Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spiegelman's "Maus" and Satrapi's "Persepolis"

At my school, every year we have a huge history project called a "LaGuardia". I just handed mine in (a biography of a writer called Howard Phillips Lovecraft) and am awaiting a grade. One thing, however, that I found trouble with was the research. I really was only able to find info about him on the internet, and not many specifics. So, for my next LaGuardia I have already started colllecting books. I've decided it's going to be about The Normandy Invasion of 1944.
I was looking in the library for books on World War II, and whilst looking through the WWII/Holocaust section I found one of my favorite graphic novels- "Maus". For those who have never heard of this work, it is perhaps the greatest underground graphic novel of all time. It tells the memoirs of Vladek Spiegelman, a Polish Jew living in Poland. When the Germans invade, he starts hearing about a nightmare camp called Auschwitz. And, it turns out, he's going there. It's one of my favorites because it shows that graphic novels don't need to have complicated story lines or metaphors to be a classic. I started researching "Maus" online, read a few essays, and found another underground comic book classic called "Persepolis". I had heard of it before (forums are the greatest thing ever) but never really took the time to look into it. It turns out, the library has the first volume of "Persepolis". It tells the story of Marjane Satrapi and her experiences of the Iranian Revolutions in the 1980's. Although chock-full of metaphors and complicated art work, the book has become another classic.
I feel quite happy with my comics reading, as I am branching out from the usual superhero stuff and I am actually learning as well. I have learnt a lot about the Holocaust through "Maus". And now, I've become quite interested with this "Persepolis". And for those who don't really want to dedicate the time to reading the 300 page book of "Persepolis", the author and illustrator of the book co-directed an animated movie of the book.

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