Booked solid

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A while back, Dara Naraghi was tapped to write a series of comic books based on the upcoming movie Terminator Salvation, a prequel to the Schwarzenegger classics to be released in May. He spoke more about scripts and superpowers at The Laughing Ogre, one place you can now buy the first of his four Terminator installments.

Name: Dara Naraghi

Age: 37

Alma mater: Ohio State University

Job: IT project manager, Chemical Abstracts Service

Neighborhood: Northwest Side

Hometown: Tehran, Iran


"Terminator Salvation" is set in the year 2018, after the machines have won and pretty much all of humanity is wiped out. There's very few people left, and they're basically trying to survive and fight the machines.

The comic book is based on the movie's screenplay - the events that occur and sort of the status quo of this universe. John Connor is actually in the comic book. He kind of has a small role. It made sense to save his story for the movie itself.

When I started this book, it was really written for non-comic-book readers. I wanted to make it very accessible in terms of the story structure and even the page layouts.

The mainstream superhero stuff can be so incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't been following it for decades.

The most ridiculous storyline I've ever read was called West Coast Avengers. They had a time-travel story where these superheroes go back in time to the Old West era. One of [the villains] was a living cactus. It would shoot needles at them.

My background is much different than most comic writers because I actually grew up in Iran till I was 12 years old. The kind of comics that I was exposed to over there were more the European stuff. I grew up reading Tintin, and that was it for me. That was like the Holy Grail.

My family came to the United States about four years after the [Iranian] revolution and the war with Iraq was going on. It was basically my parents trying to get me and my brother somewhere it would be safe and we'd be able to get a good education and have more opportunities.

I went back to Tehran in 2000, and everywhere you look there were high-rises and skyscrapers. At the same time, there'd be a corner store that sold school supplies, and it's still there after 20 some years and hadn't changed at all.

If I could have one superpower, it would probably make more sense to have some sort of super strength. But, honestly, it'd have to be flight.

The first comic I wrote was a little detective series that I did with an artist friend of mine. It was called A.K.A. It was sort of our take on Nancy Drew - but a little bit more modern.

Ferret Press started about five or six years ago, when I really started getting serious about writing, especially comic books. I found out there's this huge scene of do-it-yourself publishers and folks putting together their own books.

When the Ferret guys get together, we always start with these grand discussions of each other's artwork and their scripts and how to tweak it. By the end of the meeting, usually it's "Did you read the latest issue of Superman?"

What makes a great comic book is more the story than the art itself. And as far the story, it's definitely the characters in it. I rarely pick up a book just because I like the artwork.

Comic books are really just soap operas for adolescent boys and, I guess, pseudo-men.