Jinnrise created by Sohaib Awan and published by IDW Comics is about an International student named Andrew Marcus whose world is torn asunder when interstellar forces, the “Kibrani” invade earth. With all hope seemingly lost, humanity’s last chance may be a long-despised and forgotten race: The Jinn (otherwise known as “genies”)! But are they our hope...or greatest fear? Combining the best of summer blockbuster fare and quest myths like Lord of the Rings, Jinnrise is a modern re-introduction to global myth. I sat with Mr. Awan to talk about his life, works and the origins of Jinnrise.
Michael Garone: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Sohaib Awan: As a long-time fan of the works of Tolkien, Spielberg, Kurosawa, and other modern genre luminaries, I often toyed with the notion of telling stories inspired by myths outside Western culture. After five years of hosting my radio program Fictional Frontiers (www.fictionalfrontiers.com), I gained enough confidence and experience to try my own hand at storytelling. My medium of choice was the comic book. What I love about comics is that they are a collaborative combination of the narrative and visual. Working with someone who can bring one’s vision to the masses? I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce Jinnrise.
MG: Where and when did you get your start in the business?
SA: Five years ago, I started hosting a Philadelphia radio program entitled Fictional Frontiers. Speaking with leaders in popular culture (with respect to film, television, animation, and comic books), I got a real inside look at how things in the comic book industry work. It was simply a matter of finding the courage to tell the story I wanted to tell.
MG: Do you relate any character development based on your own life experiences?
SA: As far as development, I think every writer puts a little of themselves in their characters. It might be an emotion, belief, or shared history. Both Yunus and Andrew (the two lead characters in Jinnrise) have a little of me in them. I echo Yunus’ idealism and belief that things happen for a reason, and, like Andrew, I am also willing to cast aside wrongful assumptions when proven wrong.
MG: Tell me how you came up with the story for Jinnrise.
SA: I actually started with two questions: Where do genie bottles come from and how do they work? From there, I began researching genies (or jinn) in global history (not just in the Middle East, but all over the world). Sound and fury signifying nothing was not enough. There had to be steak with the sizzle. I decided that the idea “the game of life is about us all…wherever we are; wherever we’re from.” should serve as thematic heart of the story.
MG: What makes your book stand out? Why should people check it out?
SA: Jinnrise is a rare global myth. In the spirit of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, it embraces the best of summer blockbuster film fare (where seeds of discourse and discussion are planted without sacrificing a viscerally-exciting narrative). In an age where different iterations of the same staples, like zombies, vampires, and the like, are par for the course, Jinnrise offers something very unique to fans of fantasy and science fiction.
MG: What can you talk about or reveal on what’s coming up in future issues?
SA: Issue #10 wraps up our first volume of Jinnrise, but the seeds are planted for ongoing stories. I liken the end of issue #10 to Star Wars: A New Hope. What the future holds for our characters will be explored as the series landscape becomes cosmic and interstellar in scope.
MG: Thank you for your time!
SA: You’re very welcome! Cheers!
Sohaib Awan is the Host of Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib. Recognizing the dearth of serious pop culture discourse, Sohaib launched Fictional Frontiers in June of 2008. In addition to hosting duties, Sohaib serves as Executive Producer, Talent Supervisor and Liaison, Public Relations Director, and CEO of Fictional Frontiers.
Sohaib is also the founder and CEO of international transmedia company, Jabal Entertainment, LLC. He is the creator of IDW Publishing's Jinnrise. The internationally-recognized series is Jabal's first comic book series.
Prior to Fictional Frontiers, Sohaib was the founder and managing partner of The Law Offices of Sohaib Awan. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond, his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Camden, and Management Certification from The Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania).
In addition to his efforts on Fictional Frontiers, Sohaib is an active member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar. He is a duly qualified and admitted attorney, with mediation and conflict resolution certification from the Community Mediation Center of Harrisonburg, VA.
Each week, Sohaib records a weekly audio segment for Random House's Suvudu (www.suvudu.com) entitled Fifteen Minutes of Fiction...with Fictional Frontiers.
Sohaib is also a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA).
Keep up with Sohaib on Twitter @FFrontiers