilots mechanical chariots with his Bros (think medieval drag-racing) but he has great sympathy for peasants, the helpless, and children. With his royal status, he had shelters built for the poor, the sick, orphans and mistreated women so that they could live in safety and comfort. Ack was enamored with Debai Kebab, daughter of Lord Bombay Shish-Kebab, who unlike most women he met, was opinionated, loud, funny and liked playing hacky-sack in the rain and splashing in mud. Ack had always hoped to meet a strong, unconventional woman with whom he might build a life- tomboy Debai became Ack’ s soulmate.
Debai Kebab was born in March 5, 1378, (Sharing my mom’s birthday, 3/5/63)
Deb was 20 when she met Ack.
She was 21 when she tied the knot with him and at 25, she and Ack welcomed their first kid, Suri-Lanka.
Debai is a mischievous tomboyish 20-year-old who often plays elaborate pranks on everyone in sight. She also creates clockwork mechanical devices either to play more pranks or to cool her off or suit her needs. (Think medieval “Home Alone”) Debai is a genius of tinkering in mischief, something she inherited from her late mother, Queen Tibet, who was a tomboy prankster during a time when women weren’t expected to have opinions or all else. The people of Kebab adore and are confounded by her mostly because she has too much energy sometimes.
I changed Debai’s name from “Dubai” after learning Dubai wasn’t the name of a city in India, but “Dibai/Debai” is. I named Debai’s family after places in India. Bombay, Dehli, Ganges, Padma, et cetera. Once again, because India is still a friendly nation. Tandoori is the name of a Hindi food, as is “Shish-Kebab”
As for my creative process, I come up with stories at home, where I do preliminary drawings, some of which provide the basis for the pieces before I bring them to the light table. Sometimes I try to figure out the use of color at home as well beforehand. My great desire is that my story and message pieces will reach a much bigger audience reaching further than the studio hopefully so that more people will see and probably, if I’m lucky, enjoy them. It’s not all about making a profit for me, I just want people to be able to see these and enjoy them. Also if I can get good messages across as well, all the better. (Click here to see more of my work.)