“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi (2000) comic review – Top 10 Essential Graphic Novels 03 – #8

[Book cover of graphic novel “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi (2000) – Number 8 in Top 10 comics countdown list]Alright, number 8 on this list isPersepolisby Marjane Satrapi. This is an autobiographical comic that describes Marjane’s experiences growing up in Iran during the 1980s during the time of the Islamic Revolution. What happened during the Islamic Revolution is that Iran changed from a secular country, into an Islamic theocracy that walled itself off from the rest of the world. So, we see the Islamic Revolution through the eyes of Marjane and her family. And it’s quite fascinating to be allowed into the house of a typical Iranian family, because it’s a culture that isn’t often represented in Western media depictions. In contrast to how some of us might imagine them, the Satrapi family were well-educated, and politically aware. They had a modern, cosmopolitan view of the world. At first they supported the Revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979. But then, as time went by, they became dismayed by the regressive fundamentalism that took its place. So, for example, we see how Marjane and her female schoolmates were suddenly separated from the boys within their school, they were given nationalistic school lessons about the glory of war, and the martyrs who were now in heaven, having died for Iran in the war against Iraq. It’s actually kind of unsettling to see just how quickly the teachers, and the social institutions kicked into full-on fundamentalist gear. For example, the so-called “Guardians of the Revolution” that suddenly started patrolling the streets and throwing their weight around. All in the name of God, of course. To me, it was interesting seeing the little things, such as how Marjane actually hated wearing the veil, and how she would rebel by wearing jeans and sneakers and listening to Michael Jackson. Persepolis is a single story that was published across two books. The first book tells the story of Marjane’s life in Iran, and the second book tells her story about after she is sent to school in Austria during her teenage years. You can also get both books published together asThe Complete Persepolis. So, check it out – it’s a classic comics memoir.[title music: “Dart” by Screamfeeder]

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