Thursday, August 28, 2008


My graphic novel kick continues... recently finished Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by writer and artist Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is a memoir of her childhood in Iran. Like the wonderful Fun Home, this graphic novel is also occasionally funny, often poignant, and masterfully displayed in graphic image.

Satrapi lived through the beginnings of the "Islamic Revolution". Her graphic novel is sort of like Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, which does a great job of illustrating how Afghanistan was not always the stinking hellhole that we see on the news these days, but rather a vibrant, well-educated, multi-cultural land. Before the Taliban gained control, Iran was a fairly liberal society. Satrapi's liberal parents participated in protests until they became prohibitively dangerous, and continued to, you know, listen to music and drink and dance, even when these things became illegal.

Satrapi's panels relating to the abrupt change in the educational system were most interesting to me. While most children might go through a period of questioning their education, she experience a real indoctrination, and standing up to ask questions had serious consequences.

Coincidentally, Feministing recently addressed women graphic novelists. Not surprisingly, Alison Bechdel and Satrapi are high on everyone's list. Pia Guerra, co-writer and main illustrator of Y: The Last Man (which I've been borrowing from friends) also gets a few mentions. It's worth having a look at the comments if you're looking for graphic novel recommendations.

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