November 15, 2008 by Soo
The first graphic novel I ever read was Persepolis. It is the story of author Marjane Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is funny, wise and well-told, the innocence of childhood enhanced by the simplicity of the drawings.
Here is what she had to say about the making of Persepolis the book. Made into an animation film that was released this year, I felt the film took the story telling to a different dimension altogether. Read my earlier post on the film here.
A book that completely lifts the genre of graphic novels to sublime levels is Maus – A Survivor’s Tale, by Art Spiegelman. The story of the author’s father – a Polish Jew – during the second world war, and the effects of the war on the family, the book also explores the troubled relationship of the author with his father. It took thirteen years to create, and won a host of prizes including awards at Angouleme in 1988 and 1993, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. The book has spurred numerous essays – here is one by Robert S. Leventhal on psychological and structural aspects of the book. Also see Maus at the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Another book completely out of the ordinary is David B.’s Epileptic (originally L’ascension du haut mal – meaning The Rise of the High Evil), a true story of growing up with an epileptic older brother. Moving, intense, disturbing, it is also a visual masterpiece.
Must-reads in Manga literature are the books by Osamu Tezuka, often called the father of Japanese Manga. He is a master storyteller, the creator of complex characters that are neither good nor evil, but with their own shades of grey, dealing with the problems of modern civilization. Written over the last sixty years, his stories are gripping and timeless. My favorites are Ode to Kirihito, MW and The Buddha series. Find more information on Tezuka here.
and here is Part 1, in case you missed it.